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Editorial Results (free)

1. Grab a Gun, Go See Your State Representative -

When legislative leaders started to allow guns in the Legislative Plaza nearly two years ago, the Sierra Club’s Scott Banbury had his daughter take pictures of him wearing his holstered Ruger and lobbyist ID card to put on lawmakers’ desks with the question: “Is this what you want?”

2. Last Word: Night in the Park, Hattiloo Goes Bigger & Cohen on the Republican Soul -

A gathering in Health Science Park a little before 11:30 Monday evening by a group of protesters who Facebooked that their intent was to take down the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Memphis Police showed up quickly and the police supervisor told those around the statue that the park is a private park and that no one can be in the park after 8 p.m. No arrests but the police did ask for identification from those in the park.

3. Black Names Ramsey, Fincher Co-Chairs of Tennessee Gov's Bid -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black has named two prominent former politicians from either end of Tennessee as co-chairman for her gubernatorial bid.

4. Legislature Losing Some Powerful, Familiar Members -

A shakeup in leadership is looming for the state Legislature, though it may portend more of a change in personalities than party strength.

In the House, longtime Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, the affable Democrat from Ripley in West Tennessee, is preparing for a 2018 gubernatorial run, a move that would knock him out of his House seat, at least temporarily, and the position as Democratic Caucus leader.

5. Boyd Talks Gaps In Higher Ed During Whitehaven Stop -

Republican contender for governor Randy Boyd says there is a gap in the state’s Tennessee Promise plan and its reality.

6. Gov. Haslam Vows to Stay on Sidelines of Race to Succeed Him -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam won't endorse any of the Republicans seeking the nomination to succeed him, but said he has spoken to several potential candidates about the emotionally taxing nature of a running a statewide campaign in Tennessee.

7. Lee Campaigns in Collierville After Nashville Fundraiser -

The night after he raised $1.3 million in Nashville at the first major fundraiser in his bid for Tennessee governor, Bill Lee was in Collierville for a local Republican Party gathering, along with a few hopefuls in countywide races on the ballot earlier in 2018.

8. View From the Hill: IMPROVE Act an Insight Into Testy Election Ahead -

In case anyone’s keeping stats, Senate leadership soundly defeated House leadership this session in the gas tax/tax cut battle.

Whether this is a forerunner to a Republican gubernatorial primary remains to be seen as Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and House Speaker Beth Harwell weigh decisions. It’s not as if they’d be facing off against each other, though, since businessman Bill Lee and former Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd are definitely in the race and not hurting for money.

9. Former Sen. Douglas Henry, Longest-Serving Lawmaker, Dies -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Former Sen. Douglas Henry, a larger-than-life former state lawmaker with the longest tenure in the history of the Tennessee General Assembly, has died. He was 90.

10. Local Democratic and Republican Partisans Already Looking To 2018 -

U.S. Rep. David Kustoff says former Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey was right in describing his 8th Congressional District as the most Republican of the state’s nine congressional districts.

11. Some in GOP Chafe at New Building Named After Cordell Hull -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee lawmakers are nearing a move into freshly overhauled offices at the state Capitol complex, but some Republicans are chafing at the building being named after Democrat Cordell Hull.

12. Beavers Shuts Down Office As Protesters Gather Outside -

NASHVILLE – The sponsor of two bills aimed at the LGBT community left the Legislative Plaza in a huff Tuesday, Feb. 21, as protesters gathered around her office to object to her “retaliation” in the wake of a short-circuited press conference.

13. Lawmakers OK New Board Appointments at 6 Public Universities -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The House and Senate have approved Gov. Bill Haslam's nominations for new boards for six public universities.

The new boards are part of the Republican governor's initiative to spin six four-year public universities out of the Tennessee Board of Regents system. Each board will control budgets, tuition and the selection of university presidents.

14. View From the Hill: Cooperatives Ready to Fill Broadband Void -

Rural broadband backers such as Misty O’Beirne in Rutherford County can take heart. Legislation to spread high-speed internet into cyberspace deserts is making the right connections.

15. Newly Elected Tennessee Senate Speaker Names Top Staffer -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Newly-elected state Senate Speaker Randy McNally isn't wasting much time in reshaping the leadership of his office.

16. McNally Voted Tennessee Senate Speaker -

Promising to maintain Tennessee’s strong fiscal standing, veteran legislator Randy McNally of Oak Ridge took the gavel Tuesday as Senate speaker, replacing Ron Ramsey, who over the last decade led a Republican majority to power in the Tennessee General Assembly.

17. Last Word: Opening Day in Nashville, Parking Pass or Parking Space and Ell Persons -

Lots of formalities Tuesday in Nashville where the 2017 session of the Tennessee Legislature begins. And that’s what this first week back will be about on the floors of the state House and the state Senate. Away from the floors, the real business of speculation and vote counting and drafting language is already well underway.

18. The Week Ahead: January 10-16 -

Good morning, Memphis! Just as the weather here can go from frigid to balmy in a matter of days, the mulching of Christmas trees clashes with the Boys of Summer this week. Plus, the Tennessee General Assembly kicks off its new session, and Paradiso is “Singin’ in the Rain.” Here’s what else you need to know in The Week Ahead…   

19. New Year, New Resolutions for Legislators -

Some Tennesseans recall the days when the state Legislature met every other year and wonder if it should revert to that schedule. Considering the General Assembly pushes most of its work into 3 1/2 months, it might be worth a try.

20. Last Word: Turner Dairy Plans, Fred's HQ and Fred Smith's Remarks About Trump -

Lots of traffic at FedExForum this weekend with two graduation ceremonies for the University of Memphis – morning and afternoon shifts. Another double-header at the Forum Saturday. The Grizz beat the Warriors 110-89 and the Tigers beat UAB 62-55.

21. Refugee Lawsuit Proceeds in Spite of Obstacles -

Tennessee is going “full speed ahead” in a challenge of the federal Refugee Resettlement Program despite threats by President-elect Donald Trump to dismantle it or, at the least, stop the flow of refugees from terrorist-linked countries.

22. Last Word: Fires In the East, Corker at Trump Tower and The Toll of the Cure -

As our week here began very windy and very rainy with clouds all day Monday, there was a different kind of overcast day unfolding in East Tennessee. And by the time of this post the National Guard was patrolling parts of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge where wildfires had forced evacuations of both towns – all of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, according to the city manager of Pigeon Forge.

23. Last Word: Ford Rumors, School Plans and Harwell Survives In State House -

If the Friday after Thanksgiving is “Black Friday” what is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving? You know, the day many of us are scurrying about with our hair on fire to get everything done so we can legitimately claim that we will absolutely not be a part of the Black Friday mob whose hair is also alight.

24. Harwell Learning How to Dodge Challengers -

Beth Harwell has been called a lot of things over the last few years, “trailblazer” chief among them as Tennessee’s first female House speaker. 

Now she’s a “survivor” after eking out a Republican Caucus victory as speaker nominee to continue leading the lower chamber in the 110th General Assembly.

25. Harwell Wins GOP Nomination for New Term as House Speaker -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – House Speaker Beth Harwell on Thursday won the Republican nomination to serve for another two-year term as leader of the lower chamber of the Tennessee General Assembly.

26. Broke and Broken: Democrats Lose More Ground in State Legislature -

Tennessee House Democrats will have to start calling themselves the “Fighting 25,” down from the “Fighting 26,” after dropping a district in the battle to regain relevance statewide.

27. Norris, Others Take Next Step After Election -

State Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville ran for re-election this year the way just about any incumbent prefers to run – unopposed.

28. At Least 7 Lawmakers Had Financial Ties to GOP Donor Miller -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – At least seven current and former Republican lawmakers in Tennessee had financial ties to a prominent GOP donor who recently settled a federal fraud case involving the military health care program.

29. Speaker Ramsey, Retired Gen. Luck Named to University Boards -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday named state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and retired Army Gen. Gary Luck to newly independent university boards.

30. GOP Leaders Alarmed About Removal of Tennessee History -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican leaders in the state Legislature are expressing alarm at the number of Tennessee historical events that would be removed from teaching requirements under a proposed overhaul of social studies standards.

31. What Would It Take for Trump to Lose Tennessee Voters? -

Murfreesboro Realtor Larry Sims almost closes his ears when Donald Trump speaks.

“He gets out of bounds. Of course, the press, they love it because they get to exploit his sayings and doings,” says Sims, who traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, as a Trump delegate for the Republican National Convention. 

32. Red State, Blue Mayors -

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, a Democrat in Tennessee’s sea of red, finds herself adapting to the control Republicans hold over the state Legislature.

33. TPA Recognizes House Speaker for Open Government Efforts -

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) – State House Speaker Beth Harwell and two other state lawmakers have been honored for their support of open government in Tennessee.

34. Leadership Allowed Durham Sleaze To Fester for Too Long -

The Tennessee attorney general’s sexual harassment investigation of Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham dragged halfway through the summer. Now we know why.

35. Republican PAC Awards Tennessee Senate Speaker Ramsey -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican political committee GOPAC has given its lifetime achievement award to Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, who is retiring from the Legislature this year.

36. Legislators Sweating the Small Stuff -

My late father kept a paper weight on his desk at home that read: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Well, we’re sweating the small stuff – from the federal government down to the states – with this harangue over transgender bathrooms.

37. Legislative Losers: All Who Disagree With Legislators -

The 109th General Assembly is done – almost – for the year. Here’s a look at the winners and losers.

Winner: State budget

Buoyed by $400 million in surplus revenue from fiscal 2015 and $450 million in projected surpluses for the coming fiscal year, Gov. Bill Haslam spread the wealth in a $34.9 billion budget. 

38. Norris Recounts Path to Majority Status, Dunavant Award -

Good government isn’t a bowl of cherries. There will be controversy even with the best of intentions and with everything done by the numbers. And that applies to those who win awards like state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville.

39. Tennessee AG to Appeal Recount Order on Abortion Amendment -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The office of Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced on Tuesday that it is going to appeal a federal judge's ruling requiring a recount of a 2014 vote that made it easier to restrict abortions in the state.

40. Tennessee Passes Resolution to Sue Feds Over Refugees -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A resolution that would direct Tennessee to sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program passed Tuesday in the state Legislature.

The measure was approved in the Senate after lawmakers agreed to a change that would allow a private law firm to file a lawsuit on behalf of Tennessee if the state attorney general refuses to sue. It stipulates that the use of the private firm could not cost taxpayers.

41. House Passes Resolution Directing State to Sue Over Refugees -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A resolution that would order Tennessee to sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program passed Monday in the state House. Senate counterparts previously approved the resolution and would only have to agree to a change that would allow a private law firm to sue on behalf of the state before the measure becomes law.

42. Veto Override Sought on Bible as Official Tennessee Book -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republicans in the Legislature have their first opportunity to override one of Gov. Bill Haslam's vetoes this week when they seek to re-pass a bill to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee.

43. Business Leaders Sign Letter Opposing Bathroom Law -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The chief executives of Williams-Sonoma, Hilton Worldwide, T-Mobile and dozens of other major corporations have signed a letter asking Tennessee lawmakers to reject a transgender bathroom bill, saying it is discriminatory.

44. Legislators Playing Expensive Game With LGBT Issues -

The silly season is in full swing on Capitol Hill, but the “bathroom bill” and any jokes surrounding it are no laughing matter anymore. It’s getting downright expensive.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said this week the bill dealing with transgender student use of restrooms could cost the state more than $1.2 billion in federal funds for K-12 and higher education.

45. Lawmakers Lure Us In With Momentary Sanity, And Then... -

Just when it appears the Tennessee Senate is made up of sensible people – as evidenced by the killing of de-annexation legislation – the body is changing course with a Bible-thumping measure.

46. Haslam Remains Opposed to Making Bible Official State Book -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday that he remains opposed to a renewed effort to make the Holy Bible the official state book of Tennessee.

Haslam initially voiced opposition to the measure before it was derailed over constitutional concerns in the state Senate last year, and sent back to committee. The bill is now awaiting a new vote in the upper chamber of the Legislature.

47. Navy Duty Leads Lundberg to Miss Rest of Legislative Session -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – State Rep. Jon Lundberg, a captain in the Navy Reserve, will miss the remainder of the legislative session after being called up for duty at the Pentagon.

The Bristol Republican is vacating his House seat to run for the northeastern Tennessee state Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey this fall.

48. Last Word: The Curtain Falls in Nashville, Political Cuneiform and Ramsey Talks -

And in less than a half hour Wednesday, the de-annexation drama that should qualify as the political equivalent of a Netflix binge-watchable television series made just for Memphis was done.

49. Can GOP Keep Grasp On Success Ramsey Built? -

As much as Tennessee Republicans want to put a happy face on the departure of Senate Speaker and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, holding it together in the wake of his departure will be an awesome task.

50. Last Word: A Cleansing Breath, Urban Child Three Months In and Sugar In South Main -

Let’s all take a deep cleansing breath, away from the mounds of pollen that are amassing in the Memphis spring.
And resolve, however in vain it might be, that the word de-annexation will not be used in our presence at least until Monday – Tuesday if possible.

51. Randy McNally Announces Bid for Speaker of Tennessee Senate -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Longtime state Sen. Randy McNally plans to run for Senate speaker after this year's elections.

52. Memphis Fights Back: Senate Poised To Do Real Damage via De-Annexation -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland makes a persuasive argument against de-annexation legislation now being considered by the state Legislature, providing a long list of figures to show it would devastate the Bluff City.

53. Opposers Fight De-Annexation Another Day -

When the state Senate’s State and Local Government Committee convenes at noon Wednesday, March 21, in Nashville, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and his administration will have been working Capital Hill for about a day and a half.

54. Last Word: A Trip to Committee, Minority Business Moves and the Issue With Reissues -

So those who support the general concept of de-annexation in the Tennessee state Senate were the most vocal Monday in sending the proposal back to committee for a more intense examination.

There were plenty of Memphians in the Senate chambers Monday despite the rumors that this was on its way back to committee.
Staying put until the deal is done has been a lesson won through bitter experience for some Memphis leaders.
Despite hearing from legislators in other parts of the state who are uneasy about this, the opposition remains a Memphis thing in Nashville.
But the Senate sponsor, Bo Watson, stumped his toe badly on this when he shut down an amendment Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville wanted to allow the voluntarily de-annexation of an area Millington recently took into its city limits.
So when the state and local government committee meets at noon Wednesday, it will be round – frankly, I forget which round it is. Just ring the bell and let’s see what happens.

55. De-Annexation Bill Sent Back to Legislative Committee -

The de-annexation bill pending in the Tennessee Legislature was sent back to a Senate committee in Nashville Monday, March 21, after those favoring the bill raised numerous questions about amendments to it.

56. Republican Leaders Want McNally to Replace Ramsey -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Leading Senate Republicans are discussing plans to make Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge the new lieutenant governor.

57. Bills To Freeze Tuition At Colleges, Universities Defeated -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Bills that would have frozen tuition rates at Tennessee's public colleges and universities have been defeated.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said at the beginning of the session Wednesday that he was in favor of the idea. The University of Tennessee in particular was a vocal opponent, complaining that steep tuition hikes were the result of dramatic decreases in state funding and increasing education costs.

58. Last Word: Putt and 1969, Fred Smith on Amazon and Ramsey's Departure -

George Howard Putt died in prison sometime last year state prison officials disclosed Wednesday -- far from the brief time he spent in Memphis but never far from the carnage he left behind in the Memphis of 1969.
The bodies of the first two of the five people killed by Putt between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11, 1969 were discovered just days after the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles by the Manson family dominated national news coverage. Less than a year earlier the Boston Strangler movie was in theaters, creating a sensation about the murders committed by serial killer Albert DeSalvo in Boston just a few years earlier.
Bernalyn and Roy Dumas were strangled by Putt in their home in Cooper-Young and Putt mutilated her body in a way that police homicide detectives still wouldn’t talk about decades later. The bodies were found in separate rooms.
Even with no details other than the names of the victims, the city was quickly spooked by the double murder. So when the body of Leila Jackson was found short of two weeks later, the city’s reaction was a palpable fear in which anyone unknown was to be avoided. Memphians didn’t tarry after work. They went home and bolted the doors.
It got worse as more victims turned up with little in common other than four of the five were women. They were of varying ages. Some were strangled and some were stabbed.
Just about any magazine rack of the day include true crime magazines that by the late 1960s were beginning to look very dated in their lurid noir-like covers teasing the most sensational crime narratives of the day.
They were an intentional contrast to the cover images of youth in bright colors in natural settings in other magazines heralding a new future and youth culture.
The murders in a Southern city, whose 1969 conservatism is hard to describe nearly 50 years later, quickly grabbed the covers of the true crime magazines. And the images they offered spoke to the scenic reality where Putt roamed even as the murders continued.
Apartment buildings and boarding houses were the settings for some of the murders but not all.
Glenda Sue Harden
was last seen walking to her car parked on the Cobblestones from the insurance office she worked at nearby. Her body was found in Martin Luther King/Riverside Park hidden under a piece of plywood.
At one of the murder scenes, police found an ice pick stuck in the side of the building with a stocking tied around it.
Putt’s last victim, in an apartment building on Bellevue, screamed as she was stabbed repeatedly and others in the building gave chase with police close behind, arresting Putt near the new and unopened section of the interstate that runs west of Bellevue.
Putt tried to force his way into another apartment nearby but the women inside kept him on the other side of the door.
The killer that panicked an entire city was a skinny utterly forgettable guy in his 20s with sideburns and glasses who appeared to have rarely roamed beyond a community of neighborhood bars, boarding houses and old apartment buildings in the Midtown and Medical Center areas.
It turns out he came to Memphis after walking away from a prison farm in Mississippi and into a Memphis that was slowly but surely changing. And the world that Putt encountered would soon vanish in large part.
Overton Square’s incarnation was about a year away. A new bridge was about to be built across the Mississippi River as part of Interstate 40 which was to go through Overton Park just south of the north-south leg of the interstate where Putt was captured.
Originally sentenced to death, Putt’s sentence was commuted when the U.S. Supreme Court banned the death penalty in the early 1970s.
He was serving a 497-year sentence when he died at the Turney Center Wednesday in Only, Tennessee.
Putt never sought parole and never gave any explanation for why he killed five people in less than a month and his apparently random selection of victims.

59. ‘I’m the Steak’ Norris Carries Haslam’s Agenda, Except... -

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris refers to himself as a “meat and potatoes” legislator. The four-term Republican senator from Collierville, a self-described policy wonk, is considering a run for governor in 2018. But if the race boils down to charisma, he says the media will have to determine if he has enough to win the top office.

60. Tennessee Senate Speaker Ramsey Announces He Won't Run Again -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, a leading figure in the Republican takeover of all three branches of Tennessee state government, announced Wednesday that he won't run for re-election.

61. Politics of Deannexation Proposal Grows More Complex -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is heading to Nashville Wednesday, March 16, to talk with legislators about what he considers City Hall’s highest priority in the 2016 session of the Tennessee Legislature – defeating a deannexation proposal.

62. Last Word: Mudslide, The Deannexation Storm and Kilzer at Calvary -

Lots of news on a very rainy day including the flooding from the constant rain that closed some schools and cancelled a lot of other events. And then there was a mudslide on Riverside Drive from the bluff overlooking Tom Lee Park and the Mississippi River. The rain has also pushed the Wolf River to the point that it is now over some parts of the greenway in Germantown.

63. Ramsey: Security to Stop Scanning IDs at Legislative Plaza -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A major bottleneck at the entrances to Tennessee's legislative office complex is being eliminated this week.

Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey told reporters on Thursday that state troopers have been instructed to stop scanning IDs and printing out temporary nametags for visitors.

64. Senate Speaker Wary of Banning Handheld Phones While Driving -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he opposes an effort to make it a crime to speak on handheld phones while driving in Tennessee.

65. Tennessee AG Won't Divulge Details Of Durham Investigation -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee attorney general on Wednesday declined in a committee meeting to give lawmakers details about his investigation into sexual harassment allegations against state Rep. Jeremy Durham, saying any public discussion could put the probe "in peril."

66. Haslam's On-Again, Off-Again Gas Tax Could Return This Year -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's on-again, off-again gas tax hike could return this year. Maybe.

The governor spent much of last fall traveling across the state to draw attention to the state's transportation funding needs, but said at the start of this year's legislative session that he didn't think there was enough support to take up the matter this year.

67. Bill Would Open Door for Utilities to Expand Broadband -

Legislation to expand broadband access across Tennessee is evolving – by necessity.

State Rep. Kevin Brooks’ bill HB1303 to allow public utilities to provide Internet service outside their footprint is alive, he says, but it is being “argued vehemently.”

68. GOP Divided Over Cap on Liquor Store Ownership in Tennessee -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Efforts to restrict the number of liquor stores that can be owned in Tennessee drew vocal opposition from a Republican lawmaker Monday, who said it is contrary to GOP principles and suggested that supporters may have been "bought and paid for" by lobbying groups.

69. Haslam Takes Issue With Lawmakers Ordering Refugee Lawsuit -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday took issue with a move by fellow Republicans in the Legislature to order the state attorney to sue the federal government over the refugee resettlement program in Tennessee.

70. School Voucher Bill Stalls in House Amid Flagging Support -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to create a school voucher program stalled in the House on Thursday despite efforts to drum up support among wary rural lawmakers by limiting the areas of Tennessee where parents could receive state money to pay for private school tuition.

71. Teachers Wary of Haslam’s Push For Increased Pay -

Pushing a budget with more than $100 million for K-12 teacher pay raises, Gov. Bill Haslam says Tennessee is taking education to new levels by raising standards, linking teacher evaluations to student performance and expanding education options.

72. Only So Much Durham Could Blame on Media -

It’s little wonder state Rep. Jeremy Durham had to take a two-week break from the General Assembly.

73. Minority Leader Harris Confident Even on Wrong Side of Supermajority -

Lee Harris says he ran for state Senate because he felt Memphis could do better on Capitol Hill, defeating Ophelia Ford in 2014.

74. Cutting taxes, school choice, tort reform drive Sen. Kelsey -

State Sen. Brian Kelsey calls himself “a proud conservative who likes to get results.”

75. Last Word: New Minority Business Numbers, The House Affair and The Heights -

The recently revived discussion on minority business in Memphis is about to go back on the front burner again. Fueling the intensity are new U.S. Census numbers. They show the percentage of business receipts in Memphis produced by black-owned businesses has dropped since the 2007 census numbers showed a 1.08 percent share of those receipts by black-owned businesses. That in a city whose population is 63 percent African-American.
The drop to below one percent is even though the overall receipts in 2012 were higher than they were in 2007.
Madeline Faber is the first to report the new numbers as part of a cover story in our weekly, The Memphis News, that will be on the streets and in the racks Saturday, on-line Friday afternoon.
The numbers are such a telling story and such an important indicator that we broke it out as its own story in advance of the cover story.

76. Ramsey Alleges Durham Affair With Ex-Lawmaker -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says state Rep. Jeremy Durham had an affair with another lawmaker, causing her to resign.

77. The Persecution of Jeremy Durham -

Inhumane and unfair: That’s the only way to describe the “liberal media’s” treatment of state Rep. Jeremy Durham over the last month.

78. Tennessee Lawmakers Return With Eye Toward Campaign Season -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers return Tuesday for the second session of the 109th General Assembly with an eye toward quickly disposing of their business and heading home for election season.

79. Refugees, Regents, Privatization On Tap for New Session -

State Sen. Ken Yager isn’t quite ready for the state of Tennessee to reclaim the Refugee Resettlement Program from Catholic Charities.

80. After a Year of Triumphs and Defeats, Haslam Looks Ahead -

Eight days into 2015, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam formally set a special session of the Tennessee legislature for February on his Insure Tennessee plan, a Medicaid expansion Haslam negotiated with the Obama administration.

81. Judge Praises Durham for 'Moral Courage' -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — While many GOP leaders in the Tennessee Legislature have distanced themselves from state Rep. Jeremy Durham for writing a character reference letter on behalf of a former youth minister who pleaded guilty to child porn possession, a judge in the Franklin Republican's home county is praising what he calls the lawmaker's "moral courage."

82. Corker Says Visa Waivers a Bigger Risk Than Refugees -

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he believes the nation needs to stop admitting Syrian refugees until security problems are solved, but the nation’s “bigger risk” in letting terrorists slip into the country lies with the nation’s Visa Waiver Program.

83. Ramsey: Ban Immigrants From Places With Terrorism Ties -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey called Tuesday for a moratorium on all immigration from countries with "ties to terrorism."

84. Knee-Jerk Outbreak -

A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS. WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States government has mobilized against a clear threat to the country.

Troops have been sent to identify and capture members of an ersatz government openly operating here in defiance of federal law. This group claims theirs as the only true religion, and that laws be based on it as prescribed in the tome of that religion. They believe no other laws to be valid in the eyes of God, and no rights assigned or any authority recognized if any are based on such godless laws. They seek to prohibit the teaching, or even mention, of any other religion in schools.

85. If Fear Is Goal, Terrorists Have Won in Tennessee -

The terrorists who struck Paris three weeks ago succeeded in more than killing and wounding hundreds of people. Their attack is pitting Americans against each other in how to respond, and Tennessee politicians are no exception.

86. Haslam Asks Federal Government Not to Send Syrian Refugees -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam says he is asking the federal government to suspend placement of Syrian refugees in Tennessee.

In a statement released Monday, Haslam acknowledged that the federal government has the authority to place refugees but said "they have said in the past they would be open to cooperating with receiving states."

87. Tennessee’s Landlords Find Hidden Costs of Privatization -

Murfreesboro businessman Tom Hyde felt the sting of Tennessee’s privatization practices two years ago when a representative of Jones Lang Lasalle notified him he would have to pay the company a commission as part of his next lease agreement.

88. Haslam Uncertain About Seeking Lawmakers' OK on Outsourcing -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam says he's uncertain whether he would seek approval from fellow Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly about potential plans to privatize state operations.

89. Ramsey Springs to Haslam's Aid on Tennessee Outsourcing Talk -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey is dismissing rising concerns among fellow Republicans about Gov. Bill Haslam's efforts to privatize elements of state government as a result of complaints from "squeaky wheels" in their districts.

90. More Tennessee Lawmakers Come Out Against Gas Tax Hike -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Add the chairman of the state Senate transportation committee to the list of opponents of raising Tennessee's gas tax in 2016.

Republican Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, who heads the transportation panel in the upper chamber, said Tuesday that there isn't enough time to put together a comprehensive road funding proposal for the upcoming legislative session.

91. Haslam Cites Mixed Signals on Gas Tax Hike For Roads -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam two weeks ago kicked off his statewide tour in Memphis, pushing for a better method of funding state road projects.

Some in the audience of business and civic leaders at the Greater Memphis Chamber had talked with Haslam and Tennessee transportation commissioner John Schroer before about the state’s fuel tax and had urged state officials to raise the tax. And some wanted to talk about it again Aug. 5 as Haslam emphasized the state’s $6 billion backlog of transportation projects.

92. House, Senate Speakers at Odds Over Gas Tax Increase in 2016 -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — While Gov. Bill Haslam is traveling the state to discuss transportation funding needs facing Tennessee, top legislative Republicans are at odds over whether to consider a gas tax hike in 2016.

93. Raise Gas Tax or Borrow? How to Fund Road Projects -

Tennessee has an $8 billion backlog of transportation projects and not enough funds to pay for them, largely because the state gas tax, which funds those projects, hasn’t been increased in 26 years.

94. Ramsey Clear in Push to Politicize Supreme Court -

Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has a penchant for igniting flames of partisanship, and the retirement of Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade is no exception.

95. 10 Named to Panel to Review Tennessee K-12 Education Standards -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam and the speakers of the House and Senate have appointed the 10 members of a committee established to review K-12 education standards in Tennessee.

96. Questions Abound Amid Tennessee Supreme Court Vacancy -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – When Gary Wade was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 2006, the self-described "mountain boy from the Smokies" planned to serve the eight-year term and retire from his distinguished judicial career.

97. With No Real Rival, Tennessee Republicans Attack Their Own -

Republicans are sitting in Tennessee’s political catbird seat, but that doesn’t keep them from flying off in different directions.

Elected political leaders of the same stripe found themselves at odds this year over the Bible as a state book, Common Core education standards and Insure Tennessee, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to catch 280,000 people in a medical coverage gap.

98. Tennessee’s ‘Fighting 26’ Democrats Work to Stay Relevant -

Sometimes Tennessee Democrats must feel like a tree that falls in the forest: Does anyone hear them?

When Democratic legislative leaders called for a special session this summer on Insure Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam’s market-based plan to use federal dollars to catch 280,000 working people in a health care coverage gap, they found themselves alone.

99. Special Action on Same-Sex Nuptials a Waste of Time -

With Republican lawmakers scrambling for a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s gay-marriage ruling, Tennesseans on both sides of the issue say they are seeking "equality."

Immediately after the court’s decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville said, "Love and equality won. I’m glad the Supreme Court ruled on the right side of history."

100. Southern Heritage Defined Differently Across Tennessee -

Tennessee’s loyalty was divided in the Civil War, and 150 years later, little is changed as the debate over Confederate symbols arises in the wake of the racist-fueled South Carolina church massacre.