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Things got so bad with Northrop Grumman that TennCare hired an outside accounting firm a few months ago to come in and audit the contract. KPMG – which was paid $1 million for its help – told the state it might be a good idea to part ways.A year after a contractor failed to deliver a new computer system to TennCare, the agency is starting over. Northrop Grumman won the $35 million project three years ago but has never brought online the new system for determining who is eligible for health benefits.

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Governor Haslam’s proposal to offer health coverage to 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans is already getting a wary look from state lawmakers.

One part of his proposal is to use vouchers to help low-wage workers buy coverage from their employers.

But what if your employer doesn’t offer insurance? Or you don’t work? And you don’t qualify for Medicaid? We explain Haslam's plan here:


Chas Sisk / WPLN

With a bang of her gavel, Rep. Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) opened the 109th General Assembly and was unanimously elected to a third term as speaker of the state House of Representatives.

The real drama was in the lobby outside the chamber, where dozens of protesters – some with signs and drums – rallied against plans to impose new restrictions on abortion. Chanting slogans such as, “Keep your laws off my body,” they sought to discourage lawmakers from pursuing regulations such as a 48-hour waiting period and tougher licensing requirements for abortion facilities.

Nina Cardona / WPLN

Nashville’s Music Row has been officially declared a National Treasure.  That means local groups trying to preserve the character of country music’s home neighborhood will have hands-on assistance from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

  The Trust helps local groups organize, plan and raise money. In some cases, it spearheads legal battles.  This year, it successfully lobbied Congress to add Oak Ridge and the other Manhattan Project sites to the National Parks system. It took the Army Corps of Engineers to court—and won—over a cruise ship port in Charleston’s historic district.

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AAA auto club says the average price of gas has now dipped below $2 a gallon in 18 states, including Tennessee. WPLN talked to drivers filling up in MetroCenter for $1.86.

“It’s more affordable for us to go home,” says TSU student Rosalyn Fitzgerald, who has been taking her kids back to Memphis more often. “Usually, we would spend maybe $50. Now that the gas prices are lower, we’re spending like $30 at the most.”

Treva Gordon is a magazine publisher from Clarksville who says she commutes 100 miles a day.

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A bug in Metro Schools’ lottery system resulted in a few hundred families getting seats in several different schools instead of just one. But district officials say there was no harm and no need for a re-do.

At a press conference Monday, school officials apologized while also downplaying the glitch that forced the district to take down a website that announced placements for the fall.“It was a programming error in the program itself,” chief operating officer Fred Carr said. “And humans programmed the program, so that’s why we’re doing double quality assurance this time.”

Nina Cardona / WPLN

More than 13,000 families in Nashville are still waiting to hear if they got into the school they wanted for next year. A website announcing results of the school lottery was published Friday and then taken down over the weekend after glitches emerged.

A statement from the district says some students were given seats at multiple schools when they should have been offered just one. It appears this didn’t happen to most applicants, but everyone could be affected. The school system isn’t ruling out running the lottery all over again in order to ensure integrity in the process.

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It’s likely to be a heated political fight next month, when Governor Haslam takes his plan to expand Medicaid to the General Assembly. Lawmakers have serious questions about the complicated proposal to cover 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans.

Let’s unpack the governor’s two-pronged plan, starting with his voucher idea. Listen:

Whitehouse.gov

As President Obama announced his free community college plan in Knoxville on Friday afternoon, he was joined by top Republican lawmakers. But this doesn’t necessarily mean Obama’s proposal is getting bipartisan support.

Obama applauded Gov. Bill Haslam for implementing a statewide program, called Tennessee Promise, to pay community college tuition for all graduating high school seniors. The president also highlighted a similar initiative in Chicago.

Nissan

Franklin-based Nissan North America is teaming up with NASA to develop an autonomous vehicle.

In a joint announcement, Nissan and NASA officials say they will have prototypes ready to test by the end of the year. The work will be done at Nissan’s Silicon Valley research center and NASA’s Ames research center in California. The vehicles will be all-electric, driver-less, and able to carry payloads or people.

Nissan aims to have an autonomous vehicle for sale by 2020.

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