The Tri-Star State | Nashville Public Radio

The Tri-Star State

What’s happening in Tennessee politics? Nashville Public Radio reporters break down what you need to know at the state capitol and beyond — in just a few minutes. 

Beth Harwell
Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

A state law that would demand a work requirement for certain people on TennCare appeared to be on track last week before it hit a snag.

The proposal had passed the state House and Governor Bill Haslam said he was ready to sign it. But a final vote in the state Senate was delayed at the very last minute.

Now it's unclear whether it will pass.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Governor Bill Haslam is headed into the final months of his time in office, and he’s decided that combating the opioid epidemic will be his last big legislative push. Haslam started the session by endorsing a proposal that would impose stricter rules on prescribing the painkillers. Not until last week did that measure begin moving forward. It was a tougher fight than some expected.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

There were high hopes among state lawmakers at the start of this year’s legislative session that they could get done early and without much controversy as many have elections looming this fall.

But as bills have moved forward, some emotional debates have brought an unwanted spotlight. This past week saw fights over a bill banning bump stocks, a resolution honoring a Memphis community activist and whether autopsy records should be kept open.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

Medical cannabis has gotten further than ever before in the Tennessee legislature.

And that’s still not very far.

A single subcommittee voted in favor of a bill that would allow prescriptions for patients to use cannabis oils in edibles or through vaping, though not smoking the plant form. To even get there required a rare tie-breaker by the Speaker of the House, herself.

In this week's edition of The Tri-Star State, WPLN’s Blake Farmer and state capitol reporter Chas Sisk talk about whether this effort goes any further this year.

Tennessee capitol legislature
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

The leading topic of discussion nationwide continues to be guns in the wake of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. And state capitols around the country are feeling pressure to act and help put an end to the wave of massacres.

Ron Cogswell / via Flickr

The issue of Confederate monument removal has come back to the state legislature this year in the shape of several bills filed, mainly, by East Tennessee Republicans.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Governor Bill Haslam has started trying to sell lawmakers on the last budget of his tenure. And while that may have been overshadowed by Nashville drama developing a few blocks from the capitol, the numbers the budget contains can say something about this session’s legislative priorities.

Congress has been deeply divided along party lines. But Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander believes it can come together — on legislation dealing with health insurance, immigration and music copyright.

The Republican lawmaker has been working with Democrats on all three issues. He spoke with Nashville Public Radio's Chas Sisk about those efforts.

TN Photo Services

Congress has been deeply divided along party lines. But Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander believes it can come together — on legislation dealing with health insurance, immigration and music copyright.

The Republican lawmaker has been working with Democrats on all three issues. He spoke with Nashville Public Radio's Chas Sisk about those efforts.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

This year’s legislative session is fully under way and that means a long list of new bills. More than 250 measures have been proposed so far, and the deadline isn’t until the end of next week.

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