Politics | Nashville Public Radio


Political news

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.

Campaign ad screenshots via YouTube

The primary elections for governor are still months away, but Tennesseans have already gotten a taste of it.

The Republican candidates to follow Governor Bill Haslam have been hitting television sets with some high-profile ads. Experts on political advertising say these first pitches to Tennessee voters are among the most important of the campaign.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

A measure that could open the door for teachers to be armed in Tennessee is starting to make its way through the state legislature, after a panel voted along party lines Wednesday to let some educators carry, if their districts will give them permission.

But the proposal may be a strategy to get more professional police in the schools, rather than actually giving teachers guns.

Megan Barry business council
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Nashville voters still believe in Mayor Megan Barry, according to a poll released by Vanderbilt University this week.

The poll results measured Mayor Megan Barry’s favorability ratings in 2018. Of the 800 Nashville residents in the survey, 61 percent approved of Mayor Barry, marking a double-digit decrease from Barry’s 72 percent approval rating in 2017.

Cannabis Research Foundation

After years of failure, legislation that would make one form of medical cannabis legal is moving through the state House of Representatives, after a panel voted narrowly Tuesday to push the issue forward.

It was a major leap for state lawmakers, but the measure still has a long road ahead before becoming law.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Bob Corker still seems to be on the fence about whether to reverse his decision to retire and get back into the race for Senate.

But in a busy weekend for Republicans across Tennessee, the main contender for the Republican nomination, Congressman Marsha Blackburn, sought to make clear that he'd have to fight her if he hopes to come back.

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.


Last year's shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas raised the prominence of a particular accessory used in that killing — bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic rifles to fire at rates comparable to machine guns.

Now in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., massacre, Tennessee lawmakers are considering cracking down on them.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Eight years ago, when Republicans were outside the White House, their political advertising in Tennessee largely stuck to a single formula.

"You would take a picture of the Democratic candidate. Put a picture of Barack Obama on one side," says Kent Syler, a professor of political science at Middle Tennessee State University. "You know, throw in some Nancy Pelosi. And link them to that national ticket."

It worked. But Democrats are unlikely use the same playbook to turn Tennessee voters against the GOP.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Tennessee lawmakers have rejected a measure that would've required a paper receipt for all ballots cast in the state.

In a meeting Tuesday of the Senate's State and Local Government Committee, legislators voted down a bill intended to create a paper trail for auditors to follow in the event electronic voting machines are hacked.