A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Tennessee can begin outlawing abortions because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, as well as prohibit the procedure if it’s based on the race or gender of the fetus.
Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee enacted the so-called “reason bans” earlier this year as part of a sweeping anti-abortion measure. The law gained national attention because it banned abortion as early as six weeks — making it one of the strictest in the country — but it included several other anti-abortion components. Read More
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) this weekend used his Twitter to hurl another personal attack at U.S. President Donald Trump while he also accused Trump of using the recent election to divide people.
As The Tennessee Star has reported many times, Cohen has made countless divisive remarks about Trump and Republicans.
On Saturday, Cohen linked to a TikTok video and ridiculed Trump, whose hair in the video appeared white. Read More
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07), and U.S Senate Republican candidate Bill Hagerty urged their supporters to vote Tuesday and to also re-elect U.S. President Donald Trump.
They did so Sunday at Franklin’s Liberty Hall inside The Factory, where State Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) hosted his annual Boots & Jeans, BBQ & Beans event. Read More
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee ranks seventh in The American Legislative Exchange Council’s new scorecard that assesses America’s 50 governors on policy performance and leadership before and after the start of the COVID-19 health crisis. Members of the Arlington, Virginia-based ALEC released their 2020 Laffer-ALEC Report on Economic Freedom Tuesday.… Read More
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee along with 23 other Republican governors signed a letter Thursday that “strongly supports” the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
In the letter, the governors said they agreed with Barrett’s judicial doctrine. Read More
Governor Bill Lee announced during the weekly Tuesday briefing that Tennessee will receive around 2 million rapid viral tests for COVID-19. The tests from BinaxNOW will come in staggered shipments throughout the end of the year. Read More
BinaxNOW tests are significantly more cost-effective and quicker at giving results. They are also more comfortable than the standard deep nasal swab. Instead of going up the nose and into the back of the throat, swabs will go just inside the nose.
The Davidson County Election Commission has recruited a legal team to sue the citizens’ group Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN) for its December ballot tax cut petition. Read More
Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Bill Koch will serve as lead council, and Junaid Odubeko the co-council.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled Governor Bill Lee’s educational savings account (ESA) program “unconstitutional” on Tuesday. The court’s decision upheld a lower court’s ruling on the school voucher program. Read More
The court of appeals ruled that the unconstitutionality of the ESA program is because “is local in effect, and applicable to Davidson and Shelby counties in their governmental capacity.” This decision references article XI, section 9, paragraph 2 of the Tennessee Constitution.
Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Nashville Mayor John Cooper can heal an economy wounded after COVID-19, and Ogles said now is the time to do so.
Simply put, Ogles said Middle Tennessee is Tennessee’s economic engine and what happens there reverberates throughout the rest of the state. He also said it’s time for the state to go back to what life was like February, before COVID-19 impacted the United States. Ogles also said it’s safe to do so. Read More
Reading proficiency among Tennessee third-graders is projected to drop by 50%, and math proficiency is projected to drop by 65% because of COVID-19-related school closures, according to preliminary projections released by the Department of Education.
Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced the projected learning loss during a news conference at the state Capitol on Wednesday. Read More
Nissan began efforts to move production to the United States on Tuesday by manufacturing the 2021 Rogue in Smyrna, Tennessee. Read More
Nissan predicts the Rogue’s longstanding popularity will lead to its “turnaround as the company’s top-selling U.S. model,” according to their press release.
Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) Commissioner Penny Schwinn’s leadership problems could trickle down to the state’s public schools, and parents are right to worry.
Additionally, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, who appointed Schwinn, should worry that she could cost him reelection in 2022. Read More
Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) Commissioner Penny Schwinn and her leadership skills have created a toxic work environment and driven too many talented state workers away and into the private sector, said three former TDOE employees.
These are the same three sources who criticized Schwinn in an article that The Tennessee Star published Wednesday. Those sources spoke on condition of anonymity. They said the problems within the department started when Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee appointed Schwinn. And the sources also said the difficulties began not despite Schwinn — but because of her. Read More
Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner (TDEC) Penny Schwinn must leave, said Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles on Wednesday.
Ogles posted on his Facebook page that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee must remove Schwinn. Ogles said he formally called on Lee to do this only hours after he read Wednesday’s Tennessee Star article that quoted three former TDEC higher-ups. Those former employees, speaking anonymously, denounced Schwinn and her alleged on-the-job behavior. They said she falsified government records, ridiculed Lee at TDEC staff meetings, and lied to avoid appearing in public alongside U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Read More
Three former high-level Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) officials who left the department voluntarily criticized their former boss, Commissioner Penny Schwinn, in exclusive interviews with The Tennessee Star.
The former officials spoke with The Star on the condition of anonymity.
Their criticisms of Schwinn are withering, and include the following allegations. Read More
Gov. Bill Lee believes the Tennessee Legislature should not limit the existing executive emergency powers of the governor, Lee’s staff told a committee reviewing executive emergency powers.
The ad hoc study committee, co-chaired by Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin, and Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, met for a second time Thursday to hear testimony from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, members of the governor’s executive staff and others. Read More
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said this week that protecting public safety while also protecting the state’s small businesses during COVID-19 is his administration’s primary “balancing act” and it was “heartbreaking” to watch small businesses close.
Lee also said he and other state officials used stimulus money to help the state’s business owners. Read More
The Tennessee Department of Education has withdrawn a $1 million initiative to conduct well-being checks for all children in Tennessee from birth to age 18 after the program sparked uproar this week, with critics calling it a big-brother government overreach.
Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn released the Child Wellbeing Check Toolkit during a news conference Tuesday. As originally published, the initiative recommended well-being checks for all children in the state to verify well-being as school closures have left gaps for nutrition, health, and abuse reporting services amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read More
President Donald Trump will nominate Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to the Council of Governors.
The president announced a number of key nominations for positions in his administration this week. The Council of Governors consists of 10 governors, five from each major political party, appointed by the president. Read More
Gov. Bill Lee on Wednesday defended Tennessee’s response to the coronavirus pandemic after receiving criticism from a top Democratic congressional leader, arguing that his decisions have been “data driven” despite not adhering entirely to White House recommendations.
“Our response has focused on reducing bureaucratic barriers, strengthening private sector partnerships, and finding every opportunity to protect the lives and livelihoods of Tennessee,” Lee, a Republican, said in a three-page letter to South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn. Read More
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee declared Saturday, August 8 as Emancipation Day.
Lee announced this on his Facebook page. Read More
The protests at the state capitol have forced the Tennessee Highway Patrol to spend nearly $900,000 in overtime costs.
And that’s just between May 31, around the time the protests started, up until June 30. Read More
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday the state will do “whatever it takes” to defend the pro-life Heartbeat Bill in court.
U.S. District Judge William “Chip” Campbell in Nashville blocked the pro-life measure just hours after Gov. Lee signed it into law Monday. Read More
Pro-abortion advocates praised a Trump-appointed judge for blocking Tennessee’s Heartbeat Bill from becoming law.
U.S. District Judge William “Chip” Campbell in Nashville blocked the pro-life measure just hours after Gov. Bill Lee signed it into law Monday. Campbell’s mother, Beth Campbell, serves as a Republican National Committee member for Tennessee, the Tennessee Republican Party confirmed.
“An activist judge barely waited until the ink was dry to promote his own pro-choice view. We cannot allow the lives of unborn children to be jeopardized by radical judges. As your Senator, I will only vote to confirm justices who stick to the Constitution,” said Manny Sethi, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Read More
The federal government granted Gov. Bill Lee’s request this week for a major disaster declaration for 20 Tennessee counties impacted by severe weather in early May.
President Donald Trump announced in a Thursday press release that he approved the declaration, which will make federal funding available for state and local recovery efforts in the affected areas. Read More
Authorities have released left-wing activist Justin Jones from the Davidson County Jail after Tennessee Highway Patrol officers arrested him and several other activists at Legislative Plaza.
As reported, Jones and several of those activists have taken turns occupying that space for weeks as they demand a meeting with Gov. Bill Lee. Read More
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) urged Gov. Bill Lee to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the State Capitol and rename a state park that bears his name.
In a letter sent to Lee Monday, Cohen asked the Republican governor to “demonstrate leadership on an issue that causes so much pain in the Black community in Tennessee.” Read More
Gov. Bill Lee announced a new partnership last week with law enforcement agencies across the state in an effort to reform policing in Tennessee.
“The intent of this partnership is the desire to ensure law enforcement are consistently reflecting the values of the communities they serve,” Lee explained in a press release. Read More
Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Friday granting the mayors of 89 counties the authority to issue local face mask mandates.
Six Tennessee counties – Sullivan, Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Madison, and Shelby – have local health departments, and therefore already have the authority to issue mask requirements as needed, Lee’s office explained. Read More
Members of the Tennessee chapter of Planned Parenthood gathered at an unspecified location this week and posted a Twitter video of themselves incinerating an American flag.
Those same Planned Parenthood members then placed the burning flag into a garbage container before someone extinguished the flames with a fire extinguisher. Read More
Ramsey Solutions CEO Dave Ramsey announced this week that the Williamson County-based Ramsey Solutions will invest $52 million to expand its corporate headquarters in Franklin and create 600 jobs.
Ramsey announced this in a press release on the Tennessee Department of Community and Economic Development’s website. Ramsey announced this with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and ECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe. Read More
Tennessee was immediately sued by a cohort of liberal organizations Friday after the General Assembly passed its pro-life heartbeat bill.
The bill passed the Tennessee House in a vote of 69-17 and was then approved by the Tennessee Senate 23-5. Read More
Law enforcement officers were able to prevent demonstrators from camping out in Legislative Plaza for a second night Saturday.
Gov. Bill Lee failed to enforce state law Friday night and allowed left-wing protesters to occupy the plaza throughout the night and into Saturday morning, The Tennessee Star reported. More than 100 protesters claimed Friday that they had taken control of Nashville’s Legislative Plaza and refused to leave until speaking with Lee. Read More
Taylor Swift called on Tennessee leaders Friday to remove monuments “that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things.”
“Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest were despicable figures in our state history and should be treated as such,” Swift said in a statement posted on Twitter Friday. Read More
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of downtown Nashville Saturday night and taunted law enforcement as officers assembled in unison along the sidewalks on Lower Broadway.
Officers held riot shields to guard their faces. Read More
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee failed to enforce state law Friday night and allowed left-wing activist Justin Jones and a handful of his fellow protesters to camp out in Legislative Plaza, pitching tents and sitting on the steps of the plaza throughout the night and into the morning. Read More
Perhaps 100 to 150 or so protestors claimed Friday night that they had taken control of Nashville’s Legislative Plaza.
They renamed it Ida B. Wells Plaza and draped a black tarp with the civil rights’ journalist’s name over a post visible to almost the entire surrounding area. Read More
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Friday afternoon that state officials will not entertain any criminal behavior at a demonstration scheduled for 5 p.m. today at Legislative Plaza.
Organizers have scheduled the event, which they call “Free Capitol Hill” at 5 p.m. Central today. In a Facebook flyer organizers do not address the venue as “Legislative Plaza.” Instead they refer to the landmark as the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (Formerly Legislative Plaza).” Read More
Soldiers and airmen from the Tennessee National Guard returned home from Washington D.C. Tuesday.
This, according to a press release on the Tennessee Department of Military’s website. Read More
About 1,000 citizen-soldiers with the Tennessee National Guard were deployed to the nation’s capital this week to help keep the peace outside the White House.
Like many major cities, Washington has seen massive demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was allegedly murdered by Minneapolis police. Many of the protests have taken a violent turn as Washington braced for what was expected to be its largest protest yet Saturday night. Read More
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Thursday outlined new spending plans for state government that reflect significant revenue reductions due to the economic impact of COVID-19.
Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley presented state lawmakers with the revised budget plans for the current fiscal year, as well as FY 2020-21, which begins July 1, 2020, and a framework for the following fiscal year, 2021-22. Read More
Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland declared a local State of Emergency Sunday night after violence broke out in that city following what the Murfreesboro Police Department’s Facebook page described as a peaceful assembly.
The order went into effect at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the MPD’s Facebook page. Read More
Because of the lingering effects of COVID-19, Tennessee Commissioner of Finance and Administration Butch Eley this week asked all of the state’s agency heads and budget officers to plan to reduce their budgets by 12 percent.
This, according to an email Eley sent Tuesday to state officials. Read More
The Nashville-based Beacon Center of Tennessee released a new solutions guide for Gov. Bill Lee and the state legislature on Friday that focused on making some of the deregulation done by executive order during the COVID-19 pandemic permanent.
This, according to an emailed press release Beacon put out Friday. Read More
Gov. Bill Lee announced Friday that Tennessee is lifting its capacity restrictions for restaurants and retail on May 22.
“Tennesseans have worked incredibly hard to do their part and help slow the spread of COVID-19 so that our state can begin to reopen. Thanks to their continued efforts, we’re able to allow restaurants and retail businesses to operate at greater capacity and large attractions to open in a safe and thoughtful way,” Lee said. Read More
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday that fear of catching COVID-19 is not reason enough to vote by mail in the coming elections.
“I think that what we want to do in this state is remove the reason to have fear about going to the polling booths. We have worked really really hard to set up businesses in a way that people can feel safe to go into them, and we’re going to do the same thing with our elections,” Lee said at a press conference Tuesday. Read More
The Tennessee government is providing the names and addresses of COVID-19 patients to law enforcement agencies and other first responders, documents obtained by the Associated Press reveal.
According to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) obtained by the outlet, the Tennessee Department of Health is “disclosing” the information to the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board, which in turn passes the information along to first responders. Read More
Gov. Bill Lee said more than 23,000 Tennesseans have received a free COVID-19 test at one of 67 drive-through testing sites over the past three weekends.
“Testing remains one of the most important tools for gaining more information in our fight against COVID-19, and the 23,000 tests we’ve completed over the last three weekends have provided incredibly valuable data,” Lee said in a statement. “We’re grateful to the thousands who came out to receive a test this weekend and we continue to remind Tennesseans: when in doubt, get a test.” Read More
The Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus called for no-excuse absentee voting in a recent letter to Gov. Bill Lee and Secretary of State Tre Hargett. Read More
GOP officials from eight Tennessee counties sent a letter to Gov. Bill Lee Monday pleading with him to repeal all restrictions on businesses and gatherings of any kind after the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the letter, they also asked Lee to end the state legislature’s current recess. Read More