New School Choice Measure Proposed: Tennessee ‘Opportunity Scholarships Program’ Would Allow Choice Between Public or Private Schooling

Newly proposed legislation would establish an annual scholarship program enabling students to choose private schooling. The bill, filed on Tuesday by State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna), would apply to students within Tennessee’s rapid growth school districts (TRGSDs) according to Tennessee’s Department of Education (TDOE). Any local education agency (LEA), or school district, that has two percent growth over the course of five years would be eligible.

The bill capped scholarship recipients at 1,000 students. If more than 1,000 students applied for the scholarship, then TDOE would select the recipients via lottery preference. Students who have enrolled previously or have siblings in any given participating school would receive preference in such a lottery.

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Tennessee Senate Republicans Return McNally as Lieutenant Governor, Johnson as Majority Leader

The Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus on Thursday voted unanimously to renominate Lt. Governor Randy McNally to a third term, among other leadership votes.

The caucus also announced that Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) will return to their top leadership roles as Majority Leader and Republican Caucus Chairman, respectively. Others elected to caucus leadership positions include Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) as Treasurer, Senator Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro) as Secretary and Senator Shane Reeves (R-Murfreesboro) as Chaplain.

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Governor-Elect Bill Lee Joins Christmas Celebrations of Middle Tennessee Grassroots Conservatives

MURFREESBORO and NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Governor-Elect Bill Lee joined middle Tennessee grassroots conservatives, his base, at Christmas celebrations of groups with their hubs in Murfreesboro and Nashville. The two groups called “Sentinels,” originally organized around the Heritage Action for America (HAFA) model of activism. Personal relationships with federal legislators are leveraged with tools like calls to Congress, Twitter and letters to the editor, using data and solutions from Heritage Foundation, so that Sentinels can hold their representatives accountable. “Action” being an integral part of the groups’ very existence, Sentinel activities extend deeper into state and local arenas as well. With 2018 being an election year, for one, and a number of other issues arising, it was a particularly busy year for Sentinels. While the Murfreesboro and Nashville Sentinel groups are separate, they are not so much distinct as there is a fair amount of overlap, and the Nashville group could be considered a more recent extension of the more established and longstanding Murfreesboro group. As independent thinkers and activists, it was not a group decision to endorse a particular candidate for governor in the August 2018 Republican primary. Without any obvious exceptions, however, Sentinels were behind Bill Lee and demonstrated…

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Jack Johnson Elected State Senate Majority Leader by GOP Caucus

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – At the State Senate Republican Caucus meeting held Monday afternoon in an eighth floor conference room of the Cordell Hull Building, there was no obvious drama in the selection of its six leaders for the upcoming 111th General Assembly. The elections held off until Governor-Elect Bill Lee, after making his rounds greeting each of the Senators individually, made scheduled opening remarks that lasted about five minutes. He was introduced by Lt. Governor Randy McNally, who said Lee, elected by an overwhelming majority in both the primary and general is a man of faith and a conservative, concluding “I think we’re going to get along just fine.” Lee said it was an honor and humbling to be there with a remarkable group of public servants, many of whom he has built relationships with. Lee was complimentary of the leadership by those in the room, as well as the state House and the Governor, which has made Tennessee a remarkably good place to be by creating and laying a foundation that can be built upon so that all Tennesseans can enjoy a good job, good school for their kids and a safe neighborhood. From there, Senate Speaker Pro Tempore…

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