Tennessee House Passes Bill to Lower Age for Carrying Handgun from 21 to 18

A bill that would lower the age to carry a handgun in Tennessee from 21 to 18 passed the House on Thursday.

Bill sponsor Rep. Chris Todd, R-Madison County, said that House Bill 1735 is about protecting the constitutional rights of 18-year-olds who can vote and enlist in the military. The bill passed by a 64-28 vote.

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Tennessee House Majority Leader Senator Jack Johnson Confident Anti-Critical Race Theory Bill Will Pass

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee House Majority Leader Senator Jack Johnson to the newsmakers line to explain the expected passing of a caption bill that would put the guardrails on the teaching of critical race theory in K12 public schools.

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Tennessee Democratic Legislator Pushes Special Recognition for Her Sorority Under Resolution; House Passes It

Barbara Cooper

The House passed a Democratic legislator’s resolution to award special recognition for her African American sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA). The resolution sponsor, State Representative Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis), framed the resolution as a recognition honoring law enforcement prior to the House floor vote. However, the enacting clause doesn’t mention law enforcement at all. Instead, the enacting clause only recognizes a “virtual celebration” for AKA members.

“[W]e recognize Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Day at the Capitol, May 6, 2021, a virtual celebration for the AKA members from the South Eastern Region of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee,” stated the resolution.

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Tennessee House Passes Bill Requiring Educational Boards to Approve Contraception Information, Allowing Parents to Access and Opt Child Out of Information

The Tennessee House passed a bill enacting stricter oversight on contraceptive information for school-aged children. As amended, the legislation would require that any contraceptive information is consistent with public policy, approved by the local board of education or charter school governing body, and available upon request to the parent.

The educational boards must verify that the contraceptive information is both medically accurate and age-appropriate, and that it aligns with present state law and academic standards. If parents find the material objectionable, they can opt their student out without any penalty.

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House Passes Bill Increasing Inmate Parole Eligibility, Reduces Punishment for Breaking Parole

On Thursday, the Tennessee House passed a bill increasing parole eligibility and reducing parole violation punishments for inmates. The “Reentry Success Act of 2021” creates a presumption that eligible inmates must be granted parole on their eligibility date.

Additionally, parole violations that aren’t felonies or Class A misdemeanors would result in 15 days’ imprisonment for the first violation, 30 days for the second, 90 days for the third, and either one year or the remainder of the prisoner’s sentence for the fourth – whichever is the shorter of the two. Other changes to present law under the Reentry Success Act of 2021 include clarification that victims may submit videos for their victim impact statements, and waiving certain application costs for restricted drivers licenses. Felonies or Class A misdemeanors committed as part of parole violation would require prisoners to serve out the maximum of their sentence.

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Tennessee House Passes Resolution Congratulating Candace Owens’ Move from D.C. to Tennessee

The Tennessee House passed a resolution Thursday congratulating acclaimed conservative pundit, author, Daily Wire talk show host, BLEXIT founder, and new mother Candace Owens for her move to Tennessee.

Owens announced her move to Nashville last October, when she also revealed that she would be joining conservative media outlet, The Daily Wire. Last month she debuted her show, “Candace,” with the outlet. 

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Tennessee House Passes Bill to Cancel Excise Tax for Certain COVID-19 Relief Payments to Businesses

The Tennessee House passed a bill cancelling the excise tax on certain COVID-19 payments given to businesses. The legislation would cover all payments from March 1 to December 31 of last year. 

If passed, the bill would apply to payments from the Tennessee Business Relief Program, the Tennessee Supplemental Employer Recovery Grant Program, the Coronavirus Agricultural and Forestry Business Fund, the Hospital Staffing Assistance Program, the Emergency Medical Services Ambulance Assistance Program, the Tennessee Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants Program, or the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant.

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Republicans Dominate the 2020 Tennessee Election Cycle

Tennessee’s elections were called for Republicans across the board not long after the polls closed on Tuesday night. The red state remained red, for the most part. One state-level seat flipped in Davidson County: a blue dot surrounded by red.

On the national scale, President Donald Trump won with an approximate 23 point lead over Democratic candidate Joe Biden. That lead is 3 points shy of his 2016 victory against Hillary Clinton. A total of just over 3 million votes were reported. Absentee votes favored Biden by just under one percent.

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Tennessee House Votes to Be Second Amendment Sanctuary Amid Nationwide Riots

Tennessee is now one step closer to becoming a Second Amendment sanctuary after the state House of Representatives passed a resolution Monday strengthening legal protections of gun ownership.

Resolution HJR074, drafted in March, requires the state to “[extend] a safe harbor to Virginians and other United States citizens whose constitutional rights are being violated by elected officials.” It also affirms that citizens have a right to maintain arms equivalent “to those of their government’s basic infantry unit.”

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Tennessee Dem House Chair Wants ‘Statewide System to Trace the Steps’ of COVID-19 Patients

Tennessee House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart (D-Nashville) called on Gov. Bill Lee to create a “statewide system to trace the steps of those testing positive for COVID-19.”

“I call on Gov. Lee to use state resources to create a statewide contact tracing system including testing where necessary,” Stewart said in an interview with WKRN.

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House Speaker Glen Casada Starts Discussions With Republicans on Date He Will Resign

  Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada is holding discussions with Republican lawmakers on when he will resign, now that he has returned from a vacation in Europe, WKRN reported. The station quoted Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden as saying Monday that Casada would “meet with the leadership team and…

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Gov. Lee Promises to Call Special Session if House Speaker Casada Does Not Resign

  Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee promised to call a special session to remove House Speaker Glen Casada if he does not resign, following a no-confidence vote by House Republicans. Lee on Monday night tweeted, “Today House Republicans sent a clear message, and I’m prepared to call a special session if…

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House Speaker Glen Casada Provides a Statement to the Republican Caucus Regarding Media Reports and Allegations

  Nearly two weeks after the Tennessee State Capitol was roiled with reports of misconduct by House Speaker Glen Casada and his then-Chief of Staff Cade Cothren, Casada’s office has issued his most detailed response to the allegations to date. The Statement, first made available to Members of the House…

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State House Democrats Split on Next Steps for Speaker Glen Casada

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Following the resignation of his Chief of Staff, Tennessee House Democrats are split on what Speaker Glen Casada should do next. In a press conference held at the Cordell Hull Building Tuesday morning, Chairman of the Tennessee Black Caucus Representative G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) reading from…

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Democratic State Rep. Staples Resigns As Assistant House Minority Leader Following Sexual Harassment Claim

State Rep. Rick Staples (D-TN-15) resigned from a leadership position in the House following allegations of sexual harassment, multiple media outlets have reported. Staples, of Knox County, on Thursday resigned as assistant House minority leader but will continue to represent Knoxville, WATE said. “I have already publicly apologized for any…

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New State Rep. Griffey Calls for Resolution Supporting Trump in Ending ‘Birth Right’ Citizenship

Newly elected State Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-TN-75) has called on the Tennessee House of Representatives as its first action of the 2019 legislative session to pass a resolution supporting President’s Donald Trump’s efforts to end “birth right” citizenship. Griffey urges Tennessee to lead the way in amending the U.S. Constitution,…

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Tennessee House Republicans to Choose Speaker Tuesday

Republicans in the Tennessee House of Representatives will select their next leader on Tuesday, Nov. 27. One political observer has thrown out the name he believes will be picked. The upcoming Republican decision means replacing the spot that has been held by retiring Speaker State Rep. Beth Harwell (R-TN-56), who…

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Pay To Play: Tennessee House Republican Leadership Hands Down Dues Requirements To Its Caucus Members

The Republican Leadership of the Tennessee House of Representatives recently provided the Tennessee House Republican Caucus with a detailed and mandatory “Due Schedule,” specifically stating that “the contribution amounts are required by each member” of the caucus, along with a warning of potential reprisals for not following the “pay-to-play” directive,…

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