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Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper said a state law making public officials ineligible for pretrial or judicial diversion for crimes related to their official position is constitutional. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the opinion was requested by state Representative Eric Watson, the state House Judiciary Committee Chairman. Cooper said pretrial and judicial diversions are not fundamental rights and a state may treat elected or appointed public officials differently than the general public.

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School nurses in Tennessee are urging parents to have their children vaccinated against meningitis before the school year starts. Half of the state’s teens aren't vaccinated. Meningitis can be spread through contact such as sharing water bottles and drinking glasses. Ten percent of people who contract the disease die, sometimes within 24 hours. State Department of Health immunization program director Dr. Kelly Moore said the shots are not required in Tennessee, but are recommended. 

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A federal lawsuit to allow voters to use photo ID's issued by Memphis’ public library has been denied. U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp originally denied the city’s request for a temporary injunction ordering the election commission to accept the library ID's. At a second hearing in Nashville yesterday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger ruled the library identification cannot be used as valid voter ID's. Trauger said ID's are only valid if they are issued by the state, not county or cities. Trauger did express frustration with the law.

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Ameren Illinois said it made an additional $500,000 available to its neediest Central and Southern Illinois customers to help them pay their energy bills during the summer heat wave. Ameren Illinois President and CEO Richard Mark said the money comes as extreme heat in recent weeks has made life difficult for many of the utility's customers. The latest funds will be distributed through local support agencies, and eligible customers must meet federal low-income guidelines. For a four-person household, the maximum gross annual income is $49,500.

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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has called lawmakers back to Springfield for a one-day special session August 17th to reform the state’s pension systems. But, so far, he doesn’t have a plan beyond that. Quinn said lawmakers already have legislation on the table they should consider. That includes a measure pushed by Senate President John Cullerton addressing two of the state’s five pension systems. Legislative leaders have been deadlocked over how to address the state’s $83 billion dollars in unfunded pension liability.

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A federal judge in Nashville will hold a hearing today before Thursday's statewide elections in a lawsuit filed by the City of Memphis over the issue of allowing voters to use library photo ID cards for voting purposes. U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger will consider the city's second request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from blocking the use of the library cards.

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Tennessee Democrats are looking at Thursday's primary as a critical step in the rebuilding urged by internal analysis. Since 2006, Democrats have lost 19 House seats and three seats in the Senate, placing them firmly in the minority of the two chambers. Another nine Democratic incumbents announced earlier this year they would not run again. Meanwhile, districts newly redrawn by Republicans are pitting several incumbent Democrats against each other. Nevertheless, Democratic leaders said they're optimistic about their 47 candidates.

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The Kentucky Department of Education has launched a new app allowing iPhone, iPad and iPod users easy access to agency information.The KDE News app is available as a free download. It features department news releases, articles from Kentucky Teacher magazine, Education Commissioner Terry Holliday's blog, weekly messages to superintendents and teachers, as well as photos and videos.  The department said it is developing a Windows Mobile version of the app.

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The Kentucky Public Service Commission will hold public hearings next month in Paducah and Henderson to get input on a proposal raising rates for Big Rivers Electric Corporation customers. Big Rivers wants to spend about $284 million to comply with new federal environmental requirements affecting utilities that burn coal to generate electricity.

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The Illinois Department of Corrections has begun checking prison guards for contraband as they leave work. Seven Illinois prisons conducted shakedowns of their corrections officers last week. The guards and their union claim the searches are retaliation against employees who spoke out about crowded conditions and plans to close Illinois’ supermax prison at Tamms. The guards said they’ve never been searched before. A Department of Corrections spokeswoman said the searches are routine and designed to halt the flow of contraband that includes cell phones as well as drugs and weapons.

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