Blake Farmer (Nashville Public Radio)

Capitol Hill Reporter and Assistant News Director at WPLN in Nashville

A proposed TN state panel for approving charter schools initially rejected by local boards is again limited to just a handful of districts.  The charter authorizer was going nowhere when it applied statewide.

Republican lawmakers were pulling their support when there was a possibility state-approved charters could pop up in their backyard.

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While the state Senate flirted with the idea of giving itself authority to pick nominees for U.S. Senate, the House has dumped the plan. A bill that would end primary elections made it to the floor of the state senate this week. But it was scuttled by the House before it even came to a committee vote.

Governor Bill Haslam is saying there’s still a chance to expand TennCare and cover more of the state’s uninsured. Last week, Haslam effectively turned down billions of dollars in federal money to expand Tennessee’s Medicaid program. But after talking with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the weekend, he says the federal agency is sounding more receptive to his demands.

The Tennessee General Assembly has delayed consideration of ending primary elections for the U.S. Senate. Several lawmakers say voters need time to weigh-in on possibly losing their power to pick party nominees.

A few top-ranking Republicans have gotten on board with Frank Niceley’s proposal for the state legislature to again pick Senate candidates. Niceley said Tennessee should lead what he calls a band of “small red states” to help send more conservative lawmakers to Washington and “save America.”

All that stands in the way of an overhaul of the Tennessee workers compensation system are a few votes in the state House. The Senate passed one of the governor’s biggest priorities of the year last night.

People who get hurt on the job would no longer get the benefit of the doubt under the proposed law. It would also create an entirely new state agency to mediate disputes over workers comp claims, instead of requiring both sides to go to court.

Democrats in Tennessee say they oppose allowing the General Assembly to pick nominees to the U.S. Senate.

The bill would end primary elections for selecting senate candidates, giving sole authority to the 132 members of the state legislature.

Supporters of allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores are holding out hope that it could still happen this year. But leaders of the Tennessee House say don’t hold your breath.

A deal on wine in supermarkets is still working its way through the state Senate, but the House has been silent since a narrow committee vote killed the bill two weeks ago.

Tennessee isn’t saying “yes” to expanding the state’s Medicaid program known as TennCare. But it’s not saying “no” either. Gov. Bill Haslam made the announcement this morning to a joint assembly of the legislature, telling lawmakers he’s been working toward a “third option.”

“To leverage the federal dollars available to our state to transform health care in Tennessee without expanding our TennCare rolls,” he said.

Tennessee lawmakers came into the legislative session fired up about rejecting new federal gun laws. Even symbolic shots are failing to get support.

Gov. Bill Haslam continues to stall his decision on enlarging Tennessee’s Medicaid program – known as TennCare.  Though, he says he will reveal his position one way or the other this week. The deadline is self-imposed. The Supreme Court struck down part of the Affordable Care Act that required states to expand their Medicaid rolls. But Haslam said he wants to make up his mind and move on.