Governor Bill Haslam

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to create a school voucher program is drawing mixed response from lawmakers and educators.

Proponents say it’s another option for parents seeking to provide a better education for their children. Those opposed say voucher programs are unproven, and they don't like the idea of taking funds from public schools and giving them to private institutions. 

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and the Department of Economic and Community Development announced Monday that the state is opening four international offices that will focus on increasing exports from the state. The new development offices will be in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and China.

ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty says this step is imperative if Tennessee wants to access untapped markets. The overseas offices will help small and medium sized businesses navigate the exporting process by providing market analysis, sales and marketing planning, identification of distribution partners and company matchmaking free of charge.

Gov. Bill Haslam denies the state lost a case in which the Tennessee Department of Children's Services must provide the public records of children who died or nearly died after the agency investigated reports they had been abused or neglected.The Republican governor says the state is simply adhering to a Nashville judge's ruling that it provide the records. Chancellor Carol McCoy ruled last month the agency had to redact and release the documents, calling the state's argument that it needed more time "unpersuasive."

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam may be able to negotiate beneficial terms for the state to participate in federally-funded Medicaid expansion. But his GOP colleagues in the Legislature may not let him get to that point. Republican bills before both chambers of the General Assembly would prohibit the governor from pursuing an expansion to TennCare, the state's expanded Medicaid program.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says excluding college campuses from a bill allowing employees to keep firearms in their vehicles at work is vital. Haslam says he expects lawmakers to compromise on the bill that caused consternation earlier this year. The business lobby opposes the National Rifle Association-backed measure because they say it intrudes on their property rights. Gun advocates argue banning guns in company lots leave workers unarmed during their commute.

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A school voucher task force has submitted its recommendations to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. Haslam appointed the nine-member task force to study how to start a school voucher program a year ago. The group includes lawmakers and representatives from both private and public schools.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says the lack of information from the White House is to blame for the delay in the state’s decision about running its own health insurance exchange under the new federal health care law. Haslam says President Barack Obama’s administration has refused to answer questions about health insurance raised by Republican governors.

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Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam wraps up budget hearings for fiscal year 2013-2014 tomorrow. Despite improving state revenues, Haslman has asked state departments to develop plans for a fallback 5 percent spending cut.

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Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam won't change how the executive branch handles open records requests. Haslam says his initial concerns about the abuse of open records laws have been put to rest. He has instructed his cabinet to expedite getting records to the public and news media.

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Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says it’s too early to tell whether the defeat of House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart in last week’s primary will cause lawmakers to usher through a gun bill championed by the National Rifle Association.  The NRA poured more than $86,000 into the Maggart race, claiming she was instrumental in blocking legislation to guarantee employees the right to store weapons in vehicles parked at work, regardless of the business owner’s wishes.  Haslam has said he supports the measure, but only with exceptions built in for large employers.

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