Governor Bill Haslam

A spokesman says Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is "likely" to sign into law a bill to allow the state's nearly 400,000 handgun carry permit holders to store firearms in their cars no matter where they are parked. The House on passed the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison on a 72 - 22 vote Thursday.

Before the vote, Speaker Beth Harwell assured Republican colleagues that the measure is endorsed by the National Rifle Association and that members of the business community are "holding their noses" about its passage despite concerns about security and property rights.

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State lawmakers raised several reservations but ultimately passed Gov. Bill Haslam’s school voucher program in its first test.

Two members of the House Education Subcommittee voted no, including one Republican. The former school superintendent says he doesn’t believe public money should be diverted to private schools. Democrat Joe Pitts of Clarksville voted no after asking if private schools would be forced to still provide a free lunch. Only poor students could qualify for vouchers under the plan.

“I’m just really concerned that we’re targeting that at-risk population, but we’re really not doing anything else to supply that basic human need, which is food,” Pitts said.

Lawmakers in Tennessee are watching Florida closely after the state’s conservative Republican governor went along with a major piece of the Affordable Care Act. Governor Bill Haslam is still on the fence about expanding the state’s Medicaid program – known as TennCare.

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Legislation to tighten enrollment requirements at online-only schools is advancing in the Tennessee House. Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration bill passed the House Education Committee on a voice vote Tuesday and is being scheduled for the House floor.

The proposal would allow beginning online schools to start with an enrollment of 1,500 and continue to expand as long as they meet performance requirements. The measure originally sought to cap online school enrollment at 5,000. 

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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