Tennessee law enforcement will be using the new "no refusal" law over the weekend before New Year's Eve that allows police to get blood samples of suspected drunken drivers. Previously drivers in Tennessee could refuse a blood alcohol content test but they would face losing their licenses for violating the "implied consent" law. The law passed this year allows police to seek search warrants for blood samples. Police have held "no refusal" enforcement periods during several holidays this year.
Tennessee's public libraries will soon be able to share books cheaper and faster thanks to a new interlibrary loan service. The Secretary of State’s office says the Tennessee State Library and Archives has been paying about 200 thousand dollars annually to help libraries mail books to each other. But that amount only covered about half of the postage costs.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says he plans no major changes to the state's public higher education system next legislative session. Haslam also says he has yet to decide if he will push for a bill to create a school vouchers program in Tennessee.
Tennessee homeowners facing foreclosure now have a free hotline to turn to for help. The Mortgage Assistance Hotline refers homeowners to free foreclosure prevention counseling. The hotline is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Callers can get free counseling over the phone or get a referral for in-person counseling at a local non-profit.
Former employees of a veterans charity already under scrutiny in Tennessee say the organization handed out only a fraction of the money it raised in the form of gift cards. Florida-based Veterans Support Organization is under fire for its fundraising methods that brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars and for threatening to fire workers if they did not meet fundraising quotas.
Tennessee's county health department clinics are offering free flu vaccines to people of all ages until supplies are depleted. The state Health Department says seasonal influenza is already widespread in Tennessee. The department operates clinics in 89 of the state’s 95 counties.
The deadline nears for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to decide how the state will comply with a key component of the federal health care law. Haslam’s administration has been on the fence about whether to recommend a state-run health insurance exchange or to defer to the federal government to create it.
Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has announced the leadership team for his 2014 re-election campaign, dispelling speculation the 72-year-old is nearing retirement. U.S. Rep. John Duncan will serve as Alexander’s campaign chairman. Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Bob Corker, state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell are all honorary co-chairs.
Students in some Tennessee public schools will add at least 300 learning hours in a pilot program making the school day a little longer. WPSD reports five states including Tennessee will participate in the three-year pilot program affecting almost 20,000 students in 40 schools. Those involved with see their day get longer, their school year extended, or both.
The Tennessee Department of Children's Services is facing more scrutiny for not providing details on 31 children who died in the first six months of this year while under investigation. The agency released that information in September after repeated requests from a Democratic lawmaker and The Tennessean.