- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Haslam asks feds for Medicaid counterproposal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday he has asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to make a counterproposal to Tennessee’s efforts to carve out a special deal for Medicaid expansion.

Haslam told reporters he had met with Sebelius twice during a Washington visit, and that she was aware of the state’s requests to use the federal money to subsidize private insurance and promote healthier lifestyles through a series of incentives.

The governor last year declined to accept the Medicaid money without special arrangements for the state. Negotiations have so far been fruitless.


“We’ve had a lot of conversations about what won’t work,” Haslam said. “And I said, ‘You know what we need to make a plan work. Why don’t you come back to us with a proposal that you think will work?’

“So that’s where we left it,” he said.

The Haslam administration has said expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law would cover about 180,000 uninsured Tennesseans.

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Bill shields school religious displays from suits

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A proposal that would protect schools from lawsuits for allowing traditional winter celebrations, or religious displays, has passed the Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville was unanimously approved 30-0 on Monday.

The legislation says schools can display scenes or symbols associated with such celebrations on school property, if the display includes more than one religion, or one religion and at least one secular scene or symbol. Messages that encourage adherence to a particular religious belief are prohibited.

The proposal also allows students and school staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, such as “Merry Christmas,” ”Happy Hanukkah” and “Happy holidays.”

Campfield says some groups have threatened to sue over such displays and greetings, and his bill would protect schools.

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