- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Open gun carry bill defeated in Tenn. House panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A bill seeking to allow Tennesseans to openly carry firearms in public without permits was overwhelmingly defeated a House subcommittee on Monday night.

The House Finance Subcommittee voted 10-1 against the measure sponsored by Rep. Micah Van Huss. The Jonesborough Republican later told reporters that he will abandon an effort to bypass committees and call the bill for a full floor vote.

“I’m going to withdraw that, because they killed it fairly,” Van Huss said. “They killed it fair and square.”

The unusual step of calling a bill directly to a floor vote would have required the support of 66 representatives in the 99-member chamber.

Under current law, permit holders who undergo background checks and special training can carry firearms both openly and concealed. The bill sponsored by Van Huss would have allowed firearms to be carried openly by anyone legally allowed to own a gun.

The full Senate had passed its version of the bill on a 25-2 vote last week.


Roofing contractor’s death under investigation

DALTON, Ga. (AP) - Federal labor officials say they investigating the death of a roofing contractor in northwest Georgia.

Dalton Fire Department Deputy Chief Gary Baggett tells the Dalton Daily Citizen (https://bit.ly/1hPpMfmhttps://bit.ly/1hPpMfm ) that a 48-year-old McMinnville, Tenn. -based contractor was working on the roof of a carpet and flooring manufacturing plant when he fell about 30 feet on Saturday morning.

Baggett says the man was conscious after the fall, but suffered severe head trauma. Baggett says the man was taken to the Hamilton Medical Center but died on the way there.

The cause of the man’s fall and whether he was wearing protective equipment at the time is unclear.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating whether any safety standards may have been violated.



Senate approves Haslam’s free tuition plan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature proposal to create a program that would cover tuition at two-year colleges for any high school graduate is a step closer to the governor’s desk.

The Senate approved the plan 30-1 on Monday. The companion bill was scheduled to be heard on the House floor.

Called “Tennessee Promise,” the legislation is a cornerstone of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” campaign to improve the state’s graduation rates from the current 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025 to help improve overall job qualifications and attract employers to the state.

Haslam wants to pay for the program by using $300 million in excess lottery reserve funds and join it with a $47 million endowment.

One concern of higher education officials and lawmakers is making sure the plan is adequately funded.


Protesters gather outside House, Senate chambers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A group of about 50 activists has staged a protest outside the doors of the House and Senate chamber while lawmakers met within.

The protesters sang, chanted and cheered on Monday afternoon about a series of issues ranging from support for Medicaid expansion to demands for changes to the state’s voter ID law.

The noise drew the attention of lawmakers within the chamber, many of whom peeked out the back doors to investigate the sources of the disturbance. But they quickly returned their attention to pending bills.

Several Democratic lawmakers, including Reps. Joe Towns and G.A. Hardaway of Memphis and Brenda Gilmore of Nashville, joined the circle of protesters.

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