Blake Farmer

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Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander says federal interference could be at fault for the state’s continued delays in standardized testing. He spoke at Belmont University Monday about passing his fix to the No Child Left Behind law. He also addressed Tennessee’s problems moving to a new test.

Tennessee legislators were running out of Cheetos and cold coffee by the end of the session, which dragged on a couple of days longer than expected. One of the final debates was about whether to adjourn at all, just in case Governor Bill Haslam decided to issue another veto.

The budget has passed, and Tennessee state lawmakers are eager to end the session this week so they can hit the campaign trail. After all, most of them are up for reelection this year. But there are still some loose ends to tie up. And some of the most complicated debates have — as usual — been put off until the final days.

One of the bills Tennessee’s governor is feeling pressured to veto would let therapists deny service to clients if they feel they would be violating their own religious beliefs. State capitol correspondent Chas Sisk joins WPLN’s Blake Farmer to explain why the debate is an important one.

Most nights and weekends, you can find Taylor Ezell of Nashville looking over spreadsheets of player stats, and placing his money on a fantasy lineup he’s picked.

“The same way that I would go out before buying a stock and research all these stocks that I think are going to perform well over a period of time, I’m going to do the same thing for daily fantasy,” he says.

“In such manner as the General Assembly may determine.” Get to know that phrase. It could turn into a multi-year debate over who has the last word on education funding in Tennessee. As school systems around the country file lawsuits against state officials to argue for more money, Tennessee is considering the unique step of changing the state constitution instead.

The typically mundane matter of school bathroom policies has been elevated to the highest levels of state government this year. The Tennessee legislature has already spent hours debating where transgender students should use the restroom. The bill in question was voted down, though the issue may be revived.

Middle Tennessee State University is poised to make a decision on whether to change the name of its ROTC building on campus. The school has been holding public hearings on Forrest Hall, named after controversial Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest.

A committee in the Tennessee legislature voted to reject Medicaid expansion yet again last week. WPLN’s Chas Sisk joins Blake Farmer to talk about who is keeping the conversation about InsureTN alive.