Blake Farmer

Two of Nashville’s largest private employers plan to do away with benefits for domestic partners starting in 2017. Vanderbilt University and hospital chain HCA say they will no longer cover unwed couples. Employers around the nation are changing their policies following the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

A third-party look at Tennessee’s Achievement School District, published Tuesday, finds that the state-takeover of struggling schools has been ineffective so far. Researchers from Vanderbilt's Peabody College have been monitoring progress since the ASD’s creation through the federal Race to the Top grant program.

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Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The state agency that oversees mental health is asking for a multi-million dollar budget increase, in part because the legislature turned down Insure Tennessee. The expansion of Medicaid would have saved the Department of Mental Health more than $40 million, according to estimates.

Opioids have a stranglehold on parts of the U.S. And where addictive pain medicines are the drug of choice, clinics for addiction treatment often follow.

Sometime these are doctor's offices where patients can get painkiller-replacement drugs, such as Subutex and Suboxone.

The terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday have spawned a passionate debate in the Tennessee legislature about refugee resettlement. Calls to round up recent Syrian arrivals have been met with strong rebukes.

Tennessee has attracted international attention for making it a crime to give birth to a drug-dependent baby. This means women addicted to pain pills or heroin can be charged with assault to a fetus.

After less than two years in effect, the controversial law must be renewed, or it will expire. While the measure has drawn worldwide disdain from women's health and civil liberty advocates, some of the women who’ve been charged say the threat of jail-time was a wake-up call.

The Nashville Symphony is nearly done digging itself out of a giant financial hole. After job cuts, salary reductions and restructuring, the symphony expects to no longer have a budget deficit, starting next year.

More than 80-percent of Tennesseans think that private gun sales should be more regulated and the mentally ill should be barred from purchasing firearms. New polling from MTSU finds broad agreement, even among gun rights advocates. 

Family, friends and colleagues filled Nashville's War Memorial Auditorium Friday morning to share stories of actor and politician Fred Thompson.

"The two professions aren't as different as politicians and actors like to pretend," said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.

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