Chas Sisk

Chas joined WPLN in 2015 after eight years with The Tennessean, including more than five years as the newspaper's statehouse reporter.Chas has also covered communities, politics and business in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. Chas grew up in South Carolina and attended Columbia University in New York, where he studied economics and journalism. Outside of work, he's a dedicated distance runner, having completed a dozen marathons

Unemployment in Tennessee stands at record lows, but some advocates for the poor nonetheless worry about how plans to reinstate the work requirement for food stamps will play out.

Their fear is that, in many parts of Tennessee, the jobs just won't be there.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is cheering the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, while opponents of the measure are scrambling to derail it before the legislation can pass the U.S. Senate.

Haslam joined 14 other Republican governors Wednesday in signing a letter praising a plan to repeal the ACA's individual mandate, to do away with the requirement that individuals purchase insurance and to convert Medicaid to a system of so-called block grants to the states.

In an appearance in Chattanooga, Haslam called the proposal, known as Graham-Cassidy, a "home run for Tennessee" because the state will receive more money than it currently does for Medicaid.

The question of whether immigrants brought to the United States as children should qualify for in-state tuition has divided Tennessee Republicans in recent years.

But the five major GOP candidates for governor all see it the same way: They're against it.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker has his first Republican challenger next year — if he decides to seek re-election.

Conservative activist Andrew Ogles announced Thursday that he's running for the seat, which Corker has held since 2007. Others might not be far behind.

The two Democrats vying to be Tennessee's next governor made another pitch Tuesday to expand pre-K education.

That's even though recent research from Vanderbilt University has led some communities, including Nashville, to hit pause on expansion plans.

Gov. Bill Haslam urged Congress Thursday morning to adopt a short-term fix to health insurance markets while continuing to work on bringing down medical costs over the long haul, as he joined four other governors at a hearing before a Senate committee.

Appearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, Haslam said Congress has an obligation to pass legislation that would encourage insurers to keep selling plans on exchanges set up through the Affordable Care Act. If not, millions of Americans would lose coverage.

Limits on pain medication, more law enforcement officers and expanded use of a drug that blocks the brain's ability to get high are some of the recommendations a team of Tennessee lawmakers has come up with to combat opioid abuse after nine months studying the issue. But no one has figured out yet how much their solutions will cost, and it could be next year before there's a final price tag.

Tennesseans interested in becoming voters can now register online.

The Secretary of State's office says it has initiated a "soft launch" of the long-awaited system that could replace in-person and mail-in registration. Up until now, Tennesseans who move, have their registrations purged for inactivity, or have never been registered have had to contact their county election commissions directly or sign up in person through one of six state agencies.

Job security. Worker benefits. Service to taxpayers.

These are some issues state lawmakers have been weighing as they review how well outsourcing government functions has worked.

But there's a more mundane item that's also been surprisingly high on the list of legislators' concerns.

Soap.

Gov. Bill Haslam's administration is pulling the plug on one of its most high-profile outsourcing efforts.

After years of study and false starts, officials say they'll no longer try to turn the popular Inn at Fall Creek Falls over to a private operator. Instead, the Haslam administration plans to rebuild the hotel — part of a $100 million overhaul of state park facilities — and leave the Inn at Fall Creek Fall's fate to the next administration.

"It just felt like the appropriate thing to say, 'Let's get this built. Let's get it built the right way,' " Haslam told reporters Thursday. "And then we'll figure out who the right person to run it is."

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