The Tennessee General Assembly is in the last few weeks of one of the shortest legislative sessions in decades and lawmakers are scurrying to finish their business. In the rush to wrap up, legislators are killing off as many bills as they’re passing. The graveyard of dead bills includes several proposed laws dealing with education. One of those was a bill that would have strengthened the state’s “parent trigger” law and made it easier for dissatisfied parents to overhaul their children’s school administration.
Randy Boyd is a somewhat unlikely pick as a special advisor to Governor Bill Haslam on issues of higher education. Boyd is the CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, a pet company best known for their brand names Invisible Fence, Pet Safe, and Sport Dog.
“It seemed it was natural to go from animal welfare to higher education,” Boyd joked, “[but] there is one segue between animal welfare and dog products and this current educational initiative.”
Astawusegne Desalegne is a senior at Kingsbury High School with big dreams, “I would like to be the first generation in my family to go to college,” he said. “Make my dad proud.”
He already has a four-year college picked out—Middle Tennessee State University, or MTSU. Desalegne feels MTSU is more cloistered than other schools he has considered. “I like this picture of a circle and the buildings inside of it. There is nothing but the university. I feel like UT Knoxville is too spread out,” Desalegne said. “MTSU is one place only for MTSU.”
Frank and Jesse James hold a prominent place in the history of outlaws. One member of the James gang has a Memphis connection. Captain Kit Dalton, born in Logan County, Kentucky in 1848, ran away from home during the Civil War and joined Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry.
Struck by the destruction that he witnessed when he returned home on a furlough, Dalton organized a band of guerrillas to avenge what he believed to be Union atrocities. Soon it became impossible for Dalton and his gang to return home, so he linked his fortunes with the James gang, and the rest is history.
The Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act left Governor Bill Haslam with a big decision—expand Medicaid to include more low-income Tennesseans, or don’t. The governor is not exactly saying “yes” to expanding the state’s Medicaid program, known as TennCare. But he is not saying “no” either.
Haslam made his announcement last week to a joint assembly of the state Legislature, telling lawmakers he’s been working toward a “third option.”