Monthly Archives: July 2023

No temporary injunction for law changing Nashville’s airport board

(Image credit: Nashville International Airport)

A three-judge panel on Monday denied a motion for a temporary restraining order against a new law changing the board membership of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority.

The new new law signed into law on May 19 have the governors and the speakers of the House and Senate two appointment each, while leaving two to the Nashville mayor. Previously the mayor named all the members of the board. The judges agreed with the state that the city failed to act with “reasonable promptness” by waiting more than three weeks to file the lawsuit. Had the case been filed earlier, the judges said they could have considered injunctive relief before the new board members were seated.

But the case is far for from over.

“The Court cautions the parties as well as the public that nothing in this order should be construed as indicative of our view of the merits of Metro’s constitutional claims,” according to the order by Chancellor Anne Martin of Nashville, Circuit Judge Mark Hayes of Dyersburg, and Criminal Court Judge Zach Walden of Jacksboro.

New TNJ edition alert: Motions to dismiss in Phoenix Solutions case, Kelsey sentencing draw near

Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) appears before the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance on March 3, 2022. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Defendants: Deception about Phoenix Solutions wasn’t a crime.

— From the campaign trail: Nashville to decide mayor’s race next week, field set in Memphis.

— Kelsey chronicles: Prosecutors seek longer sentence after Kelsey’s bid to renege on plea.

Also: Jonathan Skrmetti says he’s not targeting women seeking abortions out of state, Todd Gardenhire calls suburban gun protesters ‘hypocritical,’ Jim Strickland and Steve Mulroy get into war of words, and Cade Cothren says the state and the General Assembly are not the same.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

Justice Department launches investigation into Memphis police

The U.S. Department of Justice announced it is launching an investigation into the Memphis Police Department’s use of force in traffic stops. The probe follows the death of motorist Tyre Nichols that led to the firing of seven police officers.

Here’s the full release from DOJ:

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a civil pattern or practice investigation into the City of Memphis and the Memphis Police Department (MPD). The investigation will seek to determine whether there are systemic violations of the Constitution or federal law by MPD.

The investigation will focus on MPD’s use of force and its stops, searches and arrests, as well as whether it engages in discriminatory policing.

This civil investigation is separate and independent from the technical assistance being provided by the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). While the investigation is ongoing, the COPS Office will continue to provide technical assistance to MPD through the Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC), related to MPD’s use of force and de-escalation practices, as well as its use of specialized units. In addition, in the wake of Tyre Nichols’s death, the Associate Attorney General asked the COPS Office to develop a guide for police chiefs and mayors across the country to help them assess the appropriateness of the use of specialized units, like the former SCORPION unit in Memphis, as well as how to ensure necessary management, oversight, and accountability of such units. The COPS Office has undertaken extensive stakeholder engagement to inform the recommendations in that guide, which is forthcoming.

This civil investigation is also separate and independent from the federal criminal civil rights investigation of MPD officers related to the death of Tyre Nichols.

“The tragic death of Tyre Nichols created enormous pain in the Memphis community and across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department is launching this investigation to examine serious allegations that the City of Memphis and the Memphis Police Department engage in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct and discriminatory policing based on race, including a dangerously aggressive approach to traffic enforcement. We are committed to working cooperatively with local officials, police, and community members to conduct the thorough and comprehensive review that the residents of Memphis deserve.”

“I know this community is still hurting after the tragic death of Tyre Nichols,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “At the Justice Department, we are committed to using all our tools to help ensure that Memphis residents have a safe community and can trust in the actions of law enforcement. In addition to our pattern or practice investigation, we will continue to deliver technical assistance resources through CRI-TAC and our COPS Office, to help the city and MPD address issues related to use of force, de-escalation, and specialized units in the more immediate term.”

“Every person is entitled to constitutional and non-discriminatory policing in our country,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Based on an extensive review of publicly available information and information provided to us, there are grounds to open this investigation now. We have reviewed information that indicates that the Memphis Police Department may be using an approach to street enforcement that can result in violations of federal law, including racially discriminatory stops of Black people for minor violations. The Justice Department will conduct a thorough and objective investigation into allegations of unlawful discrimination and Fourth Amendment violations. Unlawful policing undermines community trust, which is essential to public safety.”

“The people of this great city deserve constitutional and lawful policing – and that begins with trust,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee. “Community trust makes policing more effective and less dangerous for both officers and the people they protect. Pattern-or-practice investigations help build and maintain that trust by ensuring law enforcement agencies do their jobs lawfully. I welcome this opportunity to let the facts lead in what will be an ongoing and important discussion about civil rights in our city. I also want to assure the public that our team of federal prosecutors will continue to partner with federal, state, and local law enforcement to vigorously prosecute criminal activity and uphold the rule of law. Together we can build a stronger Memphis — a Memphis that protects the safety and civil rights of all.”

The investigation is being conducted pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which prohibits state and local governments from engaging in a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers that deprives people of rights protected by the Constitution or federal law. If the Justice Department has reasonable cause to believe that a state or local government has engaged in a prohibited pattern or practice, the Department is authorized to bring a lawsuit seeking court-ordered changes to remedy the violations. In this investigation, the Department will assess law enforcement practices under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as under the Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Prior to the announcement, Department officials informed Mayor Jim Strickland, MPD Chief Cerelyn Davis, and Interim Chief Legal Officer Michael Fletcher. They pledged to cooperate with the investigation. As part of this investigation, the Department will reach out to community members to learn about their experiences with MPD.

The case is being investigated by career attorneys and staff from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee. They will be assisted by experienced law enforcement experts. Individuals with relevant information are encouraged to contact the Justice Department via email at or by phone at 888-473-3730. Individuals can also report civil rights violations regarding this or other matters using the Civil Rights Division’s reporting portal, available at

Today’s announcement marks the ninth pattern or practice investigation into law enforcement misconduct opened by the Justice Department during this Administration. The Department has ongoing investigations into the Phoenix Police Department; the Mount Vernon (NY) Police Department; the Louisiana State Police; the New York City Police Department’s Special Victims Division; the Worcester (MA) Police Department; and the Oklahoma City Police Department. The Department recently completed investigations in Louisville and Minneapolis, and secured agreements in principle with both jurisdictions to negotiate consent decrees to address the violations found.

Information specific to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reform Work can be found here:

Teachers association sues to block ‘prohibited concepts’ law

The Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest teachers association, is suing in federal court to block the “prohibited concept” law of 2021.

Here’s the release from the TEA:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Education Association and five Tennessee public school educators have filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Commissioner of Education and members of the State Board of Education challenging the constitutionality of Public Chapter No. 493, known as the prohibited concepts law. The law prohibits teaching of core subjects in Tennessee State Standards, which puts teachers in an impossible position and deprives students of a quality education.

“There is no group of individuals more passionate and committed to ensuring Tennessee students receive a high-quality education than public school educators,” said Knox County Educator and Tennessee Education Association President Tanya T. Coats. “This law interferes with Tennessee teachers’ job to provide a fact-based, well-rounded education to their students.”

The lawsuit calls into question the unconstitutionally vague language of the law and the subjective nature of its enforcement. The law interferes with instruction on difficult but important topics included in the Tennessee State Standards, which were developed and approved by Tennesseans.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims the law fails to provide Tennessee educators a reasonable opportunity to understand what conduct it prohibits; it encourages arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement; and, as a result, it is unconstitutionally vague in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

“Laws need to be clear. The prohibited concepts law conflicts with the state’s own academic standards and curriculum, which creates unfair risks to Tennessee teachers using state approved materials, following state standards, and providing fact-based instruction,” Coats said. “Educators have already spent countless hours trying to understand and navigate the law’s unclear requirements.”

The lawsuit asks the court to issue a permanent injunction against enforcement of the prohibited concepts law and declare the law unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment.

“Tennessee students will fall behind their peers in other states if this law stays on the books. We are already seeing school leaders make changes to instruction and school activities due to the risk of losing state funding, facing unfair repercussions or threats to their professional standing. TEA is committed to fighting for public school educators’ right to do their job and Tennessee children’s right to a fact-based, well-rounded public education,” Coats said.

Sales tax holiday is upon us this weekend

The annual sales tax holiday on computers and back-to-school supplies is happening this weekend. Here’s a release from Gov. Bill Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee invited Tennesseans to take advantage of back-to-school savings during this weekend’s July 28-30 traditional sales tax holiday.

“Tennessee’s commitment to strong fiscal stewardship has allowed our state to cut taxes and put dollars back in the pockets of hardworking Tennesseans,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “I encourage every Tennessee family to take advantage of back-to-school savings this weekend and thank the General Assembly for partnering to provide direct financial relief for taxpayers.”

This year, the traditional sales tax holiday will suspend state and local sales tax from Friday, July 28 through Sunday, July 30, giving Tennesseans the opportunity to save up to 9.75 percent on back-to-school items, including clothing, school supplies and computers. Tennessee families can learn more here.

“I’m pleased to partner with the Governor and General Assembly to deliver back-to-school savings for every Tennessee family,” said Department of Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano. “The Department of Revenue remains committed to responsibly managing the state’s dollars to give Tennessee taxpayers continued savings.”

The traditional sales tax holiday comes in addition to Gov. Lee’s Tennessee Works Tax Act, the largest tax cut in Tennessee history, which includes a three-month grocery tax suspension this August 1 through October 31.

New TNJ print edition alert: Fundraising bonanza for the Justins, U.S. Senate race moves, Statesmen’s Dinner

U.S. Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-Nashville) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) address the Statesmen’s Dinner via a recorded video. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Massive fundraising hauls for lawmakers ousted over gun protest.

— Nashville attorney out, Bradshaw to make another bid for U.S. Senate.

— As he awaits sentencing, Kelsey moves $200K to PAC that first drew media scrutiny.

— Updates from the state GOP’s Statesmen’s Dinner.

Also: Noted expert on legislative sneakiness quoted in court, dueling airport boards, Memphis utility chief tells powerless customers not to lose hope, and the AG’s office says state law trumps NCAA rules.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

Lee wraps up tour touting new roads plan

(Image credit: State of Tennessee)

Gov. Bill Lee has wrapped his statewide tour to tout the new $3.3 billion Transportation Modernization Act. The governor says the new law will accelerate construction and alleviate congestion.

Here’s the release from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This week, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee concluded his statewide “Build with Us Tour”, which celebrated the landmark Transportation Modernization Act and highlighted seven key infrastructure priorities across rural and urban Tennessee.

“As Tennessee continues to lead the nation with record growth, the Transportation Modernization Act will prepare our state for long term economic success and expand opportunity in rural and urban communities, all without new taxes or debt,” said Gov. Lee. “I’m grateful to members of the General Assembly for their partnership in making these historic transportation investments, and I want to thank Commissioner Eley and the entire team at TDOT for their hard work to make life better for Tennesseans in every corner of the state.”

Gov. Lee kicked off the “Build With Us” Tour on June 1 in Fentress County, traveling across each Grand Division throughout June and July. Tour stops included:

— Fentress County: Cumberland/Fentress SR-28
— Shelby County: I-55/Crump Interchange
— Madison County: I-40 Widening (US-412/SR-20 to SR-186/US-45)
— Davidson County: I-40/Donelson Pike Interchange
— Washington County: SR-34/Precision Blvd (Washington County Industrial Park)
— Knox County: Alcoa Highway Corridor
— Hamilton County: Apison Pike (I-75/East Brainerd Road)

Gov. Lee introduced the Transportation Modernization Act this year and signed it into law on April 17, following successful bipartisan passage in the Tennessee General Assembly. The plan creates a new transportation strategy and will invest an additional $3.3 billion to accommodate Tennessee’s record growth, address traffic congestion and meet transportation needs across rural and urban communities.

The strategy will give the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) the resources needed to solve the state’s current and future mobility challenges, including seeking the use of public-private partnerships to preserve state funds for rural infrastructure priorities, exploring Choice Lanes to decrease congestion and increase economic impact statewide, and expanding the alternative delivery model to save taxpayer dollars and deliver road projects more efficiently.

“The Transportation Modernization Act will address critical infrastructure needs across rural and urban Tennessee, preparing our state for the future,” said Deputy Governor and TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley. “I commend the Governor and General Assembly for their leadership to prepare our state for continued economic growth and prosperity.”

Almanac of American Politics profiles Gov. Bill Lee

Our friends at the Almanac of American Politics are bringing out their latest reference book, a 2,200-page compendium that includes chapters about Gov. Bill Lee and the political landscape in Tennessee.

Senior author Louis Jacobson wrote the volume’s 100 state and gubernatorial profiles, and we have been given the green light to publish the Volunteer State material on the TNJ: On the Hill blog. We also have been given the discount code of TNJournal15 for anyone interested in getting 15% off the print version here.

Here is the Almanac’s profile of the governor (we ran the chapter about Tennessee last week):

Businessman Bill Lee easily won the governorship of Tennessee in 2018, becoming the first Tennessee Republican to succeed a Republican governor since 1869. After pursuing a conservative agenda, Lee was reelected by an even wider margin in 2022.

Lee, a seventh-generation Tennessean from Williamson County south of Nashville, earned a mechanical engineering degree at Auburn University, then returned home to join the Lee Co., a business founded by his grandfather in 1944 that specializes in HVAC, electrical work, and plumbing. Starting in 1992, Lee served as president and CEO; by the time of his gubernatorial run, the company was employing 1,200 people and earning annual revenue of more than $220 million. The company collected $13.8 million from state contracts between 2012 and 2018, but it stopped signing new state contracts during his campaign, and Lee put his holdings into a blind trust. Separately, Lee helped operate the Triple L Ranch, a 1,000-acre farm founded by his grandparents with 300 head of Hereford cattle. Carol Ann, Lee’s wife and the mother of their four children, died in a horse-riding accident in 2000. Lee eventually became close to a third-grade teacher of one of his children, and in 2008, they married. Bill and Maria Lee attend a conservative, charismatic church, and Lee serves as a board member of the Men of Valor prison ministry.

Lee was one of several Republicans to enter the race to succeed two-term Gov. Bill Haslam. A major business figure in the state and a former mayor of Knoxville, Haslam fit with the East Tennessee tradition of pragmatic Republicanism, often sparring with the more conservative members of his own party. In addition to Lee, the Republican primary field included Rep. Diane Black, state House Speaker Beth Harwell and Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd. Black came into the race as something of a frontrunner, while Boyd, who spent $21 million on his candidacy, began the race following Haslam’s more pragmatic approach before veering in response to demands from GOP primary voters. As Boyd and Black beat up on each other, Lee framed himself as an outsider, campaigning from an RV and a tractor and refraining from negativity. He finished first with 37 percent, followed by Boyd at 24 percent, Black at 23 percent, and Harwell at 15 percent. In November, he faced former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Dean proved unable to woo large numbers of Republican moderates, and Lee won, 60%-39%.

His win shattered a longstanding pattern in Tennessee: Since the 1960s, partisan control of the governor’s office had changed with every new governor. This electoral habit finally came to an end as Tennessee became one of the most Republican states in the union.

After taking office, Lee signed executive orders to increase ethics and transparency within state government. Over several months, he grappled with a running controversy over memorializing the state’s Confederate history. Lee attracted national attention when he signed a proclamation declaring July 13 as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, honoring the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader. Lee said he had no choice but to sign it, given longstanding state law. (Complicating matters, USA Today had earlier discovered a 1980 photograph from Lee’s Auburn days in which he had posed in a Confederate uniform.) In 2020, after racial justice protests flared nationally, Lee signed a law that eliminated the requirement that the governor denote the commemoration, though the law disappointed critics who noted that the measure did not eliminate Nathan Bedford Forrest Day altogether. Meanwhile, the State Capitol Commission approved removal of Forrest’s bust from the capitol, reversing the panel’s vote in 2017 to keep the bust where it was.

In 2020, Lee, like other Republican governors in red states, began opening Tennessee’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic relatively early and resisted calls for a statewide mask mandate, though he did allow local officials some latitude in imposing stricter rules. Even beyond the coronavirus, 2020 was a challenging year for the state, with a cluster of large tornadoes hitting Nashville and a Christmas Day bombing in the city’s downtown. Lee took heat from some in his own party for continuing to accept refugees, but he did please conservatives by signing several bills in 2020.

One protected adoption and foster care agencies with religious objections to same-sex adoptive parents; another banned abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat unless the mother’s life was in danger. Lee outraged liberals by signing a bill targeting protesters who camped out on state property; the measure upped potential charges to felonies, meaning defendants could be stripped of their voting rights if they were convicted.

During the two years leading up to his reelection, Lee signed a number of bills urged by social conservatives. One required that transgender students compete in sports according to their sex at birth; another opened public schools and districts to the risk of lawsuits if they let transgender students use locker rooms or restrooms that didn’t align with their birth sex; a third banned “critical race theory” in schools. He also signed a measure that allowed most adults to carry a handgun without a permit (though not a long gun, to the disappointment of pro-gun activists).

On the eve of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Lee signed a bill stiffening penalties for the distribution of abortion medication by telehealth or through the mail, and when Roe was overturned, an abortion ban he had signed in 2019 went into effect, without exceptions for rape and incest. Lee sought and ultimately enacted an overhaul of K-12 education funding, adding $1 billion to the pot but changing the formula for distributing it. He notched a win at the state supreme court in 2022 when the justices narrowly upheld a school voucher program targeted to families in Davidson County (Nashville) and Shelby County (Memphis). When faced with a “truth in sentencing” bill that required people convicted of the most serious crimes to serve 100 percent of their sentences and others to serve 85 percent of their sentences, Lee refused to sign it but allowed it to become law without his signature; he argued that it would not reduce crime and would cause prison overcrowding and higher costs to taxpayers. In one of his few actions that aligned with liberals, Lee paused executions to allow for an independent review of the state’s process for lethal injections that focused on whether the drugs might cause undue pain and suffering.

Lee had little to worry about in his reelection bid. He easily defeated the Democratic nominee, physician Jason Martin, 65%-33%; Lee’s winning margin was 11 points wider than his 2018 victory, as well as an improvement on the margin by which President Donald Trump won the state in 2020. Lee fared better compared to 2018 in most of the state’s big counties, enlarging his winning margin by 5 points in Knox County (Knoxville) and 8 points in Hamilton County (Chattanooga) and cutting his deficit in Shelby County (Memphis) by 12 points. Lee’s losing margin in Davidson County (Nashville) remained roughly the same. In 2023, Lee signed an anti-drag-show bill. When critics brought up a school yearbook picture in which he had dressed in drag, he called the comparison “ridiculous.”

After a mass shooting at a Nashville school in April 2023, Lee issued an executive order seeking to bolster the state’s gun background checks and also proposed a stronger “red flag” law that would allow courts to remove weapons from persons deemed a risk for gun violence.

Quotes of the late Roy Herron from the TNJ archives

This week’s print edition of The Tennessee Journal includes an obituary of Roy Herron, the former longtime state lawmaker who died in a boating accident at age 69. Here are some quotes of the Dresden Democrat that appeared in the pagers of the TNJ over the years:

— “I’m a truck-driving, shotgun-shooting, Bible-reading, crime-fighting, family-loving country boy.” — Herron in an ad for his unsuccessful Democratic bid for Congress in 2010.

— “The gospel singer didn’t tell the gospel truth.” — Herron in 2011 about a Federal Election Commission finding that winning Republican congressional candidate Steve Fincher had misrepresented the source of a $250,000 loan during the campaign. But the FEC deadlocked on how to punish Fincher, so the matter was dismissed.

— “To put it simply, the scripture teaches us that the church is to be the bride of Christ, not the prostitute of any political party.” — Herron in 2006 about a new website launched for Cristian Democrats that he said would help dispel the notion that “God is spelled G-O-P.”

— “You’re all in the same kettle, but some of the fish don’t smell as bad as some others.” — Herron questioning the District Attorneys General Conference in 1992 about some local prosecutors struggling to stay within their budgets.

— “If they want nuclear waste in West Tennessee, they will have to dump it over my dead body.” — Herron in 2010 about a proposal to convert the Milan Army Ammunition Plant to a storage facility for depleted uranium.

— “I voted for the president. I announced I was for the president. I told anybody who asked me that I was for the president. I support the president, I support what he’s trying to do for the country, and I support the United States of America.” — Herron, when challenged upon his election as Tennessee Democratic Party chair in 2013, about whether he supported President Barack Obama.

— “Help me get the cookies on a low enough shelf so I can eat them.” — Herron to the state Medicaid director Manny Martins in 1992 about intricacies of the latest funding proposal.

— “I’m reluctant to encourage people to break each other’s noses, especially at this point in the legislative session.” — Herron about a 1992 bill covering simple assault.

— “I would say to my friends who are not attorneys that The Tennessee Journal wrote of this bill, ‘Lawyers hate the bill.’ And I would encourage those of you who would like to vote against lawyers to vote for this bill on that basis.” — Herron during a 1996 House floor debate about his bill seeking to crack down on “ambulance chasing.”

— “By the grace of God, I dodged a bullet. . . . I am especially grateful that I am not one of the 320,000 Tennesseans who, because of the indifference of the Tea Party-dominated legislature, do not have access to health insurance.” — Herron after undoing a stent procedure for a blocked artery in 2014.

— “When someone vigorously pursues the truth and really examines the problems, that’s going to naturally create some opposition from those responsible for administering the programs you are overseeing.” — Herron on losing the chairmanship of the TennCare Oversight Committee in 2001.

— “He can preach, and he did today.” — Herron about President Bill Clinton’s speech at a burned-out church he helped rebuild in Gibson County in 1996.

— “When I think the bill has enough votes to pass without my vote, I vote against it. The thought in my mind is, ‘If my vote isn’t necessary, then there’s no reason to give any opponent a campaign issue to distort against me next time.’ So, today I vote wrong.” — An excerpt of Herron’s diary from his first term in office about a vote on sex education bill published in Southern Magazine in 1988.

— “If the state’s the mama, BlueCross is the daddy.” — Herron in 2000 about the role played by BlueCross BlueShield in the creation and development of the TennCare program.

— “Thanks to that helmet, there’s not anything wrong with my head after the wreck that was not already wrong with it before.” — Herron crediting a bicycle helmet with saving his life in a 2011 bike crash Sunday in Obion County, where he was training for an upcoming triathlon. Herron sustained a broken collar bone and multiple broken ribs.

New TNJ edition alert: GOP wins latest skirmish is court fights over new laws, a retrospective on Roy Herron’s political career

Former state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden consults with his wife, Nancy, during a meeting of the executive committee of the state Democratic Party in the House chamber at the state Capitol on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— GOP wins latest skirmish in multi-front legal battle over new laws

— Kelsey makes last-minute swap in legal teams, mulls litigation against former lawyers.

— Early voting underway for Nashville mayor, special state House races.

— Obituary: Roy Herron had front-row seat for Democrats’ decline in Tennessee.

Also: UT Martin gets its first black chancellor, team Cothren gets $75,000 in burger chain dispute, and Herbert Slatery is back at the AG’s office.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.


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