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

Chas Sisk / WPLN News

 

Tennessee must temporarily lift its requirement that voters give a reason to vote absentee, a Nashville judge has ruled, saying that the coronavirus pandemic should not force people to choose between exercising their rights and safeguarding their health.

Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle says the state’s insistence on enforcing the excuse requirement is unconstitutional in light of the pandemic. On Thursday, she issued a temporary injunction barring state election officials from enforcing the requirement, opening the door for any voter to apply for an absentee ballot.

Davidson County Chancery Court via YouTube

 

A Nashville judge is telling the state Department of Education to put its voucher program on pause while its legal status is being sorted out.

Chancellor Anne Martin ruled Thursday afternoon that education officials cannot move ahead with plans to start awarding vouchers for private school tuition later this month. She also chastised the Department of Education for not warning parents the program is in jeopardy.

Tennessee's top lawyer and his counterparts in three other states announced Monday that they've negotiated a deal with the opioid industry worth nearly $50 billion, a pact that they hope will change the behavior of opioid makers and distributors.

Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, a Republican, said on Tuesday he plans to step down from his position after lewd and racist text messages between him and his former chief of staff were leaked to the media.

Casada's decision comes hours after the House Republican Caucus cast an unprecedented 45-24 no-confidence vote for the speaker.

"When I return to town on June 3, I will meet with caucus leadership to determine the best date for me to resign as speaker," Casada said Tuesday.

A West Tennessee man is scheduled to be executed on Thursday for the murder of his wife — possibly becoming the first person to be executed under Gov. Bill Lee.

The Republican has not said yet whether he'll grant clemency to Donnie Johnson, who was sentenced to death for the 1984 murder of his wife, Connie.

Here's a question that's rarely come up before:

Could the speaker of the Tennessee House be fired?

The current holder of that position, Glen Casada, says he plans to remain. That's despite calls from Democrats — and some fellow Republicans — to step down amid a scandal involving racist and sexist text messages. But there's little they could do to force Casada to give up the speakership.

House Speaker Glen Casada issued a written apology Wednesday for a series of racist and sexist texts between him and a top aide and put out an "action plan" meant to restore trust in his office — all in an effort to head off a serious challenge to his leadership.

Black lawmakers in the state legislature are calling for an independent investigation into text messages sent by House Speaker Glen Casada and his now former chief of staff, as well as a claim the aide may have falsified evidence used against a political opponent.

A top aide in the Tennessee House resigned Monday evening after a tumultous series of revelations and accusations against him.

Some of the accusations could also implicate his boss, House Speaker Glen Casada.

Gov. Bill Haslam wraps up eight years in office at the end of this week. His tenure has been marked by some nationally recognized successes — like boosting college enrollment — and one big defeat: the failure of his Medicaid expansion plan, Insure Tennessee.

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