© 2024 WKNO FM
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

TN Politics: Lumps of Coal or Political Presents?

Tennessee residents — especially those in urban areas — are frequently at odds with the state's rural conservative lawmakers. This week, political analyst Otis Sanford weighs in on some upcoming issues that may look like gifts to some, but lumps of coal to others.

First, Tennessee is among a handful of states that does not permit medical marijuana. Sanford says we should expect no progress on this because the make up of the General Assembly is far more conservative on this issue than most of the state's voters.

While the state's supreme court is not known for progressive rulings, it recently found that mandatory minimum life sentences for juveniles without parole was cruel and unusual punishment. More than 100 prisoners statewide can now be eligible for parole after 25 years.

Toll roads, or toll lanes, may be common in other states, but Tennessee has yet to offer the convenience of a fast lane for those who want to pay extra. That could change out of necessity as the state government looks to raise potentially billions of dollars for maintenance on the state's roadways.

Finally, a state-imposed turnover of Memphis Shelby County Schools to local municipal districts is starting to look like the raw deal it was always intended to be. Germantown's offer for Germantown High School — $5 million — is far lower than it will cost the taxpayers of Shelby County to build a brand new school (up to $125 million) to relocate the students that would eventually be drummed out of the Germantown Municipal school district. Sanford says it's time the courts take a look at this.

Reporting from the gates of Graceland to the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Christopher has covered Memphis news, arts, culture and politics for more than 20 years in print and on the radio. He is currently WKNO's News Director and Senior Producer at the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting. Join his conversations about the Memphis arts scene on the WKNO Culture Desk Facebook page.