AP Exclusive: State voucher violations leave details unknown
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A review by The Associated Press has found that some Tennessee parents were accused of misspending thousands of dollars in school voucher funds while using state-issued debit cards over the past school year. State officials say they do not know what many of those purchases were for. The AP reviewed nearly 50 letters sent between May 2018 and September 2019 to voucher recipients alerting them of improper purchases placed on the state debit cards. Just under half of those letters listed “unknown” when citing the improper purchase. The voucher program has been available to some families of students with certain disabilities since 2017.
Tennessee Supreme Court schedules 2 more execution dates
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has scheduled dates to execute two more death row inmates but still hasn't ruled on the attorney general's requests to set seven other executions. An order Wednesday says Oscar Franklin Smith is scheduled to be put to death on June 4 and Harold Wayne Nichols is to be executed on Aug. 4. The country as a whole has been moving away from putting inmates to death, but Tennessee was second only to Texas in the number of executions it carried out in 2019. Tennessee resumed executions in 2018, and four of the six prisoners put to death since have chosen the electric chair.
Tennessee governor says he will sign anti-LGBT adoption bill
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has announced that he'll sign into law a measure that would assure continued taxpayer funding of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies even if they exclude LGBT families and others based on religious beliefs. The bill was the first to pass on the opening day of the 2020 legislative session. The GOP-controlled Senate approved the measure on Tuesday despite pleas from Democrats and Republicans about the negative consequences the bill could have on Tennessee's reputation. Nationally, supporters argue that such measures are needed to protect against potential lawsuits hostile to the group’s religious beliefs.
Lockdown ends at air base; resulted from 'misunderstanding'
ALCOA, Tenn (AP) — Officials say a lockdown has ended at Tennessee's McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base and everyone was safe after a report of a suspicious person who appeared to be armed turned out to be a misunderstanding. A base spokesman says a student reported seeing a suspicious person who appeared to be armed Wednesday morning. After law enforcement searched the base and re-interviewed the student, the spokesman says they now think the student “didn't see what they thought they saw.” No shots were fired and no one was injured. The airbase in Alcoa, a suburb of Knoxville, Tennessee, is home to the 134th Air Refueling Wing.
Man charged in incident that prompted bomb squad response
Police in Tennessee have arrested a homeless man following an incident that prompted a bomb squad response and briefly shut down a parking garage outside a hospital in Nashville. News outlets cited police in reporting that 60-year-old David Charles Hartgrove was charged Tuesday with attempted arson and aggravated trespassing. A Vanderbilt University Police Department affidavit said officers responded to the scene after someone reported seeing a copper wire in the a gas tank of a vehicle, with the other end of the wire plugged in to an electrical outlet. It's not immediately clear whether Hartgrove has an attorney.
Woman, dog found dead inside Memphis home after fire