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

The state Senate has approved a measure that would let guardians opt their children out of lessons on the LGBT community.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán / WPLN

Tennessee lawmakers are getting close to a final vote on a plan to do away with the state’s gun permit requirement.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN News

Tennessee lawmakers are discussing a measure that would take many lawsuits filed against the state away from Nashville judges.

Putnam County, Tennessee

Tennessee is lowering the threshold to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to age 70.

The state Department of Health estimates that the change means about 300,000 Tennesseans between 70 and 74 will now be eligible to get inoculated.

The age group is about 70% more likely to die and 40% more likely to be hospitalized than those aged 65 to 69. Dr. Lisa Piercey, the state’s health chief, says those data points led to changing the state’s distribution plan, which originally would have made all people 65 and up eligible this month.

Rachel Iacovone / WPLN News

Twenty-eight people were arrested last night in Nashville after a peaceful rally turned chaotic. Protestors set fires in the Metro Courthouse, broke windows, graffitied buildings and vandalized business along Lower Broadway.

Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada said on Tuesday he plans to step down from his position. 

Casada's decision comes hours after the House Republican Caucus cast an unprecedented 45-24 no-confidence vote in Casada, after racist and lewd text messages between him and his former chief of staff were leaked to the media. 

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.

Billy Ray Irick was pronounced dead Thursday night, 20 minutes after receiving a three-drug cocktail. Witnesses say there were no obvious signs that Irick suffered pain before dying.

Irick's execution was the state of Tennessee's first in nearly a decade.

Former Governor Phil Bredesen and Congressman Marsha Blackburn easily captured their parties' nominations for Senate today, as expected.

In early voting returns, Bredesen led the field for the Democratic nomination at 94 percent. Blackburn was up on a sole Republican challenger with 84 percent of the vote.

And even before the polls closed, they already started positioning themselves for the general election. It could be one of the most-watched races in the nation.

Mayor David Briley, who was sworn in last night to succeed Megan Barry, has not yet said whether he'll try to hold onto the office.

But with a short sprint scheduled to the August special election, there aren't many people who could mount a challenge.

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