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

Tennessee officials are expected to take the first step toward removing the bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest from inside the Capitol.

Gov. Bill Lee says he will convene the State Capitol Commission to meet and vote next week.

Tennessee law gives the commission the first say on the bust, but even if it supports removal, there’s no guarantee it would move. It would set up a much lengthier review by the Tennessee Historical Commission — deliberations that Lee says he support.

“This process is the opposite of the mob rule that unfortunately has been dominating the national headlines around historical displays,” he says. “I have confidence that our process here in Tennessee, with the capitol commission, will be fair and representative of Tennesseans.”

Rachel Iacovone | WPLN News

Twenty-eight people were arrested Saturday night in Nashville, and another man was taken into custody on suspected arson Sunday evening, after a peaceful rally turned chaotic. Protestors set fires in the Metro Courthouse, broke windows, graffitied buildings and vandalized business along Lower Broadway.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper declared a state of emergency and imposed an 8 p.m. curfew Sunday night. The curfew will be in effect until 6 a.m. Monday.

Blake Farmer | WPLN

About 337,000 Tennesseans have so far cast their ballots for this year’s presidential primaries, a dip from 2016 when both parties had competitive races.

But it’s a marked increase from early voting in 2012, the last cycle that featured an incumbent president.

According to data from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office, the early voting period that wrapped up this week saw nearly as many Republicans as Democrats casting ballots — even though President Donald Trump faces no serious competition.

Chas Sisk | WPLN

State officials say a group of embattled charter schools in Antioch should remain open — at least for now.

Knowledge Academies, which runs two middle schools and a high school, is appealing an order from Metro Nashville Public Schools to shut down by the end of the year. Local officials cite claims of fraud and poor academic performance.

 

But staffers at the state level say there's not enough evidence to shut it down, so they're instead recommending probation.

Sharyn Morrow/Flickr

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.

The proposed legal settlement includes about $22 billion in cash and nearly $29 billion in opioid addiction treatment, including suboxone provided free of charge. And the deal would set new rules for drug companies, says Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, such as having to set up compliance departments that look for red flags, like suspiciously large purchases.

 

  

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.

Chas Sisk-WPLN

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. 

"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.

STEPHEN JERKINS / WPLN

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.

But in his final days, Haslam told WPLN senior editor Chas Sisk he wants Tennesseans to remember him for one main idea: his pragmatism.


Meribah Knight / WPLN

Williamson County businessman Bill Lee was the surprise winner of the Republican primary for governor Thursday night.

The Christian conservative and owner of the Lee Co. beat out former Economic Development Commissioner Randy Boyd, Congressman Diane Black and House Speaker Beth Harwell.

According to the uncertified election results at the end of the night, Lee won with 36.8 percent of the vote. Boyd took second with 24.3 percent — nearly 100,000 votes behind him. Black came in right behind him at 23 percent. And Harwell took a distant fourth at 15.3 percent.

Melody Cashion rattles off the list of drugs she once needed just to function.

Lyrica, Gabapentin, methadone, oxycodone, valium.

There were more. But those were the every day ones.

In an election year filled with anti-Muslim vitriol, some mosques are urging their worshipers to vote in an attempt to make their voices heard. To do so, they're borrowing a strategy used by African-American churches and organizing "souls to the polls" campaigns.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

When companies uproot, executives usually point to factors like lower government taxes or fewer unions.

But one gun maker, Beretta, blames something entirely different — a law passed in Maryland to try to curb mass shootings.

The company recently moved its factory to Nashville, Tenn., because it says the law in Maryland threatened its business. The opening day was celebrated with shooting demonstrations and a warm welcome from state officials.

While a majority of the nation's governors have asked the Obama administration to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their state, a prominent Tennessee lawmaker has gone a step further: He's suggested the National Guard round up recently arrived refugees and prevent the arrival of additional refugees.

"If I err, it will be on the side of not having another Paris, France," said state Rep. Glen Casada, the chairman of the House Republican Caucus in the state Legislature. "When we let them in, we are letting terrorists in."