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VOL. 43 | NO. 12 | Friday, March 22, 2019

Betting our schools on Lee’s voucher plan

Education savings accounts offer choice, little evidence of improving outcomes

State lawmakers who want school vouchers in Tennessee have watched their plans go up in flames for years after clashing with public school advocates in both urban and rural districts. But Gov. Bill Lee has brought new life to the idea by pushing for a voucher-like program known as education savings accounts.

Voucher promoters employ old model for new effort

Parents and teachers will join Tennessee lawmakers this spring in trying to determine what Gov. Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account proposal, a school-choice option that is similar to school vouchers, would mean to them.

Public funds for religious schools? There is a precedent

How could it be constitutional to use state tax dollars to send a child to a private religious school?

JOE ROGERS: MY TAKE

Griffey ignores constitution with Trump shout out

This week’s topic requires that I temporarily forsake my goal of making this a Trump-free zone. For that I blame Rep. Bruce Griffey.

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EVENTS

Music at the Frist. Tim Gartland is a singer-songwriter and master harmonica player committed to honoring the rich tradition of blues while moving the genre forward. Frist Art Museum Cafe, 919 Broadway. 6 p.m. Information

more events »

TIM GHIANNI: STREET LEVEL

Boy with a gun is now man with a plan to help at-risk teens

The guy who long ago buried “Trigga” – his gun-slinging street name – is running a few minutes late because he’s straightening out a work-site problem concerning one of his employees.

RICHARD COURTNEY: REALTY CHECK

Let the seller beware when the buyer’s house hasn’t sold

Sellers in a frantic real estate market are not likely to accept an offer contingent on the sale of the buyer’s current residence.

REAL ESTATE

Top Middle Tennessee commercial sales for February 2019

Top commercial real estate sales, February 2019, for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

US average mortgage rates fall; 30-year at 4.28 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, giving an incentive to potential buyers as the spring homebuying season opens.

PREDATORS

Granlund finding his footing with Predators

Zach Parise didn’t hesitate when asked what he will miss most about his former linemate, Mikael Granlund.

NEWSMAKERS

GSRM Law welcomes Bashinsky as associate

The law firm of Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin PLLC has hired Lisa Bashinsky as an associate attorney. Bashinsky will practice in the firm’s Business and Corporate section, with a focus on providing legal representation to businesses, entrepreneurs, individuals and professionals with their business transactions and commercial needs.

BRIEFS

Latest US News rankings boost VU grad programs

Vanderbilt University’s schools of nursing, education and medicine have moved up on U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 graduate school rankings.

BEHIND THE WHEEL

Are prepaid car maintenance plans worth it?

Prepaid car maintenance plans are one of the most common items a dealership finance and insurance manager will offer you when you buy a new car.

PERSONAL FINANCE

How to give money advice to someone not seeking help

Unsolicited money advice is like stale fruitcake: Most people wish the givers would just keep it to themselves.

CAREER CORNER

Something odd about that job offer? Wait for another

The premise of my column, which comes from one of my career mentors, might sound a bit confusing.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Tennessee House advances gym tax repeal bill

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers aren't breaking a sweat over a proposal designed to repeal a $10 million amusement tax on gym memberships.

Bill to provide more scrutiny on public records exemptions

NASHVILLE (AP) — Proposals seeking to create more exemptions to Tennessee's public records law would face more scrutiny under legislation advancing in the statehouse.

Tennessee House passes contentious anti-discrimination bill

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's GOP-dominated House on Thursday approved an anti-discrimination business bill that some critics say is dangerous for LGBTQ people.

Bill to nix 1 court death penalty review goes to Lee

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee appears ready to sign into law a measure that could speed up the implementation of a death sentence.

REGION

Unprecedented spring flooding possible, US forecasters say

The stage is set for unprecedented major flooding this spring for most of the nation, U.S. weather officials said Thursday.

Tennessee Valley Authority plans to increase solar power

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — The nation's largest public utility plans to rely more on solar power in the future, according to proposals in a draft long-range power plan.

NASHVILLE AREA

Man accused of dragging Tennessee officer with ATV arrested

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — U.S. Marshals have arrested a man suspected of driving an off-road vehicle that dragged a police officer when a group swarmed a downtown street in Tennessee's capital.

MIDSTATE

Midstate mayor: Police chief falsified gun training records

PORTLAND (AP) — The mayor of Portland, Tennessee, says an investigation has determined that the leadership of its police department falsified documents related to firearms training.

VANDERBILT SPORTS

Vandy fires coach Bryce Drew after 9-23 year, winless in SEC

NASHVILLE (AP) — The worst season in the history of Vanderbilt men's basketball has cost coach Bryce Drew his job.

PREDATORS

Crosby, Penguins beat Predators 2-1 in shootout

NASHVILLE (AP) — Late goals have hurt Pittsburgh lately. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins were able to reverse the trend Thursday night.

SPORTS

Big defensive stop allows Maryland to escape Belmont, 79-77

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Maryland's Eric Ayala deflected a pass to set up a steal by Darryl Morsell that stopped Belmont's last-second attempt at an NCAA Tournament upset and the Terrapins escaped with a 79-77 victory Thursday in the East Region.

UT SPORTS

Police: Vols DB George Jr. arrested for punching officer

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Tennessee defensive back Kenneth George Jr. has been arrested for allegedly punching a police officer on the side of the head.

REAL ESTATE

US existing-home sales jumped 11.8 percent in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales soared 11.8 percent in February, aided by accelerating wages and falling mortgage rates that are improving affordability.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Trump slams European automakers, threatens US tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump criticized European auto makers Friday, suggesting he could impose tariffs on imports from companies such as BMW and Mercedes unless they build more plants in the United States.

GM announces 400 jobs, $300M investment for electric

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Less than a week after a series of critical tweets from the president over an Ohio plant closure, General Motors is announcing plans to add 400 jobs and build a new electric vehicle at a factory north of Detroit.

TRANSPORTATION

Boeing to make safety feature standard on troubled Max jets

Boeing will make standard on its troubled new airliner a safety feature that might have helped the crew of a jet that crashed shortly after takeoff last year in Indonesia, killing everyone on board.

HEALTH CARE

Poll: More Americans say too little spending on health

WASHINGTON (AP) — A growing majority of Americans want greater government spending on health care, and the increase is being driven by both Democrats and Republicans.

TECHNOLOGY

Top US general to meet with Google on China security worries

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. military officer will meet with Google representatives next week amid growing concerns that American companies doing business in China are helping its military gain ground on the U.S.

Facebook left millions of passwords readable by employees

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook left millions of user passwords readable by its employees for years, the company said Thursday , an acknowledgement it offered after a security researcher posted about the issue online.

ENVIRONMENT

EU leaders postpone decision on 2050 climate goal

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders on Friday pushed back a decision on the bloc's long-term efforts to fight climate change, with some countries opposing a pledge to end most emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.

Floods show national security threat posed by climate change

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AP) — The Missouri River floodwater surging on to the air base housing the U.S. military's Strategic Command overwhelmed round-the-clock sandbagging by airmen and others. They had to scramble to save sensitive equipment, munitions and dozens of aircraft.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks, bond yields fall sharply as growth worries spread

Wall Street was roiled Friday by new signs that global economic growth is slowing. The jitters triggered a sell-off in stocks and sent bond yields sharply lower, flashing a possible recession warning.

US budget deficit sets February record of $234 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government posted a record budget deficit in February, pushing the overall deficit for the first five months of the budget year up 39 percent from a year ago.

Potential recession signal: A key 'yield curve' has inverted

NEW YORK (AP) — One of the most closely watched predictors of a potential recession just yelped even louder.

Trump to nominate conservative Stephen Moore for Fed board

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday that he will nominate Stephen Moore, a conservative economic analyst, to fill a vacancy on the Federal Reserve's seven-member board.

Mother Russia: South Florida sees a boom in 'birth tourism'

MIAMI (AP) — Every year, hundreds of pregnant Russian women travel to the United States to give birth so that their child can acquire all the privileges of American citizenship.

For EU, Brexit has trashed May's 'strong and stable' image

BRUSSELS (AP) — Prime Minister Theresa May used to promise "strong and stable" government. Fellow EU leaders used to believe her.

S&P 500 ends 2-day losing streak as tech leads stocks higher

Technology companies powered a broad rally for U.S. stocks Thursday, snapping the market's two-day losing streak.

Levi Strauss has big day after going public again

NEW YORK (AP) — Levi Strauss & Co., which gave America its first pair of blue jeans, is public for the second time.

Trump, corporate leaders discuss economic, business issues

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is discussing economic and business issues with some of America's top corporate titans.

Export slump deepens for American whiskey producers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — American whiskey producers are suffering a worsening hangover from the Trump administration's trade disputes.

Grudgingly, Europe says Brexit delay is still possible

BRUSSELS (AP) — Worn down by three years of indecision in London, European Union leaders on Thursday were grudgingly leaning toward giving the U.K. a bit more time to ease itself out of the bloc, but they warned that if Britain's Parliament spurns the offer, a chaotic exit loomed in just over a week.

Consumers should soon see benefit of Fed's patience on rates

NEW YORK (AP) — So much for those worries about rising interest rates. Just a few months ago, rising rates were bearing down on everyone from home buyers to stock investors after the Federal Reserve put through seven quarter-point increases in 2017 and 2018.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Mueller concludes Russia-Trump probe; no new indictments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday turned over his long-awaited final report on the contentious Russia investigation that has cast a dark shadow over Donald Trump's presidency, entangled Trump's family and resulted in criminal charges against some of the president's closest associates.

Now what? Mueller ends the Russia investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Now what? Special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his Trump-Russia investigation and on Friday delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr.

Beyond Mueller report, Trump faces flurry of legal perils

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump portrayed Robert Mueller as the bane of his existence, but even with the special counsel's Russia investigation wrapped up, he may still have to contend with state and federal investigators in New York.

Trump reversing new sanctions on North Korea

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he is reversing his administration's decision to slap new sanctions on North Korea, ordering them withdrawn.

GOP senator proposes modest deficit curbs in new budget

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Senate Republican Friday unveiled a five-year budget plan that would modestly curb budget deficits that would otherwise soon breach $1 trillion, while rejecting President Donald Trump's gimmick of using war funding to sustain big increases for the Pentagon.

Treasury grants further relief on IRS withholding penalties

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department announced Friday that it is expanding again the relief it grants taxpayers who had too little in income taxes withheld from their paychecks in the first year of a sweeping tax overhaul.

Pompeo says Trump is like biblical queen who saved Jews

JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it's "possible" that President Donald Trump is like Queen Esther, who saved Jews in the Old Testament.

Venezuela is key topic between Trump and Caribbean leaders

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The political and economic crisis in Venezuela tops the agenda of President Donald Trump's meeting Friday with leaders from the Caribbean, a region that has been far from united in joining the U.S. call for the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro.

Italy, China deepen ties under wary gaze of US, EU

MILAN (AP) — Italy's head of state told visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday that China's new "Silk Road" linking Europe and Asia must be a "two-way street," addressing concerns among Western allies that the colossal infrastructure project is meant merely to amplify Beijing's global influence.

Trump blames Fed for holding back economic growth in 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says the economy would have grown much faster last year if the Federal Reserve had not been tightening credit last year.

CFPB's Kraninger reverses Mulvaney changes to advisory board

NEW YORK (AP) — The new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reversing yet another policy set by her predecessor by giving more sway to a group of committees that advise the financial watchdog.

Trump to order colleges to back free speech or lose funding

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Thursday requiring U.S. colleges to certify that they protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal research funding, White House officials said.

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