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Tennessee drops fee of lifetime handgun carry permit by $300
AP Thursday January 19, 2017

The cost of upgrading to a lifetime handgun carry permit in Tennessee is dropping by $300.

The state Department of Safety says current permit holders can now upgrade to the lifetime permit for $200. The previous price was $500.

Applicants for their original permit can either pay $100 for one that is valid for eight years, or $300 for a lifetime permit.

As of the start of the year, about 582,000 people had active handgun carry permits in Tennessee. To obtain a permit, applicants must undergo background checks and show that they have completed an eight-hour handgun safety course at an approved school.

Two bills have already been filed this year seeking to do away with requirements to obtain a permit to be armed in public.


2017 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide Honors Musical Milestones of Garth Brooks & Ryman Auditorium Broadcasting News Thursday January 19, 2017

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has released its 2017 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide, featuring Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill Garth Brooks on the famed stage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, which celebrates its 125th Anniversary this year.

More than 550,000 guides are available to inspire potential guests to book a trip filled with authentic experiences that are part of “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” The 2017 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide is available free of charge at any of Tennessee’s 14 Welcome Centers or by calling 1-800-GO2-TENN (462-8366), and can also be ordered or downloaded online at


Haslam Proposes Gas Tax Hike
AP Thursday January 19, 2017

Gov. Bill Haslam Wednesday proposed Tennessee's first gas tax hike in 27 years to fund an ambitious roadbuilding program.
The governor's plan would generate about $278 million per year in new transportation funding, while at the same time cut about $270 million in taxes for shoppers buying groceries, manufacturing companies investing in the state, and people earning income from stocks and bonds.
Other elements of the governor's plan include: raising the tax on diesel by 12 cents to bring it into line with the gas tax, adding a 3 percent charge on cars rented in Tennessee, and increasing car registration fees by $5 for the average passenger vehicle.


Schools to be Graded on A-F Scale
AP Thursday January 19, 2017

The state of Tennessee is planning to give schools a grade of A to F in order to increase accountability.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that school officials discussed the new approach Tuesday night at Orchard Knob Elementary School. The meeting was the state's sixth and final community meeting to discuss its new education plan as part of the national Every Students Succeeds Act.
Nakia Towns, the state's assistant commissioner of data and research, says academic progress will be factored in the grade, making it easier for all schools to have a chance to receive an A, including those in impoverished areas.
Towns says about 7 percent of schools would currently receive an A for both raw student achievement scores and academic growth.


Insurance Claims Top $842 Million in Wildfires
AP Thursday January 19, 2017

State officials say insurance claims have topped $842 million in the deadly eastern Tennessee wildfires that burned thousands of buildings.
The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance provided the number to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
The department says as of Jan. 6, the Gatlinburg-area wildfires resulted in more than 3,900 claims and more than $842 million in residential and commercial property losses.
The numbers don't include damages to uninsured structures.
In mid-December, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters estimated damages at more than $500 million. Previously, 2,460 structures were deemed damaged or destroyed.
On Nov. 28, gale-force winds spread wildfires to the Gatlinburg area, killing 14 people.
Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Michael Peacock says FEMA has approved $2.5 million in wildfire-related grants as of Tuesday.


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