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Monday, January 22, 2018

Opioid Task Force
Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to announce a plan this week to "aggressively and comprehensively" address Tennessee's opioid crisis. The governor will be joined today by lawmakers as well as state Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Bivins to unveil a multi-strategy plan involving prevention, treatment and law enforcement. "Some of that will be for an actual bill," Haslam said. "Others will be things that won't take legislative action but be part of a comprehensive plan to address the opioid issue." Tennessee has one of the country's worst opioid problems with an estimated 6,000 residents dying over the past five years from causes attributed to both legal and illegal painkiller addiction. House Speaker Beth Harwell, who is running this year to succeed Haslam, last year created a House task force to study the issue and come up with recommendations which it did. Noting the impact of opioids "really touches so many aspects of state government," Harwell said, it will take somewhat of all-hands-on-board approach. In a related story, several Tennessee lawmakers are looking to address the link between opioid abuse and gift cards. Target, Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot, want a law that would enhance penalties for organized crime, which had cost them some $200 million in stolen goods in 2016 in Tennessee alone. Lawmakers say there is a connection between the growing shoplifting problem and opiod abuse. Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville, says items are stolen by one group and returned for in-store credit by another. A third group then takes the in-store credit gift cards to a third party, often a pawn shop, and sells the cards for cash. Briggs said the $200 million lost to shoplifting equals approximately $14 million in lost sales tax revenue for the state annually, plus a large quantity to local governments.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

  • Slatery seeks execution for Sutton
  • New Yorkers arrested in Jefferson County
  • Carter death being investigated
  • Tennessee Senate action
  • US Senate race

    Saturday, February 17, 2018

  • Cocke schools talk safety
  • Pasports
  • Alexander on infrastructure

    Friday, February 16, 2018

  • Arrest made in "Kill list"
  • Newport animal shelter
  • Cocke candidates
  • Ronnie Davis obit
  • Pilot Flying J execs convicted
  • Senator Alexander on budget infrastructure plans

    Thursday, February 15, 2018

  • NU water leak
  • Faison files Fresh Start legislation
  • TVA spends on aircraft
  • Cocke Landfill Committee
  • Carson Springs home destroyed by fire

    Wednesday, February 14, 2018

  • Newport City Council talks property tax cut
  • More candidates qualify
  • Arwood/Prevost arrests
  • Cocke County Grand Jury returns indictments
  • Walters State enrollment is up
  • Trump wants to sell TVA

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