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Local Updates from ABC News Radio for Knoxville.


State Legislature Passes Nine Bills in Final Day of 2014 Session

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- The Tennessee State Legislature finished the 2014 session by passing nine bills on Thursday.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, the General Assembly approved legislation covering a wide array of topics -- including wine in supermarkets and common core education standards -- that had inspired debate during the past few months.

State Sen. Douglas Henry, a Democrat from Nashville, was honored during the final day of the session, as he will retire after over 40 years in the Tennessee State Senate.

The bills approved on Thursday:

-Created a statewide authority to overrule local school board decisions regarding charter schools.
- Delayed implementation of the common core standards by one year.
- Allowed electrocution in the case of a shortage of the drug used for lethal injections for inmates receiving the death penalty.
- Offered free tuition to any high school graduate at select Tennessee colleges.
- Allowed the commercial production of hemp.
- Required legislative approval for mass transit projects.
- Set monthly limits on the sale of cold and allergy medicines used to make methamphetamine.
- Allowed local governments to hold referendums on the sale of wine at supermarkets.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Dead Body Found Under Deck of West Knoxville Home

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- Knoxville police said that a body found under a back deck of a West Knoxville home earlier this week will be considered natural unless an autopsy discovers another cause.

The man had been dead for about two weeks when his body was found on Wednesday. The body was removed from the Forest View Road home on Wednesday.

Detectives did not find any evidence of foul play.

Police were unable to identify the victim, who was described as a 5-foot-4 inch tall, 170 pounds man with short brown hair and brown eyes.

Investigators said that the description has been checked against missing persons reports from national and local agencies, but no match was discovered.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Tennessee's Unemployment Rate Continues to Decrease

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- March marked the seventh consecutive month that Tennessee has seen a decrease in its unemployment rate.

In a release Thursday, the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Tennessee's unemployment rate stood at 6.7 percent in March, down two tenths of a percentage point from the previous month.

The national unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent from February to March.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Corryton Man Accidentally Shoots Self in Leg

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- A Corryton man accidentally shot himself in the leg on Thursday morning.

According to the Knox County Sheriff's Office, Howard Stuffle, Jr. was sitting in his living room when he reached for a cup of coffee -- accidentally knocking a .22 caliber short rifle over. As the 48-year-old reached to pick up the gun, it discharged, with a bullet hitting him in the leg.

Paramedics took Stuffle to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Governor's Residence Hosts Annual Easter Egg Roll

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Gov. Bill Haslam and his wife Crissy opened up their residence on Wednesday to over 100 children from across Tennessee, as the first couple hosted the annual Easter Egg Roll.

According to the state, the event saw about 115 children come out to take part in Easter egg rolling, relay games, crafts, face painting, and visit a reading corner in support of the first lady's early literacy initiative.

"It cannot be understated how important it is to read with children early in life," Crissy Haslam said in a statement. "A child’s first three years of life are an important window of opportunity to make certain they have the strongest possible foundation for success."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio