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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


Eight Midtown Homes Evacuated Due to Gas Leak

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- Eight homes in midtown Memphis were evacuated on Friday due to a gas leak.

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, fire department officials arrived at the scene on Carr Avenue shortly after 10 a.m. on Friday.

It was not immediately clear what caused the gas leak, however, the leak was cleared shortly before 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

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


Bartlett Man Killed in Traffic Accident, Struck Multiple Cars

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- A Bartlett man killed in a traffic accident on Wednesday crashed into several cars that were stopped at a red light.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that the driver, 58, side-swiped three vehicles at the red light and continued driving. He "continued sliding southbound" until he struck a fourth car. After the second collision, the driver caused collisions between three more vehicles and then slammed into two more before coming to a halt.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, the Commercial Appeal says.

Six others were reportedly injured in the Wednesday evening incident.

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