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More than 160 fugitives, gang members, sex offenders and violent criminals are off the streets of the Eastern District of Tennessee as a result of Operation Violence Reduction7 (VR7), a six-week long U.S. Marshals-led enforcement initiative conducted to reduce violent crime. Local 8 Now reports these operations occurred from March 2nd through April 10th and were a part of the USMS initiative which resulted in more than 7,100 arrests across the United States. The Operation VR7 arrests included 750 gang members, and the seizure of 383 firearms and more than 69 kilograms of illegal narcotics. Individual charges included 519 for homicide; 922 for weapons; 1,888 for assault; 583 for sexual assault; 1,093 for robbery; and 2,654 for narcotics. Additionally, 10 missing children were recovered.
Tennessee lawmakers have approved the state's $33.8 billion annual spending plan after rejecting Democrats' attempts to include a provision that could revive Medicaid expansion. Haslam's Insure Tennessee plan would extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income people. The House also rejected one Republican lawmaker's bid to redirect $60 million from the $120 million earmarked for a new state museum in Nashville. Passing a balanced budget is one of the few constitutional requirements for Tennessee lawmakers.
Tennessee residents who are authorized to be in the United States would be eligible for in-state tuition under legislation that has passed the Senate. The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the House Finance Committee. Under the proposal, students considered lawfully present in the U.S. through a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals would qualify for in-state tuition. Such students now pay nearly three times as much for higher education -- the out-of-state rate -- even if they've lived in Tennessee for most of their lives.
Cave surveys over the winter have found a steep decline in the three most common species of bats in Tennessee. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports surveyors found fewer little brown bats, northern long-eared bats and tricolored bats due to the fungal disease white-nose syndrome. Biologists say the impacts of the disease appear to be similar to those already seen in northeastern states, where entire bat populations have been wiped out.
For Morgan County students, that fun in the snow will lead to less fun in the sun. WVLT reports that students in Morgan County missed 16 days due to inclement weather. To make up those days will cut into their summer break. Morgan County Schools will have their last day on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Classes on that day will let out at 11 a.m. Many parents say they have already made plans and their kids will not attend the last day of school. Student Service Supervisor, Ronnie Wilson says the students who do not come on the last day will not be penalized. They will be able to pick up their report cards at a later date.