The Flip 26 Studio Conversations

Dr. Marcus Mauldin / TN Gun Laws: How We Became the Wild West

When Tennessee passed permitless gun carry last year, most Tennesseans didn’t like the law and our law enforcement organizations loudly opposed it. In fact, nobody was asking for this law but the gun lobby. So why do our state lawmakers refuse to protect us from gun violence? Dr. Marcus Mauldin, associate professor of political science at UTC, explains the past and present of Tennessee’s gun laws, the embrace of gun culture by evangelical Christians, and whether we’ll get sensible gun laws in Tennessee (spoiler alert: not with this legislature).

Taylor Lyons / TN's Trigger Laws

When Taylor Lyons joined me in the studio, we knew it was just a matter of time before SCOTUS would overturn Roe, directly affecting women in Tennessee and other “trigger law” states. While pro-choice arguments usually focus on bodily autonomy, a critical issue our state lawmakers don’t seem to understand–or care about–is the physical danger and emotional trauma this law will cause for pregnant women who need an abortion for medical reasons. Taylor has been there, and she was kind enough to share her story.

Betty West / Homelessness

Our state lawmakers in Nashville outdid themselves in the cruelty department this year by making it a felony to sleep in a public place. Yes, they criminalized homelessness.

Betty West has been on the front lines helping Chattanooga’s homeless. She’s heard how one piece of bad luck can land someone on the street, and how a tent or even a new pair of shoes can make that person’s life a little less awful. She also knows what doesn’t work to fix homelessness. (Criminalization isn’t it.)

It’s a tough issue–and one we have a moral obligation to address humanely.

Kendra Young / The TN Teacher Crisis

Tennesseans just watched Gov. Bill Lee—whose wife and sister are teachers, and who leads a state that employs some 80,000 K–12 teachers—sit quietly by while his “education advisor,” Larry Arnn, insulted the entire profession.

Just one more reason our public-school teachers are leaving in droves.

Tennessee’s K–12 schools have been underfunded for years. Our school buildings are crumbling. Thousands of teaching positions are unfunded and unfilled, and the teachers we do have lack the resources they need to do their jobs.

Now the Lee administration is hyping its massive new public education funding package, passed in a hurry at the end of this year’s legislative session. On tonight’s podcast, Hamilton County teacher Kendra Young, who has her finger on the pulse of Tennessee’s education policy, talks to us about the politics of chronic disinvestment in our schools, and what’s really in that new legislation. We recorded this before the Arnn bombshell, but Kendra still has plenty to say.