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State roundup
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WARTBURG (AP) — An inmate’s alleged perimeter breach at a Tennessee prison has led to the firing of eight prison employees.
In a Jan. 26 release, the Tennessee Department of Correction said 36-year-old Robert Fusco had “breached the secure perimeter” of the Morgan County Regional Correctional Complex with the intent of introducing contraband into the prison. Authorities did not provide a timeframe.
Department spokeswoman Neysa Taylor confirmed Friday to the Chattanooga Times Free Press the eight employees had been fired, but wouldn’t say more.
Fusco was a minimum security inmate, but has since been transferred to West Tennessee State Penitentiary as a maximum custody inmate. He’s expected to be charged with escape because of the purposeful breach.
The TBI continues to investigate.

NASHVILLE (AP) — A bill in Tennessee would limit the ability of state licensing boards to deny occupational licenses based on the criminal history of applicants.

Republican Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris of Memphis and Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby announced the “fresh start” legislation Monday.

The bill would only let boards deny licenses based on past crimes that are directly related to the job someone is seeking, or for certain felonies.

The legislation also would let applicants petition a state licensing board upfront to see if a past crime will disqualify them.

A news release from the lawmakers says Tennessee requires a license for 110 jobs, and almost every licensing board can deny a license due to past criminal records, including misdemeanors.

NASHVILLE (AP) — The University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s chancellor has drawn scrutiny during a Republican-led legislative meeting for attending a fundraiser that generated $300,000-plus for the school’s LGBT center.

The Vol Means All group says the Feb. 1 fundraising haul is 10 percent of its $3 million endowment goal for the Pride Center. University spokeswoman Katherine Pauline Saxon says the center’s budget is currently $82,350, privately funded.

In 2016, the Republican-led legislature voted to divert almost $446,000 from the university’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, which funded the Pride Center.

On Monday, Republican Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield said Chancellor Beverly Davenport almost took an activist role by attending the fundraiser.

Davenport said she takes hundreds of fundraising trips annually, and lawmakers asked her to raise private money for that center.