WZTV FOX 17 - Top Stories
January 11, 2013
Tennessee's Department of Children's Services is under pressure.
There are new legal challenges and criticism from state lawmakers.
Much of the criticism stems from the number of children who have died while in state custody, and what some view as a culture of covering up problems.
Representative Sherry Jones is known as a champion of children on Capitol Hill.
These days her attention is focused on the Department of Children's Services.
"And I want everybody to know what a serious serious emergency this is for the children of this state," says Rep. Sherry Jones, (D) Nashville.
Jones is referring to new reports that more than 70 children died in Tennessee last year after their cases were brought to the attention of DCS.
She says the agency is taking giant step backwards.
"The Commissioner is not taking care of business, and she's allowing these children to be hurt and to die," says Rep. Jones.
DCS is also facing a challenge in federal court. Children's Rights, a national advocacy group has filed a motion asking for child death records to be released.
The motion seeks investigation records.
The associate director of Children's Rights wants to ensure kids are safe.
DCS says it is not commenting on the new motion because of the pending litigation, but the agency is starting to take action.
Two senior level employees, Alan Hall and Debbie Miller, were fired this week.
Meanwhile, back on Capitol Hill, some lawmakers are calling for a public hearing about the problems with DCS. They say the department can't operate in secret.
"And we need to bring them before the public and they need to say why they're hiding these things," says Rep. Jones.
Representative Sherry Jones says she has severe concerns and believes children may be hurt.
She's calling for transparency and decisive action.
"And I want the Governor to step up, and I want him to say we need to fix it, and then I want it done," says Rep. Jones.
DCS Commissioner Kathryn O'Day is also being criticized.
Representative Jones believes she needs to replaced, and Republican Senator Jim Summerville says it is time for a change in leadership.
For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn
Tuesday, January 22 2013, 05:57 PM CST
Tishomingo County voters OK beer, alcohol sales
May 22, 2013 23:38 GMT
IUKA, Miss. (AP) -- Tishomingo County is the latest Mississippi jurisdiction to legalize alcohol sales.
Voters approved the sale of liquor, wine and beer Tuesday, reports the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/13JCcix).
It wasn't clear referendums would pass until affidavit ballots were counted Wednesday.
With more than half Tishomingo County's voters casting ballots, legalizing alcohol passed by 42 votes, while legalizing beer and light wine passed by 73. The county borders Alabama and Tennessee.
Lawmakers legalized liquor at a proposed resort at the county's Bay Springs Lake in 2010, but it wasn't built.
Greene County voters legalized beer sales last year, while Corinth, New Albany and Senatobia have legalized alcohol sales under a 2012 law that allows cities to hold votes.
Mississippi has 13 remaining counties that allow no beer or alcohol sales.
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