Tennessee: Alexander touts Senate health bill. US Sen. Lamar Alexander (R), who chairs the Senate health committee, believes the much-maligned Senate healthcare draft offers benefits to Tennessee, including being able to create a Medicaid program financed by a block grant. He also noted that the cost of premiums, which have gone up 176% over four years in Tennessee, will slow down ……. South Carolina: First black Highway Patrol Commander. Christopher Williamson, a 30-year veteran of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, says he decided he wanted to be a highway patrolman when he was 12 and his sister was killed by a drunk driver. He said safety of the public was his top priority in his job. As for his race, Williamson told The State, “I feel like I’m the colonel for all people, regardless of the color of my skin.” ……. Louisiana: Gee asks federal government to pare down drug prices. Rebekah Gee, the Pelican State’s health secretary, refers to the state as the nation’s “public health-crisis cradle,” citing high rates of poverty, obesity and premature births. She also notes that there are high rates of hepatitis C, which damages the liver. But the new drugs to cure it can cost as much as $94,500 for a 12-week course, reports the Washington Post. Gee is asking the federal government to step in and reduce the costs. Stay tuned.