The University of Memphis and Southwest Tennessee Community College will receive less money from the state in the upcoming school yard than in the current year because of the Complete College Act passed by the Legislature in 2010, reports the Commercial Appeal. The Memphis schools are the only two among the Tennessee Board of Regents’ six universities and 13 community colleges that the new formula would have cut for the 2013-14 school year if the extra money wasn’t available, according to TBR figures.
The new outcomes-based formula takes into account the colleges’ and universities’ success in such factors as retaining students, advancing them steadily toward degrees and awarding degrees and other credentials. As a result, the schools are placing new emphasis on student success, including tutoring and advising centers.
U of M and Regents officials emphasize that the University of Memphis had positive outcomes under the formula and that the indicated reduction is due to other factors.
U of M faces a $737,300 reduction in its recurring funding from state appropriations for 2013-14 — but a one-time, or nonrecurring, appropriation of $1,976,600 will more than offset that reduction — for one year only.
Southwest Tennessee Community College is losing $2.2 million in recurring state funding and is getting about $1.2 million in nonrecurring funding, for a net reduction from the state of about $1 million. The Board of Regents is expected to approve tuition increases of 3 percent for the community colleges and 6 percent at the U of M later this month, to round out the institutions’ operational funding.
In contrast, the other five Regents universities will receive increased recurring funding from the state ranging from $893,100 at Tennessee State University in Nashville to $3.7 million at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. And the 12 other community colleges will receive increases ranging from $463,100 at Volunteer State in Gallatin to $4.7 million at Chattanooga State.
TBR figures indicate that when the so-called “hold harmless” money — it holds the campuses “harmless” from funding cuts — ends after the upcoming school year, institutions on the lower end of the outcomes model could face state funding cuts unless the governor and legislature provide real increases in higher education operational funding across the board. They did that this year, for the first time in nearly a decade.
David G. Zettergren, vice president for business and finance at the U of M, said the university is taking several steps to control costs to compensate for state appropriation reductions while continuing to serve students. They include “streamlining, consolidating and reorganizing offices and services,” he said.
Memphis lawyer John Farris, a Board of Regents member and chairman of its Finance and Business Operations Committee, said he’s disappointed with the impact of base funding cuts on the Memphis schools.
ATLANTA (AP) — A private college in northwest Georgia is suing Tennessee’s higher education commission in a dispute over billboard advertising.
Berry College says in the federal lawsuit that the Tennessee agency has threatened to sue the school if it continues to advertise in that state without registering and paying fees of more than $20,000 a year.
The Rome, Ga.-based school says it competes with Tennessee colleges and has advertised on at least one billboard in the state. It depicts two students in front of a college building with Berry’s name, website and the phrase “26,000 acres of opportunity.”
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has threatened other schools with such requirements in order to reduce competition from out-of-state institutions, Berry maintains in the lawsuit. Other schools have removed their ads over the issue rather than risk civil and criminal sanctions, the school’s lawyers say.
Scott Sloan, the Tennessee agency’s general counsel, said Tuesday that agency officials have yet to review the lawsuit and had no immediate comment.
A law that’s central to the dispute is Tennessee’s Postsecondary Education Authorization Act (PEAA), which Berry says is being improperly used to keep out-of-state schools from advertising. The act requires postsecondary educational institutions “desiring to operate” in Tennessee to apply for authorization from the state agency, which involves the fees, the lawsuit states.
The Tennessee agency, Berry maintains, “has pursued this unconstitutional enforcement of the PEAA so as to protect in-state colleges and universities from fair competition by out-of-state institutions.”
“The overall effect of the Act, then, is to tax and chill the free speech rights of Berry and other out-of-state schools as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, in addition to violating their rights under the dormant Commerce Clause,” Berry’s complaint states. “The effect of the PEAA is to unconstitutionally burden and tax the free exercise of truthful commercial speech by Berry and other out-of-state colleges and universities.”
The lawsuit was filed this week in U.S. District Court in northern Georgia.
Lawyers for the college, about 70 miles northwest of Atlanta, are asking the court to block Tennessee from imposing fees or fines or taking legal action against the school for advertising in the state.
Reversing a previous vote, the state Senate decided Thursday that college student identification cards will remain invalid for voting in Tennessee.
The House and Senate had adopted conflicting positions on the issue posed as part of SB125. The Senate last month voted to authorize college student ID for voting, but the House then voted to strip that provision out of the bill.
The bill returned to the Senate Thursday and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, sponsor of the bill, made the motion to go along with the House version that rejects student ID for voting.
The vote to adopt the House bill was 23-7. That sends the bill to Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk for his signature.
When the bill was originally before the Senate, Ketron supported the idea of making college ID valid. He said the Tennessee law requiring photo ID for voting is patterned after Indiana’s law, which has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Indiana law permits college student ID, Ketron said at the time, and to assure Tennessee’s law can withstand any court challenges, it should do the same.
The House and Senate are now officially at loggerheads over whether college student identification cards should be valid for voting.
The Senate earlier voted to change current law and make the student ID issued by public colleges and universities valid. But the House stripped that provision out of SB125 before approving the measure Monday night on a 69-24 vote.
What remains are provisions declaring that library cards bearing a photograph and issued by the City of Memphis are invalid for voting – though the state Court of Appeals ruled they could be used – and new ban on using photo ID issued by another state for voting. Current law allows out-of-state ID cards, even if they have expired.
The measure inspired somewhat heated debate. Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, said he felt “hoodwinked and bamboozled” by the transformation of the bill and Rep. Johnnie Turner, D-Memphis, said it was “another form of voter suppression.”
“This talk about voting suppression is just not true! I’m tired of hearing about it,” responded House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, contending the legislation is designed to stop voter fraud.
McCormick said “a state Senate election was stolen in the City of Memphis just a few years ago” and a Memphis NAACP official had talked on TV about people voting in multiple places in the past.
Reps. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, and Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, questioned the provision ending out-of-state ID as valid for voting having an impact on “property rights voters.” Many cities allow non-residents who own property within the jurisdiction to vote and Dean noted some of these may be from outside the state – particularly in the Chattanooga area with the Georgia border nearby.
Armstrong said that Bill Haslam, now governor, won his first election as mayor of Knoxville by about
The House and Senate may be on a collision course over whether college student identification cards should be used in voting.
The Senate approved a bill last week to authorize the use of student ID cards issued by state colleges and universities. But the House Local Government committee rejected the provision Tuesday by adopting an amendment deleting it from HB229, companion bill to the Senate-passed measure.
In the House version, that leaves only provisions – also in the Senate bill – that prohibit the use for voting purposes of Memphis library cards and out-of-state photo identification.
The House committee deleted the college ID provision at the urging of Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, on a straight party-line voice vote. All Democrats on the panel had themselves recorded as voting no, leaving all Republicans voting yes. The bill itself was then approved on the same basis.
Discussion in the committee followed the same lines as earlier in the Senate, where an attempt by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, to delete the college student ID section was defeated. Durham said the college student ID can be “made up” and would put as risk the integrity of the voting system.
Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, challenged Durham to provide a single case of a college student ID being used to cast a vote improperly during “the 100-plus years” that college ID was valid for voting prior to enactment of the current law in 2001. Durham did not do so.
The Wednesday vote could put the bill on the House floor by next week. The House and Senate must agree on all details of a bill before it can achieve final passage. If the two chambers differ, a conference committee can be appointed to try and reach an agreement.
Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mount Juliet, sponsor of the bill in the House, said she told the Senate sponsor, Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, that House GOP colleagues did not like the college ID provision. She said he was “OK” with amending out the provision for now in the House.
The Senate approved Thursday a bill that will make college student identification cards valid for voting despite Sen. Stacey Campfield’s contention that senators were “gutting” the protections against voter fraud in current law.
The bill by Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron was approved on a 21-8 vote and now goes to the House, where it faces a committee vote.
Besides legalizing college student ID for voting, the bill also prohibits use of library cards issued by the City of Memphis. The state Court of Appeals has ruled the Memphis cards are valid for voting and the state Supreme Court is considering an appeal of that decision, though it issued a temporary order last fall allowing the cards to be used in the November, 2012, election.
The eight no votes on the bill (SB125) included Campfield and four other Republicans who objected to the college ID provision and three Democrats who objected to the Memphis library card prohibition.
Ketron said the bill includes both provisions to imitate, as closely as practical, the voter ID law of Indiana, which has been upheld as valid in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Some supporters of the photo ID law have voiced concern that forbidding use of college student ID issued by a state university while allowing other forms of state-issued ID could be successfully challenged in court.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chris Wilson believes his nephew would still be alive if his college had required him to get a meningitis vaccination.
Middle Tennessee State University freshman Jacob Nunley died last year less than 24 hours after contracting meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
“That’s the most difficult thing to deal with,” Wilson said, “the fact that the vaccination was there. All he had to do was get it.”
Currently, MTSU and most other public colleges and universities in Tennessee only recommend getting the vaccination to prevent the contagious disease.
Tennessee lawmakers are hoping to prevent deaths with legislation that would require incoming students at public higher education institutions to show proof they have gotten a meningitis shot. The bill would exempt students if a doctor says they can’t take the vaccine because of a medical condition or if the inoculation violates their religious beliefs.
A Senate vote on legislation that makes college student identification cards valid for voting was halted Thursday after Sen. Stacey Campfield raised objections, saying the cards can be easily faked and are issued to people who are not citizens of the United States.
“They’re easy to forge,” said Campfield in Senate floor debate. “Possibly, in my younger days I might have known a person or two myself who had a falsified college ID.”
Even a valid college ID, Campfield said, opens a door for fraudulent voting since foreign students can get them.
“You don’t even have to be a resident of this country to be get a college ID,” said Campfield, a Knoxville Republican whose district includes part of the University of Tennessee campus.
A vote on the bill (SB125) was postponed until next Thursday by the sponsor, Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, after Campfield’s critical questioning of the measure, which makes several revisions to the state’s law requiring a photo ID issued by the state or federal government for voting.
Legislation requiring incoming students at the state’s colleges and universities to be have a vaccination for meningitis won unanimous approval of the Senate Monday night and now advances to the House, where approval is also expected.
The bill by Sen. Lowe Finney, D-Jackson, (SB93) is named in “the Jacob Nunley Act,” in honor of an 18-year-old Middle Tennessee State University student from Dyersburg who died of meningitis last year. It requires proof of vaccination to all students living on campus starting with incoming students next year, except for those who have a medical condition that make the vaccination dangerous or a religious belief that conflicts with vaccinations.
The House companion measure is expected to be approved by the House Education Committee today.
News release from Secretary of State’s office:
Eleven Electoral College representatives from across Tennessee met in Nashville Monday to cast the state’s presidential votes for Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential running mate, Paul Ryan.
Like most states, Tennessee’s votes in the Electoral College are allocated based on a “winner take all” system – which means the electors pledged to award all 11 of the state’s votes to the candidate who received the highest amount of votes statewide in the Nov. 6 general election.
Results of Monday’s meeting of the electors will be forwarded to Washington, D.C., where Congress is scheduled to meet in a joint session Jan. 6 to accept the results from all 50 states.
Tennessee’s electoral votes are determined by its proportional share of the United States population. The electors this year were: