NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Al-Jazeera plans to open a news bureau in Nashville.
The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/18HPsHc) the news organization that bought Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million earlier this year has said it will begin broadcasting Al-Jazeera America sometime late this summer. The network plans news bureaus in 12 cities across the country.
Bob Wheelock, executive producer of Al-Jazeera English, confirmed Nashville as one of the bureau sites during an interview with WWJ-AM 950 in Detroit on Thursday.
He said the network wants to have bureaus in cities where other networks do not. Those cities include Detroit, New Orleans and Nashville.
Wheelock said the new channel will broadcast stories about Americans by Americans.
Vanderbilt religious studies lecturer Abdulkadir Gure said Nashville probably was chosen because it is geographically, politically and demographically central.
News release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s office:
(NASHVILLE, TN), January 8, 2013 — The State Senate re-elected Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey today as Tennessee’s 33 senators met at noon on the first organizational day of the 108th General Assembly. This will be Ramsey’s fourth two-year term as Tennessee’s Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate.
“I want to thank you once again for placing your trust in me,” Ramsey told senators and onlookers after being elected. “It has been the honor of my life to serve Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate.”
“I have often said it matters who governs,” he continued. “I look forward to proving that statement true once again as we continue to answer November’s resounding call for less spending, more jobs and smaller government.”
“I especially look forward to continuing this legislature’s commitment to efficiency. Our last two legislative sessions were the first to end ‘on time’ in well over a decade. We plan to continue that tradition,” Ramsey stated. “The days of legislative sessions dragging into May and beyond are over.”
“As our federal government teeters on the edge of a fiscal cliff, Tennessee’s feet stand planted firmly on sound fiscal principles,” he added. “Tennessee is oasis of fiscal sanity in nation overwhelmed with debt. As long as I am Speaker, I will fight to ensure Tennessee remains a beacon to the nation.”
Tennessee’s conservative leader, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is the first GOP Senate Speaker in Tennessee in 140 years and the first from Sullivan County in over 100 years. In the 2008 elections, Ramsey led Tennessee’s Republicans to a gain of three Senate seats and a solid five seat majority. Under Ramsey’s leadership in 2010, Republicans both increased their majority in the Senate and elected a Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1969.
In 2012, the Ramsey Senate achieved an unprecedented 26 to 7 supermajority, a feat unmatched by either party in modern Tennessee history. Ramsey, currently serving his third term as Speaker, became the longest-serving Republican Senate Speaker in Tennessee history in 2009
JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) — The University of Memphis is readying its new Lambuth campus in Jackson for classes that begin Aug. 27.
If website traffic is an indication, there is strong interest in the satellite campus. U of M officials said there were more than 8,000 unique visitors to the campus online site, which was launched Friday afternoon.
The campus will include seven buildings on the campus of the former private Lambuth University, according to The Jackson Sun.
U of M wants to begin with 250 students and increase enrollment on the Jackson campus to 1,000 students over five years.
The campus will offer courses in education, business and nursing this fall.
University officials hope to draw students from the West Tennessee region to the Jackson campus.
The House has voted to push public schools toward beginning their school year no later than the fourth Monday in August, but only after more than 20 counties were excluded from the bill’s provisions.
As passed by the Senate earlier, SB1471 would require that schools open no later than the second Monday in August in 2012, the third Monday in August in 2013 and the fourth Monday in August in 2014.
But the House piled on amendments exempting various counties at the urging of legislators who said they acted at the request of school boards in their home counties.
Backers of the bill warned the multiple exemptions could violate provisions of the state constitution, but those pushing the amendments – with one exception – apparently accepted arguments that each legislator should decide matters impacting only his or her county.
Reps. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, and Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, acted as lead spokesman for the bill, contending it would benefit parents and students by assuring summer vacation time is preserved and businesses by assuring that students are available to work at summer jobs.
Montgomery said a University of Tennessee poll found that 71 percent of Tennesseans think schools now start too early. He also said schools will save money by not having to pay for cooling during August, the most expensive month for air conditioning.
The move to exclude multiple counties, Montgomery said, “just blows my mind.”
The bill passed 70-23, with many of those who exempted their own counties out still supporting the amended version.
One of those was Casada, who was criticized by Democrats for removing Williamson County after earlier this year sponsoring a bill to have the Legislature override a Nashville City ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The only opt-out amendment that was rejected came from Democratic Rep. Brenda Gilmore of Nashville. It was defeated after Republican Rep. Jim Gotto, also of Nashville, objected to Gilmore’s move.
The bill allows school systems that miss an average of 10 school days or more for a five-year period to seek a waiver from the law from the Department of Education.
The measure now returns to the Senate, which must decide whether to go along with the multiple amendments.
Among East Tennessee counties amended out of the bill were Blount, Hamblen, Johnson, Carter, Loudon, Monroe and McMinn. Memphis City Schools, the state’s largest system, was also excluded on motion of Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis.