Tag Archives: Vanderbilt

AP story on Vandy poll and Medicaid expansion

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Three in five Tennesseans support expanding Medicaid, though nearly half also have a negative view of the federal health care law, according to a Vanderbilt University poll released Wednesday.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam last spring declined $1.4 billion in federal funds to cover about 140,000 uninsured Tennesseans under the terms that the money was offered by the federal government.

Negotiations over a special state deal have so far been fruitless, and Haslam in a letter to Health and Human Resources Secretary Katherine Sebelius on Monday said “we do not see a path forward” unless an agreement can be reached.

Asked about the poll indicating wide support for Medicaid expansion, Haslam spokesman David Smith said the governor is working for approval to “cover more Tennesseans with a plan that considers both better health outcomes and cost.”

Democrats have criticized the governor for not taking the money, which they argue hurts hospitals and medical care for patients.

“The governor’s letter is simply the latest in a series of farces,” House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, said in a release on Tuesday. “It’s more of the same hand-wringing, ducking and dodging we’ve come to expect from this administration.”

The survey of 800 randomly selected registered voters showed 63 percent favored an expansion of Medicaid, while 34 percent were against it. Only 15 percent had positive impression of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, while 51 percent viewed it negatively. One-third of respondents said they didn’t know enough about the law to have an opinion. (Note: The official Vandy rundown on the poll is HERE.)
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Vandy poll finds 63 percent of Tennesseans want Medicaid expansion

News release from Vanderbilt University:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A substantial majority of Tennessee voters want state lawmakers to accept federal money that has been offered to expand Medicaid, according to the new Vanderbilt Poll.

In a survey taken Nov. 20 to Dec. 5 of 860 registered voters by landlines and cell phones, 63 percent said they supported the expansion of Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. Thirty-four percent were against the expansion and 3 percent said they didn’t know.

“The decision as to whether the state should expand Medicaid as provided by the Affordable Care Act is obviously an important issue in the state, and the Vanderbilt Poll provides important information about what the public thinks. Hopefully, this will help ensure that the discussion is not just driven by engaged activists on both sides of the issue, as this is not the first time Tennesseans have expressed their approval of Medicaid expansion,” said Josh Clinton, associate professor of political science and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt.

While a strong majority of Tennessee voters favor expansion, nearly half – 47 percent – of voting Tennesseans have a negative perception of the Affordable Care Act itself, with only 15 percent supporting the law.
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State, Vanderbilt collaborate to run ‘school leadership’ program

News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a new preparation program to build a pipeline of highly-trained principals for schools across the state.

The state will work with Vanderbilt University and local districts to nominate, select and train up to 30 participants a year in the school leadership program.

The program is aimed at closing achievement gaps in lower performing schools and maintaining high levels of achievement for all students.

“Principals are responsible for hiring and retaining great teachers, being the instructional leaders of their schools, creating positive learning environments and managing complex operations within their buildings,” Haslam said. “Successful organizations have great leaders at the top, and one of the most important things we can do to transform our schools is to have each one led by a great principal.”

“Tennessee has many great principals already, and we want even more,” Haslam added. “There are also some important efforts already underway in the state around principal preparation, but I want to thank Vanderbilt University for working with us on this significant step toward using an innovative approach to strengthen education in Tennessee.”
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Jim Sasser. former senator and ambassador, donates papers to Vanderbilt

News release from Vanderbilt University:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – James R. Sasser, a former three-term U.S. senator from Tennessee and ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, and his wife, Mary Sasser, have donated their papers to Vanderbilt University’s Special Collections.
“We are deeply grateful that Jim and Mary Sasser, treasured alumni who have devoted their lives to outstanding public service on behalf of Tennessee and the nation, have chosen Vanderbilt as the home for their archives,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “Having first-hand information from Jim’s career as a senator and ambassador and from Mary’s work in bridging cultures will offer Vanderbilt scholars an invaluable level of insight into a vital time in our world’s history. These papers will be a pivotal part of the work of researchers for many generations to come in advancing understanding of global affairs.”
“Mary and I have chosen Vanderbilt as the home for our records because in many ways it is where our journey began,” James Sasser said. “We met as students there in the ’50s and the education that it provided us, as undergraduates and then for me as a law student, proved to be the foundation for decades of public service for which we are both enormously grateful. We are hopeful that this record, and all of the stories that it tells, will be useful to future students, scholars and researchers.”

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Poll Finds 93% Oppose Legislators Selecting Senate Nominees; Niceley Not Deterred

State Sen. Frank Niceley says he’s not surprised by a poll indicating that 93 percent of Tennesseans oppose his proposal to have the Republican and Democratic nominees to the U.S. Senate selected by the partisan caucuses of the state Legislature.
“Ninety-two percent of them don’t realize that before 1913 the founding fathers had legislatures select the senators,” he said. “They just need a little history lesson. … Once you explain to them that it’s a check on the runaway federal government, they get it.”
At another point in an interview Niceley said he is troubled that, for many citizens, “the only thing that exceeds the ignorance is the apathy.”
“If you asked people should they even have a Legislature, 75 percent of them might say no,” he said. “They don’t realize the Legislature already selects the state treasurer, the comptroller and the secretary of state.”

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Sunday Column: Haslam More In Tune With Muddled Middle Than Supermajority

Some of the findings in this month’s Vanderbilt University poll suggest that the Republican supermajority Legislature may be a bit out of sync with the overall Tennessee electorate — at least in comparison with Gov. Bill Haslam.
In general approval ratings, Haslam came in with 63 percent; the General Assembly at 51. Both a lot better than President Barack Obama at 40 percent, much less the U.S. Congress at 21 percent.
The multi-question Vandy poll results from surveying 813 registered voters earlier this month raises the possibility the differences could actually be in tune with issues on occasion.
Consider, for example:
n On Medicaid expansion, the polling indicated 60 percent of Tennesseans support the notion, up 9 points from six months earlier, though they don’t like the Affordable Care Act.

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Vanderbilt Poll: More Tennesseans Support Medicaid Expansion (but not ‘Obamacare’)

A growing majority of Tennesseans support expansion of Medicaid within the state though most at the same time have an unfavorable impression of the federal law that authorizes expansion, according to a Vanderbilt University poll released Tuesday.
About 63 percent of the state’s registered voters have a favorable opinion of Gov. Bill Haslam, who has tentatively rejected Medicaid expansion. That’s down five points from six months ago, though Vanderbilt pollsters said the decline is “statistically insignificant” given the poll’s four point margin of error.
The survey of 813 registered voters, taken May 6-13, found solid approval for the state’s two U.S. Senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, while a more narrow 51 percent said they like the Tennessee General Assembly with its Republican “supermajority.”
Opinions were mixed on whether state sales tax collection for internet sales should be enforced. When asked if online sales taxes was bad idea, 55 percent agreed with 38 saying it was a good idea. But when the question was framed as to whether it’s fair for in-state retailers to collect the taxes while out-of-state retailers do not, the result was a 47-47 percent tie.

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Sponsor Drops Push to Strip Vanderbilt of Police Powers

A bill that would strip Vanderbilt University of its police powers is being dropped by its sponsor after an opinion from the Tennessee attorney general that it violates the U.S. constitution, according to Chas Sisk.
State Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, announced Monday that he will withdraw House Bill 1150. The measure would have taken away the Vanderbilt University Police Department’s ability to make arrests and enforce criminal laws unless the school abandons its “all-comers” nondiscrimination policy.
“I want to be sure to stand up for our students’ religious rights without overstepping our state authority,” Pody said in a prepared statement announcing he would not pursue the bill. “At this point, I am still not satisfied with the ‘all-comers policy’ at some private institutions. However, it needs to be addressed in a different way.”
Vanderbilt has battled with several student groups over a requirement that all organizations it recognizes abide by the university’s nondiscrimination policy. Religious groups say the policy tramples on their freedom of worship.

AG Issues Opinion on Vanderbilt Police Force Bill

By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The state’s attorney general has raised constitutional concerns over an effort to strip Vanderbilt University of its police force because of a nondiscrimination policy for student groups.
Attorney General Bob Cooper said in an opinion released Thursday that he sees no legal problems with requiring public colleges and universities to bar such policies. But he said it would be problematic to impose a possibly “unconstitutional condition” on a private institution.
“The General Assembly cannot assert … through an unrelated requirement that a private university abandon its right of free association,” Cooper said in the opinion.
Republican Rep. Mark Pody of Lebanon requested the opinion on his bill seeking to curtail police activity at the school if it doesn’t abandon its nondiscrimination policy among student groups.
Pody said he was disappointed by the legal opinion, but said he was still studying the analysis to see what his next steps should be.
“We could amend the bill, keep running it this way or finding a different course of action,” he said.
The Vanderbilt policy prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, genetic information or sexual orientation. To be sanctioned by the university, student groups must open membership to all students and allow all members in good standing to seek leadership posts.
Christian groups have protested the policy, saying it forces them to allow nonbelievers and gay students to join. Vanderbilt officials say about 15 student groups have refused to comply with the policy and more than 480 groups have accepted it.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam last year vetoed a more general bill seeking to ban college nondiscrimination policies because it sought to control the policies of private schools like Vanderbilt. The governor told reporters earlier in the week that he wasn’t more enamored about the renewed effort.
“I had problems with last year’s, and I’m not so certain that this isn’t just kind of a way to go around the corner and do the exact same thing,” Haslam said. “I also have questions whether any remedy that involves taking away a protective force is a good remedy.

Note: The full opinion is HERE.

Haslam Concerned About New ‘All Comers’ Bill

Gov. Bill Haslam says he’s concerned over a new bill that echoes one he vetoed last year, reports WPLN. At issue is a campus anti-discrimination policy at Vanderbilt University. It means Christian groups can’t exclude gay members, drawing ire from some in the legislature.
Last year lawmakers threatened to pull state money from Vanderbilt, over its so-called All Comers policy. It was the first time Haslam vetoed a bill. This year it’s back, now targeting the school’s police powers. Haslam says he’s still concerned. And he wants to know if this version would hold up in court.
“Remember last year we said we didn’t think it was constitutional. The attorney general later came back and said it wasn’t. We have the same concern here, if this is targeting in that way, that wouldn’t fit the constitution. So we’re trying to get a better read on that.”
Haslam stopped short of threatening another veto. His fellow Republicans in the legislature could override one with a simple majority.


Note: A vote on the bill was postponed until next week to give the attorney general time to issue an opinion validity of the legislation.