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Nashville Students Dominate TN Redistricting Map Contest

News release from League of Women Voters:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville-area high school students dominated the TN Redistricting: Map It Out! contest, sweeping three of the four winning categories.
John Overton High School won in the category for Best High School Map. Michael Earhart, a senior at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, took top honors in the Best State House Map and Best State Senate Map categories. Nashville resident Dave Rosenberg won the Best Congressional Map category.
The winners in each category received $1,000 from the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, which sponsored the nonpartisan, statewide contest, designed to educate residents about the redistricting process.
The League recognized the winners at an awards ceremony held at the First Amendment Center.
Participating educators were awarded a cash stipend for leading their students in the redistricting contest.
“The League of Women Voters of Tennessee congratulates all of the winners of TN Redistricting: Map It Out!,” said Margie Parsley, president of the League. “I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the contest. I am especially proud of the 150 students from across the state who took the time to draw maps, either in groups or as individuals. Although the contest has ended, the League will continue to educate the public about the redistricting process.”
The Tennessee General Assembly must propose new electoral districts every 10 years to reflect shifts in the state’s population and to comply with the nation’s “one man, one vote” law. In a recent telephone poll of registered voters conducted by Vanderbilt University, 72 percent of those surveyed said that it was important to place communities and cities in the same district as much as possible when redistricting.
The contest received a total of 20 entries from all corners of the state. Each map was judged on the following criteria:
o Compactness. Are all parts of the district within a close geographic area?
o Community Preservation. Are counties kept intact as much as possible?
o Population. Is the variance from the ideal population as small as practicable?
o Competitiveness. Are there districts that could be won by either party?
Contest judges included:
· The Honorable Mischelle Alexander-Best, a former judge of Division XI of General Sessions Court in Shelby County who currently serves as a public defender. She is a teacher at Lemoyne-Owen College and Strayer University and has more than 15 years of teaching experience. Alexander-Best holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Juris Doctorate from Memphis State University (University of Memphis).
· Dr. Bruce Ralston. Ralston is a professor emeritus of geography at the University of Tennessee and specializes in transportation and geographic information science. During his career, Ralston has developed software for and served as a consultant to the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, the Southern Africa Development Conference and the World Food Program. He holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University.
· Dr. Carrie Elizabeth Russell holds a bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. She currently serves as a Public Law course teacher and a political science lecturer at Vanderbilt University. Before earning her Ph.D., Russell worked as a judicial clerk for Tennessee’s 20th Judicial District.
To request an electronic version of the winning maps, please send an email to info@tnmapitout.org. A complete list of contest rules and judging criteria can be found at www.tnmapitout.org.

AP’s Winner/Loser List for 2011 Legislative Session

Here is a look at some of the legislation that has either succeeded or failed during the first session of the 107th Tennessee General Assembly.
ABORTION RESOLUTION. Places proposed constitutional amendment to allow greater limits to be placed on abortions on 2014 ballot. SJR0127. Requires no signature from governor.
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LIMITS. Prohibits local governments from creating anti-discrimination laws that are stricter than the state’s. HB0600.
CHARTER SCHOOLS. Removes cap on charter schools in Tennessee and opens enrollment. SB1523.
CHILD CUSTODY. Requires judges to consider how to maximize a parent’s involvement in a child’s life when making custody decisions. SB0803.
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. Replaces teachers’ collective bargaining rights with a concept called collaborative conferencing. HB0130.
CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS. Allows corporations to make direct contributions to political candidates. SB1915.
EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. Reinstates benefits for 28,000 jobless people in Tennessee. HB2156.

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