Tennessee

A proposal that seeks to lift a cap on contributions from political action committees is once again advancing in the Tennessee legislature. The measure sponsored by Rep. Glen Casada had been withdrawn. But the Franklin Republican revived the measure and the House State and Local Government Committee moved it out Monday on a 6-4 vote.

A proposal to drug test people as a condition for receiving welfare in Tennessee is advancing in the House. The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Julia Hurly of Lenoir City was approved on a voice vote in the House Finance Committee Monday. The companion bill is awaiting a Senate floor vote.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville will participate in a nationwide clinical study about the use of deep brain stimulation as an intervention for patients with major depression. The stimulation uses mild pulses of current to regulate specific areas of the brain, much like a pacemaker uses pulses of current to regulate the heart.

Creative Commons

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has scored three legislative victories regarding food and inheritance taxes, and a civil service reform bill. Members of the Tennessee House have voted to cut the state’s tax on food by a quarter of a percentage point, and they agreed to gradually eliminate Tennessee’s tax in inheritance by 2016.

Tennessee is seeing an increased number of proposals for charter schools. The rise in applications is largely due to a recent change in state law that no longer limits charters to low-income students from failing classrooms. The Tennessean reports that in Nashville alone eleven groups have applied to create new charter school operations.

Vanderbilt University

Tennessee lawmakers are looking at legislation that would prevent state universities from extending non-discrimination policies to campus religious groups.  A Tennessee Senate committee has unanimously approved a bill what would forbid the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Board of Regents Systems from applying non-discrimination rules to faith-based campus organizations.

Nashville, TN – The Drug Enforcement Agency in Nashville says several factors could lead to an increase in heroin abuse in the region. Agent Mike Stanfill tells WKU Public Radio high school and college aged white men are increasingly smoking and snorting the drug because they think it's safer than injecting it with a needle. Another reason is the increasing cost of prescription pain pills is driving some addicts to cheaper ways to get high. Kevin Willis has more.

Nashville, TN – David Penson is a man who spends a lot of time thinking about the health of the country. The Professor of Urologic Surgery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville served as co-chair of the advisory panel that authored the recent "Tennessee Men's Health Report Card." Dr. Penson said he was amazed to see in how many instances poor personal choices lead to nationwide health problems. He spoke to WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis.

Bowling Green, Ky – Millions of Americans swear by the morning cup of coffee. A growing body of research suggests coffee has several positive health benefits. In this report, Kevin Willis speaks with Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University, and Justin Shepherd, owner of Spencer's Coffeehouse in Bowling Green.

Nashville, TN – As a special web exclusive, WKU Public Radio is offering the complete, half-hour conversation between Nashville Symphony conductor and music director Giancarlo Guerrero and Kevin Willis.

Nashville, TN – Giancarlo Guerrero is a man at the helm of one of the top up-and-coming orchestras in the country. As conductor and music director of the Nashville Symphony, Guerrero is in a unique position to address the many challenges facing orchestras and the American classical music industry. In this interview with WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis, Guerrero talks about attracting audiences for new music, the threats posed by cutting musical education in schools, and his own favorite pieces of music.

Nashville, TN – One researcher who contributed to the 2009 Tennessee Women's Health Report Card says the results show the state is paying for unhealthy lifestyles. The first-of-its-kind effort in Tennessee gives the state failing or near-failing grades in categories such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. We spoke with Dr. Katherine Hartmann, Director of Women's Health Research at Vanderbilt University, and Tennessee Health Commissioner Susan Collins.

Nashville, TN – All over the world, scientists are trying to unlock the secrets of the human brain. At Vanderbilt University in Nashville, researchers are engaged in cutting-edge experiments designed to reveal how we arrive at legal decisions, such as guilt and innocence. As Kevin Willis reports, the research could help us understand how juries and judges administer verdicts.

Nashville, TN – A one-of-a-kind partnership is taking place between Vanderbilt University and Johnson & Johnson that could change the way pharmaceutical drugs are produced. Normally, universities conduct general research and publish their findings in journals. Now, researchers at Vanderbilt are looking to discover new molecules that will lead to schizophrenia medications. Kevin Willis visited Vanderbilt University to meet the director of the school's drug discovery program.

Nashville, TN – Saddam Hussein is standing trial for the gassing deaths of thousands of Kurdish civilians in the late 1980s. In Nashville, this country's largest Kurdish community is hoping the ex-dictator finally sees justice for the genocide. We hear from Tahir Hussein, head of the Nashville Kurdish Forum. This is taken from a 2005 award-winning documentary called "Saddam On Trial", produced by Western's Public Radio.

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