Bredesen signs bills on scholarships, home care - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Bredesen signs bills on scholarships, home care

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Phil Bredesen has signed into law bills to revise the state's lottery scholarship retention rules and expand availability of home-based care.

College students will now only need to maintain a 2.75 grade point average to keep their scholarships through their junior years, down from the previous 3.0 requirement.

The changes were made after a study by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission showed that half of all students lost their scholarships after their first year in college.

The long-term care law seeks to redirect more resources to home and community-based care over the next decade. The state currently spends almost all of its $1.2 billion long-term care budget on nursing homes.

Bredesen, a Democrat, signed the long-term care bill into law on Tuesday and planned a six-stop tour for ceremonial bill signings around the state.

"We're literally changing the culture of how we deliver long-term care services to the people of our state," Bredesen said in a release. "It's a real acknowledgment that there's no place like home."

The governor signed the lottery scholarship bill and several other measures into law late last week. They include a bill to legalize and regulate mixed martial arts fights in Tennessee through the creation of a Tennessee Athletic Commission.

The governor's approval came despite concerns over a provision to require half of any money beyond that needed to operate the commission go toward grants to NCAA Division I wrestling programs in Tennessee.

The University of Tennessee in Chattanooga is the only state school that competes at that level.

New jury selections rules approved by the governor will jettison several automatic exemptions, including for potential jurors who claimed to be "habitual drunkards."

The changes suggested by the Tennessee Judicial Council will also get rid of a requirement that potential jurors' names be drawn out of a box by a child younger than 10, or by a blindfolded adult.

The law will now only allow jurors' names to be drawn from a box if the county is unable to create an automated selection process.

Read HB0653, SB4181, HB2633 and HB3638 and on the General Assembly's Web site at: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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