NASHVILLE - The Bredesen administration plans to present an "omnibus" amendment later today to try to smooth the passage of its higher education reform legislation.
House Speaker Kent Williams, a Carter County Republican, said the purpose of the amendment is to address concerns about research-related issues at the state's public universities.
Among other things, lawmakers and higher education officials said, the amendment is intended to deal with University of Memphis concerns.
The university has complained that its research ambitions were not being recognized in Gov. Phil Bredesen's proposed overhaul. The original bill mentions an ambitious new research-related project involving the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in conjunction with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, but it doesn't mention any other schools.
The "omnibus" amendment, officials and Rep. Williams said, will also contain language reassuring State Board of Regents institutions - including the University of Memphis - that they will not be excluded from cooperating or doing research with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is operated by a partnership created several years ago by the University of Tennessee and Battelle, a nonprofit research corporation.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.