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Senator Lamar Alexander convinced the Senate to pass his bill to help reduce premature births in the state.

Alexander says 12 percent of Tennessee babies are born prematurely. His bill expands research, education, and intervention activities to reduce infant deaths and disabilities.

Senator Alexander thanked his colleagues for focusing on a cause that will help thousands here in Tennessee.

"We have made great progress since we first put the spotlight on premature birth, but it remains a leading killer of newborns and a major cause of lasting disabilities," he said.

The House must still approve the bill.