Government Affairs Update

Follow the TBA's efforts to influence federal and state policy as it fulfills one of the core missions of the association – advocacy for the profession and for our system of justice.

Tennessee Senate Candidates Respond to Roy Moore Allegations

With Republicans nationally, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step down amid sexual misconduct allegations, Tennessee’s GOP U.S. Senate candidates are speaking up in response. The Tennessean reports that U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, said that she cannot support Moore’s candidacy if the “extremely disturbing” allegations are true, but that “it’s up to the people of Alabama to ultimately decide." Former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher declined to directly address the case, only echoing Blackburn’s statement that it’s “up to Alabama voters.” Current Sen. Lamar Alexander has called for Moore to withdraw, and Sen. Bob Corker has also spoken out against Moore.
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Andy Ogles Quits U.S. Senate Bid

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Andy Ogles has ended his campaign, effective immediately, The Tennessean reports. Ogles entered the race when incumbent Sen. Bob Corker was still considering a re-election run. Ogles said that with Corker out of the race, his situation has changed. He said that he no longer saw a path to victory with two Republican candidates in the race who each have the potential to raise millions. Current U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher have both announced runs for the Republican nomination in the weeks following Corker's decision.
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State Rep. Favors Will Not Seek Re-election

Tennessee State House Rep. JoAnne Favors announced this week that she will not seek re-election for her District 28 seat, Chattanoogan.com reports. Favors has been in office since 2004, representing portions of the city of Chattanooga, and currently serves on the Opioid Task Force, the Health Committee, Health Sub-Committee and the Business and Utilities Committee. She is also the House Democratic Whip and the vice chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators. 
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Bankers Association Names New General Counsel

The Tennessee Bankers Association has chosen Amy Smith Heaslet to serve as the organization’s new general counsel, the Nashville Post reports. Healset will replace Tim Amos, who left to start his own legal and government affairs firm earlier this year. She has been with the group since 2009 as associate counsel, and previously worked as assistant general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
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Doss Will Face Primary Challenger in House District 70 Race

Rep. Barry Doss, an incumbent Republican in the Tennessee House for District 70, will face a primary challenger in 2018. Humphrey on the Hill reports that Clay Doggett, a businessman from Pulaski, has announced he will seek the GOP nomination for the seat. Doss, of Leoma, currently serves as the House Transportation Committee chairman and served as the House sponsor for Gov. Bill Haslam’s IMPROVE Act last session.
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SCOTUS to Review Law Banning Political Apparel at Polling Locations

The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to review a Minnesota law that bans political apparel and insignias at Election Day polling places, the ABA Journal reports. The challengers claimed the law violated their rights to free speech. The Minnesota law defines banned apparel as material promoting a group with recognizable political views. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the challenge in February because states have a legitimate interest in upholding “peace, order and decorum” at polling locations.
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Henderson County Mayor to Run for House District 72

Henderson County Mayor Dan Hughes officially launched his campaign for the Tennessee House of Representatives District 72 seat yesterday, The Jackson Sun reports. Current representative for the district, Steve McDaniel, announced plans to retire at the end of his term next year. District 72 covers Chester, Decatur, Henderson and Perry counties. Hughes will run as a Republican.
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Freeman to Run for Harwell’s Nashville House Seat

Bob Freeman, a real estate professional and son of former Nashville mayoral candidate Bill Freeman, officially announced over the weekend his run for Tennessee House District 56, the seat currently occupied by departing House Speaker Beth Harwell. The Tennessean reports that Freeman is the only Democrat currently in the race, while Brent Moody, a surgeon, and Joseph Williams, an attorney, are running on the Republican side. Freeman is the co-founder of Freeman Applegate Partners, a consulting and construction firm.
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Toyos Clinics Founder Adds Name to GOP Senate Field

The field of candidates to replace U.S. Sen. Bob Corker grew by one Wednesday, when doctor and eye care entrepreneur Rolando Toyos announced his campaign for the GOP nomination, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. The son of Hispanic immigrants, Toyos grew his eye care business from one location in Jackson to its current five locations. Toyos faces U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and former U.S. Rep. Steve Fincher for the Republican nomination. The only Democrat to announce so far is Nashville attorney and Iraq war veteran James Mackler. Former Gov. Phil Bredesen and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke are also exploring bids.

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Legislators to Allow Guns in Their New Offices

People with valid carry permits will be allowed to bring their firearms into the Tennessee General Assembly's new home, the Cordell Hull Building. House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally announced the new policy in a joint statement. The Tennessean reports that permit holders wishing to carry their firearms into Cordell Hull will be required to present their permit at security to gain entry.

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