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.

Hawk Joins Race for House Speaker Post

Republican Rep. David Hawk of Greeneville is running for speaker of the House, hoping to succeed Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) who gave up the post to seek the governorship, TNJ: On the Hill reports. Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) earlier announced his bid for the post and will likely be joined in the race by Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin).

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Oral Arguments Heard in Jeremy Durham Case

Three federal judges from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments from attorneys in ousted lawmaker Jeremy Durham’s appeal to continue receiving benefits from the state, The Tennessean reports. Durham’s attorney Bill Harbison argued that that his client was deprived of due process after U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger dismissed his case back in December. Janet Kleinfelter, representing the state’s Department of Finance and Administration commissioner, Treasurer and Director of Legislative Administration, argued that Durham’s lawsuit was inappropriate because he did not adequately say why he should still receive state benefits. 
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Early Voting Ends Saturday for Tennessee Primary

Early voting for the Aug. 2 primary election ends Saturday, so head to the polls now or wait for election day. So far about a half million Tennesseans have cast their ballots, 292,971 in the Republican primary and 147,246 in the Democratic primary, according to the Secretary of State's website, where you can also find your polling place.

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Outside Groups Set to Spend Millions in Tennessee Senate Race

Spending in Tennessee's upcoming senatorial election is expected to ramp up soon. Citing a report in The Hill, the Nashville Post reports that the Senate Leadership Fund, a group that backs Republican Senate candidates, will start placing ads the week of Sept. 11, with more than $4.4 million in airtime already booked. The newspaper further reports that Senate Majority PAC, a group supporting Democrats, has booked $3.4 million in airtime beginning in October.

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Former Tennessee House Minority Leader Dies at 83

Tom Jensen, a community leader and a Republican who served in the state House of Representatives as House Minority Leader, died today, Knoxnews reports. He was 83. Jenson served in the legislature from 1966 to 1978, after which he ran for the East Tennessee seat on the then-Public Service Commission. He also was a former president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group representing the nation’s 8,000 state lawmakers. Jenson became a member and chair of the board of commissioners of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, where he helped McGhee Tyson Airport become a testing site for prototype devices for safety and security. Eventually the National Safe Skies Alliance, a consortium of organizations involved in the aviation security industry, was born, and Jenson remained there until his retirement in 2012.

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Appellate Court Upholds DUI Conviction for Former State Rep.

The Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee at Knoxville has upheld the 2015 DUI conviction of a former Rhea County lawmaker, the Rhea Herald News reports. The appellate court upheld the decision of the Rhea County Circuit Court in finding former State Rep. Jim Cobb guilty of driving under the influence. Cobb argued that the evidence was insufficient and that the trial court erred in denying his request for jury instruction on character witnesses. 
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Tennessee Last in the Nation in Voting

The state of Tennessee is 50th in the nation in voter turnout and 40th in voter registration, Knoxnews reports. Only 28.5 percent of Tennesseans voted in the 2014 midterm elections, according a PEW Charitable Trust analysis. Of the state’s 95 counties, only five are above the national average of 65 percent in active voter registration numbers.
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Early Voting Begins Today in Tennessee

Early voting in the state primary election began today across Tennessee and will continue until July 28. For a list of voting locations in your county, visit the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website to find your county election commission office. Election Day is Aug. 2.
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Tennessee Democrats File Suit Over Republican Primary Candidate Switch

The Tennessee Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit against the Hamilton County Election Commission over the House District 26 Republican primary ballot, in which incumbent Rep. Gerald McCormick withdrew his name and was replaced with a former state GOP party chair, the Times Free Press reports. The lawsuit claims that McCormick's sudden withdrawal in June doesn’t meet legal requirements to reopen the qualifying process.
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State Rep. Lollar Dead at 69

Tennessee state Rep. Ron Lollar (R-Bartlett) died early this morning, NewsChannel 5 reports. He was 69. Lollar was first elected to represent part of Shelby County in the House in 2006. Lollar was a Vietnam veteran, having served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1967 until 1971. House Speaker Beth Harwell said Lollar served with tireless advocacy for Tennessee students and agricultural issues. "For more than a decade, he served the 99th district with deep dedication and was a strong voice in the TN General Assembly. His presence will be missed in the Capitol and across the state," said Gov. Bill Haslam.

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