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.

Track Legislation of Interest to Tennessee Attorneys

The 107th Tennessee General Assembly is now in session and the TBA has a number of tools to help you track the status of legislation. Watch TBA Today for regular news updates and follow the TBA Action List to track bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in -- those it has  initiated, taken a position on, or has a policy on. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community. Find complete TBA legislative resources

TBA at Work on Emerging Judicial Election, Tort Bills

Another vehicle for addressing the manner of election for Supreme Court and appellate judges emerged this week when the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out its third conflicting proposal. The TBA remains deeply involved in the ongoing discussions to preserve the Tennessee Plan. Read more in TN Report

More Tort Changes – Bills which, as amended, require the loser to pay attorney’s fees when a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is granted (HB 3124) and limiting vicarious liability for punitive damages (HB 3125) advanced from a House Judiciary subcommittee today and could be voted on as early as next week in full committee. The TBA has worked to try to narrow and clarify these measures.

Conservatorship Law – The sponsor of a far-reaching restructuring of Tennessee's conservatorship law has agreed to a much more modest revision while the TBA undertakes a thorough review of the fiduciary and conservatorship statutes. Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville, publicly expressed his appreciation for the TBA's cooperation in this matter. The TBA applauded Odom's willingness to undertake a thoughtful examination of the issues involved. The bill, HB 2648/SB 2519, should now proceed through the legislative process with the modest changes proposed.

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'Guns in Trunks' Bill Moves to Full Senate

A measure that would prevent employers and landowners from prohibiting individuals licensed to carry guns from storing them in locked, personal vehicles is headed for a full Senate vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-1 today (Tuesday) to advance the bill after Chairwoman Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, refused a request to hear from representatives of FedEx Corp. or other large employers that oppose the bill. "I don't know that any more testimony is going to change anybody's mind," Beaver said. The News Sentinel has the story

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House Approves, Bills Now Ready for Governor's Signature

With approval by the House on Monday, legislation now headed to Gov. Haslam's desk for his signature include an anti-crime package, a bill that would allow public buildings to display "historically significant documents" including the 10 Commandments, and a bill that would encourage classroom debate over evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning.

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Carter to Run for New House District 29

Mike Carter announced Monday he will run for Tennessee's newly redrawn House District 29. JoAnne Favor, who is now running for the newly redrawn District 28, held the seat before. News 12 reports

Former State Rep Edwin Arnold Dies

Edwin Arnold, who served in the Tennessee House of Representatives and was also an assistant prosecutor, has died after being struck by a car on Saturday, March 24. He was 77. A graduate of Cumberland University School of Law, he was in the Tennessee General Assembly from 1963-67. Arnold also served Blount, Loudon and Roane counties as an assistant district attorney. His funeral was Monday at First Baptist Church in Loudon. The News Sentinel has his obituary.

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Mountain City State Rep. Not Seeking Reelection

Rep. Scotty Campbell of Mountain City became the third Republican to announce he will not run for reelection in the House. Ten Democratic incumbents have announced they won't seek re-election this year, the Commercial Appeal reports.

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AG Weighs in on Pending Legislative Issues

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper recently issued opinions on a number of issues moving through the General Assembly. In an opinion released this week, Cooper said a bill that would require businesses to allow guns in their parking lots is constitutionally defensible. He said that while the legislation, SB 3002, pits two constitutional principles against each other – the right to bear arms and the right of businesses to control their property – courts in other states have found such laws constitutional. Read more in the Tennessean's political blog. On another issue, Cooper said that the state cannot broadly drug test people as a condition of receiving welfare benefits. That opinion comes in response to several bills pending in the state legislature. Cooper states that such requirements would violate federal laws regulating Social Security, the food stamp program and the state Medicaid plan, as well as the constitutional rights of welfare recipients who have a right not be tested unless there is suspicion of illicit drug activity. The Memphis Daily News has that story.

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Lollar to Replace Hawk as Committee Chair

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell announced today that Rep. Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett, will take over as chair of the House Conservation and Environment Committee following the decision by Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, to step down from the post to focus on defending himself against charges of domestic abuse. In a statement Hawk said, "Proving my innocence will take much of my focus, so I feel relinquishing my chairmanship will best serve these goals." Because the committee plans to wrap up its work for the year in a few weeks, the speaker opted to not appoint an official replacement. Lollar is currently the committee's vice chair. TN Report has more

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House Committee Passes Merit Selection Measure

A constitutional amendment, HJR 753, passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 9-6 vote today and is now on its way to the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee. The measure would specifically place a merit-selection system in the state’s constitution for appellate judges in the state. Gavel to Gavel has details, including a video from the hearing

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