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.

SCOTUS Lets Stand Decision Requiring Dark Money Disclosure

The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a lower court’s decision forcing politically active nonprofit groups to disclose the identity of any donor giving more than $200 when those groups advertise for or against political candidates, The Atlantic reports. It’s not immediately clear whether nonprofit groups that advocate for and against political candidates must retroactively disclose their funders or only do so going forward.
read more »

Casada to Run for Speaker of the House

Tennessee State House Majority Leader Glen Casada, R-Franklin, announced his plans today to run for speaker of the House, The Nashville Post reports. Casada was long presumed to make a bid for the position, as he previously ran for it against Current Speaker Beth Harwell in 2010. Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, and Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville, are also seeking the position.
read more »

Leadership Battles Already Shaping Up in Legislature

With the general election still two months away, incumbents in the state House and Senate are already positioning themselves for who will lead each legislative body. Active races are already shaping up for House Speaker and caucus leadership posts in both parties, the Memphis Daily News reports in its View from the Hill column. Find out who are the favorites.

read more »

Federal Court: North Carolina May Use Gerrymandered Map in November Elections

A panel of judges in the District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina has ruled that the state will be allowed to use its current electoral map for the November elections, despite having declared it an unconstitutional gerrymander last week, NPR reports. The judges wrote in their order that forcing the state to hastily redraw maps prior to November would “unduly interfere with the State’s electoral machinery and likely confuse voters and depress turnout.” Voting rights advocacy groups that challenged the map agreed with the court’s decision, saying they would rather voters use the current, unconstitutional map than risk depressing turnout.
read more »

Your New TBJ: Child Visitation and Lots More

Miles Mason Sr. explains in the new Tennessee Bar Journal why separating or divorcing parents should not ask children what visitation they want, and Donna Harkness writes about why the concept of Supported Decision Making is becoming more a part of planning for clients with diminished capacity. TBA President Jason M. Pannu talks about the importance of effective government relations and how the association approaches it. Read these and more in the September issue.

read more »

Legislators Host 'First in Adoption' Luncheon

Members of the Adoption Law Section of the TBA today attended the Tennessee: First in Adoption Law Luncheon hosted by Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin, and Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah. Other attendees included Deputy Governor Jim Henry, Commissioner Bonnie Hommrich, lawyers from the Department of Human Services, Thea Ramirez, founder of Adoption-Share Inc. and TBA Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs Berkley Schwarz. The “Tennessee: First in Adoption Act” makes a number of modifications in many areas of adoption and termination law, including a new, less bureaucratic surrender form, included in the Tennessee Code. The new law went into effect on July 1, 2018.
read more »

Campaign Finance Complaints Dismissed Against Harwell, Lee

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance has dismissed complaints filed against Rep. Beth Harwell and Bill Lee’s gubernatorial campaigns, The Tennessee Journal reports. Both had been accused of illegal coordination with a political action committee.
read more »

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).

read more »

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. 
read more »

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.

read more »