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.

Country Music Songwriter Aims for Congress

Lee Thomas Miller, a country music songwriter and conservative advocate, is heading towards a run for the 7th district congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, the Nashville Post reports. Miller, who has composed hits for the likes of Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley, has led volunteer lobbying efforts for the Nashville Songwriters Association International in the past. He says his timeline for jumping in the race is “sooner rather than later.” Currently, the only announced Republican candidate in the race is state Sen. Mark Green.
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Poll: Black, Dean, Harwell Score High Approval Ratings in Gubernatorial Race

According to a recent poll from Middle Tennessee State University, U.S. Rep. Diane Black and former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean have the highest approval ratings in the primary race among the announced gubernatorial candidates, The Tennessean reports. When combining results from both parties together, Dean and Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell have the highest approval. The same poll tested potential U.S. Senate candidates and found that Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and former Gov. Phil Bredesen had “statistically indistinguishable” approval ratings. Notably, announced Republican candidate Stephen Fincher, a former Tennessee Congressman, was not included in the poll.
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TBI Questions House Majority Leader About Possible Durham Bribery

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation recently interviewed two state legislators about ousted Rep. Jeremy Durham, specifically asking questions about bribery, The Tennessean reports. House Majority Leader Glen Casada, R-Franklin, and Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, confirmed they were questioned by TBI agents about Durham related to bribery. Casada said that the agents asked him if he knew anything about Durham receiving favors or money in exchange for sponsoring legislation. He said he did not. 
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11 Tennessee DAs Join Black’s ‘Law and Order’ Coalition

Gubernatorial candidate Diane Black yesterday announced a statewide “Law and Order Coalition” with 23 sheriffs and 11 district attorneys backing her campaign, The Tennessean reports. Among the co-chairs are Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich, Sumner County District Attorney General Ray Whitley and 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson.
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Former State Rep. Considers Run for 7th District Congressional Seat

Former state representative and current vice mayor of the city of Bolivar, Page Walley, says he is interested in running for Congress in the 7th District, Humphrey on the Hill reports. Walley served as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, in addition to his five terms in the state House. The 7th District is currently represented by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is vacating the seat to run for U.S. Senate.
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Nashville Attorney Seeks Beth Harwell’s House Seat

A Nashville attorney will seek the Republican nomination for the state House seat currently occupied by Speaker Beth Harwell, the Nashville Post reports. Joseph Williams is the second Republican to toss his hat into the ring after Harwell announced she would run for governor instead of reelection. Also in the race is a physician, Brent Moody, who will face Williams in the primary. Democrat Bob Freeman is considering a bid for the position as well.
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CLE on Drafting Legislation for the General Assembly: A Pathway to Excellence

CLE on drafting legislation for the General Assembly will be held tomorrow at the Tennessee Bar Center. Attendees will take away templates and samples of legislation, form and style guidelines used by the Tennessee General Assembly, and a very helpful drafter’s checklist. If you have ever wanted to develop your ability to help your firm or a client with a legislative issue, this program is for you.

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Tennessee Ethics Commission Fines Former Rep. Durham $30K

The Tennessee Ethics Commission voted to impose a $30,000 fine on former state Rep. Jeremy Durham, Humphrey on the Hill reports. Durham already faces fines totaling $465,000 from the Registry of Election Finance for violation of campaign finance laws. The new fines were imposed for offenses such as writing a $25,000 loan from his campaign account to his wife, as well as another loan to a prominent Republican donor.
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TBA Hosts Sessions for Attorneys Interested in Seeking Public Office

The TBA today hosted two workshops with information, advice and encouragement for attorneys interested in running for local public office. The events, held in Jackson and Columbia, featured local elected officials sharing their experiences from the campaign trail and beyond. Jackson’s workshop featured Lexington City School Board member Chad Wood and City Council member Scott Conger as guest speakers, with TBA Communications Coordinator Katharine Heriges as the panel moderator and presenter. In Columbia, TBA Young Lawyers Division President-elect Christian Barker served as the moderator to a panel featuring Maury County School Board member Kristin Parker and Spring Hill City Alderman Kevin Gavigan.
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Olsen Announces Run for 1st U.S. Congressional District

East Tennessee State University professor and medical practitioner Martin Olsen has formally announced his bid for the Tennessee 1st District U.S. House seat, the Johnson City Press reports. Olsen, who first indicated his interest in the seat back in August, will run as a Democrat and challenge Rep. Phil Roe for the seat. He said he plans on running on a platform of responsible change, as well as jobs, education and health care.
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