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.

McDaniel Retiring from State Legislature

State Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Parker’s Crossroads) announced he will retire next year after his 15th term in office, the Nashville Post reports. McDaniel is tied with Beth Harwell as the longest serving legislator in the House and currently serves as deputy speaker. He serves as chair of the House Ethics Committee, the Rules Committee, and the Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee. McDaniel also spearheaded the Heritage Protection Act, a law that prevents local municipalities or the state government from removing or renaming anything associated with the Confederacy.
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Haslam, Berke, Blackburn Among Names Considering Senate Run

Several Tennessee politicians are considering a race for the Senate following Bob Corker's Tuesday announcement that he will not seek a third term.  The Tennessean reports that Gov. Bill Haslam is considering the race, telling reporters that he talked to Corker himself about it. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn said she would make an announcement about her potential campaign by the end of the week. On the Democratic side, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said he was mulling a bid for the nomination, and Nashville state Sen. Jeff Yarbro confirmed that he was considering it as well. Currently, conservative activist Andy Ogles is the only announced candidate for the Republicans, while attorney and military veteran James Mackler has been the most active candidate for the Democrats.
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Sen. Corker Will Not Seek Reelection

Sen. Bob Corker will not seek reelection for the Senate next year, The Tennessean reports. Corker has served for two terms and chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Conservative activist Andy Ogles has already announced plans to run for the Republican nomination for the seat, and with this announcement more are expected to join the field.
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Diane Black Deposed in Campaign Ad Lawsuit

Congresswoman and gubernatorial candidate Diane Black faced a deposition yesterday in a lawsuit related to a TV ad that ran during her first campaign for Congress, the Associated Press reports. One of Black’s opponents in the campaign, Lou Ann Zelenik, ran ads critical of state Senate votes Black had cast, which provided $1 million in contracts to Aegis Sciences, a company run by Black’s husband. Aegis sued Zelenik for defamation but the case was dismissed and an appeals court upheld the ruling. Zelenik is now suing for malice and willful intent.
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Nashville Auto Dealer Lee Beaman Forms Super PAC to Back Corker Primary Opponent

Prominent conservative car dealer Lee Beaman announced the creation of a Super PAC to back Andy Ogles, candidate for the U.S. Senate seeking to replace Sen. Bob Corker in a Republican primary, the Times Free Press reports. Beaman, of Nashville, said he plans to raise $4 million to fight for “dependable conservative Senate representation for Tennessee.” Ogles served as the director of the Tennessee chapter of the Koch-brothers’ Americans for Prosperity until last week, when he stepped down to run for Corker's seat. Yesterday, reports surfaced that President Donald Trump was encouraging Corker to run for reelection, but the sitting senator has not yet officially confirmed his reelection bid.
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Burke Announces Run for State House

Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee member Rebecca Burke announced plans to challenge longtime Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, for the Williamson County district seat he has held since 1997, the Tennessean reports. Sargent serves as the head of the State House Finance, Ways and Means Committee. Burke served on the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and completes her term on the Republican Party Executive Committee as she competes in the August 2018 primary. 

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Clean Water Advocate Files to Run for 2nd Congressional District

Renee Hoyos, the executive director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network, has declared an intent to run for Congress in the 2nd District seat, currently occupied by Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., the Nashville Post reports. Hoyos is the second Democrat to seek the position, and her entering the race will force a primary with candidate Joshua Williams. The winner will face one of four Republicans vying for the seat: state Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City), Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Ken Gross and Brad Fullington.
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State Lawmakers Cast Doubts on Future Outsourcing Plans

State lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction with outsourcing yesterday during a meeting of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on investigations and oversight, the Tennessean reports. Subcommittee members said they would push for a more critical review of outsourcing during the next legislative session. Gov. Bill Haslam has pushed for outsourcing at state properties like universities and parks.
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Tennesseans Can Now Register to Vote Online

The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office will officially roll out online voter registration next week across the state, the Tennessean reports. The new option, which gets Tennessee up to speed with the majority of U.S. states that already offer the service, comes as a result of a law passed last year. In addition to registering new voters, the online system will allow current voters to update their contact information. 
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Memphis Councilman Calls for Special Legislative Session On Confederate Monuments

Memphis City Councilman Bill Morrison is urging officials to call for a special legislative session to repeal the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act of 2016, which protects Confederate statues and monuments. Humphrey on the Hill reports that Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, has also introduced a bill that would exempt Shelby County from the law, but it would not be considered until the next legislative cycle in January unless a special session is called. Morrison said that the law is “wrong and must be repealed. It doesn’t protect our heritage. It only serves to protect memories of white supremacy and shrines for modern-day followers.”
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