McNally Amendment Lingers; Judicial Selection Bills Move

Consideration of the budget amendment sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chair Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, that the TBA and others are vigorously opposing, was again deferred during public sessions today. The amendment (#271) strips all state funding -- $3.3 million -- from legal aid, transfers responsibility for administration of all appointed counsel and guardians ad litem to the state public defenders conference, and eliminates funds included in the Governor’s budget amendment to make up for chronic underfunding of the Davidson and Shelby county public defenders’ offices.

Meanwhile, the Senate Government Operations Committee moved bills extending the life of the Judicial Nominating Commission (SB 566/HB 796 and SB 215/HB 364) and the judicial Performance Evaluation commission (SB 567/HB 835 and SB 216/HB 695) to the floor. Both bodies would be extended until June 30, 2014, as amended. This would assure operation of the Tennessee Plan for merit selection through the 2014 elections.