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Posted by: Lynn Pointer on Dec 28, 2012

According to the Nashville Business Journal, Mother Jones magazine ranked Tennessee’s legislature the worst in the country in 2012. While such a ranking is obviously very subjective, and most probably reflects the liberal leanings of Mother Jones magazine, such a commentary is bothersome nonetheless. I am proud of my State and its legal system. A critical component of that system is the legislative body, formally known as the General Assembly. As its name implies, citizens from all across the State assemble to write, debate and pass laws. But this process is and should not be done in secret. The General Assembly is a representative body that needs to hear from the citizens that it represents.

One of the functions of the Sections of the Tennessee Bar Association is to review proposed legislation which may affect the area of law covered by that Section. Where appropriate, the TBA may take a stand either for or against certain legislation. As individuals, we all have our own opinions as to what may or may not be a "good" law. As lawyers, we should all want well reasoned, well crafted and effective laws, despite our personal political persuasion. Based on my review of proposed legislation over the last six years or so, I can state that not all bills that have been filed in the legislature would have made good law. The Executive Council of the Construction Law Section will be keeping a keen eye out for all proposed legislation that could affect construction law, but we need your help. If you are aware of any proposed legislation that involves construction law, please bring it to my attention. I would also very much appreciate hearing your assessment as to the merits or lack thereof of any proposed legislation. As members of the Construction Law Section we represent a very diverse clientele whose interests can vary widely on any given subject. Therefore, the Construction Law Section must avoid choosing positions that favor one particular group over another. But as lawyers, we have a "... special responsibility for the quality of justice" and should dedicate ourselves "... to justice and the public good." Preamble to the Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Tennessee.

To meet this responsibility we must support legislation that promotes the common good, but more importantly we must be prepared to speak out against legislation that does not. As we examine proposed legislation, I anticipate that we will have some spirited debate among the members of the Executive Council and within the Construction Law Section. I look forward to the debate. After all, isn't that part of what makes it great to be a lawyer?

Jerry M. Martin