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.

Rose Wins State Senate Special Election

Covington businessman Paul Rose is the new state senator from District 32, The Daily Memphian reports. Rose was the winner over Democratic nominee Eric Coleman in yesterday’s special general election for the seat, keeping it in the Republican column. Rose will fill the unfinished term of former Sen. Mark Norris, who was nominated and confirmed last year as a federal judge. Rose's term runs to the end of 2020.
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CATALYST Students Visit Legislature for Day on the Hill

Students from the Chattanooga School of the Arts and Sciences visited the Tennessee legislature today as a part of the TBA Young Lawyers Division CATALYST program. The program solicited ideas for legislation from schools across the state, helped the students compose their own legislation, and then selected one bill to introduce at the General Assembly. The students who wrote the bill toured the Capitol today and met with Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, D-Chattanooga, as well as lobbyists and other government leaders.
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Sen. Kelsey Proposes Increasing Campaign Finance Limits for Senators

Legislation by state Sen. Brian Kelsey that could dramatically increase Senate candidate fundraising is scheduled to be heard in a committee this week, The Daily Memphian reports. Kelsey introduced his legislation recently with a handwritten amendment that rewrote the bill during a State and Local Government Committee meeting. He told committee members the amendment “was basically doubling” campaign contribution limits on the Senate side to mirror House campaign contribution limits.
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TBA Legislative Update: State of the State

Before the House chamber, Gov. Bill Lee recently delivered his first State of the State address to a joint session of the Tennessee General Assembly. He emphasized the importance of criminal justice reform and the need to move away from the “lock them up and throw away the key” mentality that he said has long prevailed in Tennessee. Lee also announced the creation of a task force, to be chaired by senior advisor and former judge Brandon Gibson, that will develop legislative and budgetary recommendations on various issues, including crime prevention, recidivism, victim support, mental health, and reforming the criminal code and sentencing guidelines. In the legislature next week, committee activity will continue to ramp up as leadership encourages members to put their bills on notice, with a target goal of May 1 for adjournment. See more legislative coverage via TBA's Legislative Updates on the TBA YouTube channel.
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TBA Weekly Video Legislative Update - March 7

The TBA's weekly livestream video legislative update is now available on Facebook. This week's update discusses the TBA's lobbying process, from bill selection all the way through committee. Catch up on all of the TBA's legislative updates on YouTube. Watch future updates every Thursday afternoon on the TBA's Facebook page.
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Party Registration Bill Advances

A new bill regarding party registration has passed the Tennessee House Elections and Campaign Finance Subcommittee, the Nashville Post reports. The bill would allow for party registration but not require it to vote in primary elections. Those who choose to register as a member of a party would be prevented from voting in another party’s primary. The legislation comes after a bill with a similar topic, which would have required party registration to vote in primaries, failed in a House committee.
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General Assembly Ramping Up for Busy March

It was a busy week at the legislature, as committees continued to ramp up to speed and more bills were placed on notice. Some lawmakers opted to run their bills early in session to avoid the inevitable rush that takes place in April, and other committees dedicated their entire calendars to bills addressing certain topics. Several house subcommittees also announced last calendars for the week of March 11, as leadership continues to press things along on a schedule to allow the legislature to adjourn sometime in early May. On Monday, Gov. Bill Lee will address a joint convention of the legislature to deliver his first State of the State address. Lee’s speech will highlight his key initiatives and priorities, and will likely include issues such as increased funding for school safety, greater resources for mental illness treatment, and an increased focus on having students ready for the workforce out of high school. 
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TBA Weekly Legislative Update Focuses on Non-TBA Bills

The TBA's weekly livestream legislative update was posted today. This week's edition focused on bills that have been filed that were not TBA bills but still have ramifications for the legal community. Watch the video here, and add a question in the comments - it could be answered in a future livestream.

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Bill Would Prevent Court Officials From Recognizing Same-Sex Unions

A new bill introduced into the Tennessee legislature that targets the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage would prohibit government officials from recognizing any court ruling that affirms LGBT unions, The Tennessean reports. Another provision in the bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Pody and Rep. Jerry Sexton, requires the state attorney general to defend the proposal in any subsequent court challenges. On Friday, the Fiscal Review Committee released an analysis of the bill, known as a fiscal note, which found it “could jeopardize federal funding if it is determined the state is in noncompliance with federal law.”
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Bill Would Make It Easier to Get Concealed Carry Permit in Tennessee

A bill has been introduced in the legislature that would lessen requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit, The Tennessean reports. Under the current system, individuals must pay $100, take an eight-hour training course and undergo a background check. The new proposal, which sponsor Rep. Andy Holt says was designed to make the process cheaper for permit-seekers, would reduce the number of training hours required to two. It would also allow people to renew their permit every eight years instead of every five.
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