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.

Clayton Threatens FEC Complaint Against Party

Mark Clayton, presumptive Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, has called on Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester to resign or be dismissed from his post for refusing to support a party nominee and using party resources to attack “a duly elected nominee.” The Democratic Party has disavowed Clayton and was pursuing options this week for invalidating his primary win and holding a new election. Clayton said that if Forrester is not out of office by Monday, he plans to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission. The News Sentinel reports

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Kernell Leaves 'Dream Job' After 38 Years

Rep. Mike Kernell talks with the Memphis Daily News about his 38 years in the House, calling it "a dream job." Kernell lost in last week's primary to fellow Democratic incumbent G.A. Hardaway. “We just flat ran out of money,” Kernell said. The District 93 race was where local election officials first acknowledged voters received incorrect ballots. By some estimates several hundred votes were affected. But with Hardaway's unofficial margin exceeding 1,000 votes, Kernell said he is unlikely to challenge the result.

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Former Sen. Ford Out of Prison This Month

Former state senator John Ford should be released from prison later this month after more than four years behind bars, his brother, Edmund Ford Sr., said today. The Memphis Democrat reported to prison on April 28, 2008, following a bribery conviction. He is expected to be released to a halfway house in less than two weeks, his brother said. Read more in the Commercial Appeal

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Casada to Support Harwell for Speaker

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, told the Associated Press that he won't make another run for Speaker of the House despite the defeat of seven Republican House incumbents in last week's primary races. "Beth's done a good job and I will be supporting Beth for speaker next year," Casada said. Casada was considered the favorite for the speakership after Republicans picked up 14 seats in the 99-member chamber in 2010. But Harwell, a former professor and state Republican Party chairwoman, won the caucus nomination in a secret ballot. The News Sentinel reports

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Commission Asks Legislators for All Correspondence on School Issue

Lawyers handling the Shelby County Commission's municipal school-district lawsuit have asked the entire Tennessee legislature for "all communications or letters," including e-mail, regarding the consolidation of the city and county schools and the creation of new municipal school districts. The request by lawyers from the Baker Donelson law firm includes communications from "any citizen, constituents, residents or anyone else," legislative administrators said today. The request is not a subpoena but legislative officials said they are complying and sent a letter Friday to all 132 members of the General Assembly and their aides asking them if they had anything they felt fell under the scope of the request. The Commercial Appeal has more

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Election a 'Mixed Bag' for Challengers

Thursday's state legislative primary results likely signal more infighting among Republicans in the next two-year legislative term, particularly between the GOP's pro-business and tea party wings in the House, the Commercial Appeal argues. The paper calls the results "a mixed bag" for more conservative challengers.  Read its election follow-up

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Mallicote May Contest Primary Results

Tennessee 2nd House District challenger Ben Mallicote said today he hasn’t ruled out contesting his narrow loss to incumbent state Rep. Tony Shipley in the Republican primary by 11 votes, the Times-News reports. Tennessee law does not permit a recount, only a “contest” which may only be filed by a candidate or the incumbent office holder, according to Sullivan County Elections Administrator Jason Booher.

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Gray to Face Williams; Phillip North is Nominee

Primary election coverage in Friday's issue of TBA Today contained two inaccuracies. Thomas Gray in the 4th District will face former Speaker and Independent candidate Kent Williams. The story also incorrectly identified Phillip North, Democratic nominee in the substantially redrawn Senate District 20 in Nashville. We regret the errors. Review the corrected results

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More Lawyers in House Assured; Senate Suffers from Retirements

With results in a couple of races still uncertain, one thing is clear about the next General Assembly: there will be more lawyers in the House. In the Senate, retirements left a big gap to fill.

In the House, there will be at least five lawyers and possibly as many as nine when the legislature returns in January. Four incumbents -- Craig Fitzhugh, Mike Stewart, Vance Dennis and John Mark Windle -- are expected to return after receiving their party's nod. Linda Elam is the only incumbent lawyer who did not qualify to return.

Mike Carter will represent Ooltewah after claiming the Republican nomination there and Jeremy Durham will represent a portion of Williamson. Neither face Democratic opposition. In the 4th District, Thomas Gray was unopposed in the Republican primary and has no Democratic opponent. He will, however, face former Speaker and Independent candidate Kent Williams in the general election.

One race between Steven Glaser and William Lambert will feature a faceoff between two lawyers assuring a sixth seat. Sevierville lawyer Andrew Farmer is the Republican nominee in the heavily Republican 3rd District.

In the Senate, three incumbent Republican lawyer lawmakers -- Doug Overbey, Ken Yager and Mark Norris -- should return, along with Democratic Leader Jim Kyle, after each won their party races. With the retirement of Mike Faulk, Andy Berke, Roy Herron and Joe Haynes, the number of lawyers in the upper chamber will decline by at least one. Lawyer candidates Tim Barnes, John Stephens and Phillip North all face what are expected to be hard fought fall campaigns to keep the body close to what it was in 2012.

Read complete legislative results and other election news now

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Five State Democrat Incumbents Lose

Among Democrats in the state House, at least four incumbents were unseated, mostly due to redistricting that pitted incumbents against each other. In Chattanooga, Rep. JoAnn Favors defeated Rep. Tommie Brown. In Memphis, Rep. John DeBerry defeated Rep. Jeanne Richardson and Rep. G.A. Hardaway defeated Rep. Mike Kernell. And in Nashville, Rep. Mary Pruitt defeated by Harold Love Jr. by just 40 votes. In the Senate, Jim Kyle defeated colleague Beverly Marrero. Humphrey on the Hill has a wrap-up

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