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.

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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Maggart, Other House GOP Incumbents Defeated

In the 24 races where Republican state lawmakers were facing challenges, at least seven incumbents were defeated. They included two members of the House leadership: Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville, who was beaten by challenger Courtney Rogers, and Education Committee Chairman Richard Montgomery of Sevierville, who was narrowly defeated by Dale Carr. Other Republican incumbents defeated were Jim Cobb, of Spring City, who was bested by Dayton businessman Ron Travis; Linda Elam of Mt. Juliet, who lost to former Rep. Susan Lynn; Dale Ford of Jonesborough, who was defeated by James "Micah" Van Huss; Julia Hurley of Lenoir City, who was defeated by Kent Calfee of Kingston; and Don Miller of Morristown, who was defeated by Tilman Goins. Humphrey on the Hill has a wrap-up.

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Niceley Wins Faulk’s Senate Seat

Former State Rep. Frank Niceley prevailed over three others to capture the Republican nomination for the newly renumbered 8th Senatorial District. The seat is being vacated by State Sen. Mike Faulk, who opted not to seek re-election earlier this year. There is no Democratic candidate on the November general election ballot, which means Niceley should cruise to victory in November. The Rogersville Review and the Times News have more.

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Lawyers See Mixed Success in Legislative Races

Of the 25 lawyers running for 20 seats seats in the Tennessee General Assembly, several will be moving on to the fall general election. Here are results of how they fared in Thursday's primary elections.

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AG: OK to Deny Politicians Alternative Sentencing

A new Tennessee law that holds public officials more accountable for crimes related to their official position or duties is constitutional according to Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper. The law, passed by the legislature earlier this year makes elected or appointed officials ineligible for pre-trial diversion for offenses committed in their official capacity or duties of office. The opinion, requested by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, found that diversion would be considered “truly extraordinary relief” and not a “fundamental right.” The Times Free Press has more. Download the opinion

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Judicial Elections, Party Primaries on Thursday's Ballot

Voters in Tennessee will go to the polls Thursday to vote on judicial races and party primaries for general assembly seats. A report compiled by the Tennessee Bar Association shows that while the number of lawyers serving in the legislature has declined over the last several years, more lawyers are candidates this year than in the last two election cycles. See a list of the 25 lawyers running for election this year. In related news, the Secretary of State’s office recently announced that 326,876 Tennesseans voted early – shattering the previous participation record set in 2008. The office also reminds voters that they now must present an ID containing their name and photograph to cast a ballot. For information about polling places or voting requirements visit or call (877) 850-4959.

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Rogers Wants Apology for Maggart Campaign Tactic

In the race for State House District 45, Rep. Debra Maggart included opponent Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers' unlisted home number in campaign materials -- and that has Rogers calling for an apology after receiving a call claiming the devil is going to get her and her family. Maggart defends publicizing the number, saying it was used on campaign documents that were filed with the state and therefore public record. Maggart sent out an email titled, "Why is Courtney Rogers lying to you," defending her stance on gun rights and ending with a phone number for Rogers. WSMV has the story

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Hargett Calls for Investigation in Shelby Election

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett formally asked State Comptroller Justin Wilson on Friday to audit the administration of the Shelby County Election Commission and investigate election procedures and returns, where it is estimated that about 1,000 voters got the wrong ballot. State Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville and Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Chip Forrester of Nashville called separately Thursday for a state review of election results in the county, the Memphis Daily Journal reports. “This is not a witch hunt. This is not finger pointing,” Norris said. “We need to know the process works.” Forrester called for the review because he said Republican political leaders “have failed over and over again to protect our voting rights.”

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