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.

Governor Signs Bill, Occupy Protestors Given One Week to Vacate

Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill today banning unauthorized camping on public grounds, giving notice to Occupy Nashville protestors. The Department of General Services announced that beginning a week from today it will start enforcing a new state law that punishes unauthorized camping with up to a $2,500 fine and 11 months, 29 days in jail. The Tennessean has the story.

House Sponsor Stands by 'Don't Say Gay' Bill

The Republican sponsor of a proposal to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students said Tuesday that he's not backing off the legislation despite concerns from GOP leaders. Rep. Joey Hensley of Hohenwald acknowledged the proposal's language needs more work to avoid any unintended consequences but said, "It's certainly not off the table. We're moving forward with it." The Memphis Daily News reports

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Sen. Berke Will Not Seek Re-election

Senator Andy Berke announced today that he will not seek re-election to the State Senate District 10 seat he has held since 2007. He has not announced his future political plans, but there is much speculation that he may run in the Chattanooga mayoral race. Chattanoogan.com has more.

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Legislative Reference Updated for iPhone

For more than 30 years, Capitol Hill insiders have relied upon a booklet published by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association to provide a quick and easy reference to who is who in the General Assembly. Now you can get the information on your iPhone -- and soon your iPad and Droid, too. It’s available at iTunes for $4.99.

More Tort Reform Proposals to Come, Including ‘Loser Pay’

The same coalition of businesspeople that helped sell the governor’s tort reform package, which became the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011, this year wants more limitations imposed in civil lawsuits, including a handful of bills targeting the losing side in civil cases and litigants who refuse to settle lawsuits.

One bill would require a party who loses a motion to dismiss to pay the litigation costs of the opposing party. Read more in the Tennessean.

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