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.

Sheila Butt to Retire from State House

Tennessee state House Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, announced this week that she will not run for reelection in 2018, The Columbia Daily Herald reports. Butt was first elected to the seat in 2010. She said that after her term is complete next year, she will devote her time to her ministry, called “Sisters, Servants and Soldiers.” Butt’s District 64 encompasses most of Maury County, but excludes downtown Columbia and a sliver of the western portion of the county. 
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Former Gov. Phil Bredesen to Run for U.S. Senate

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen will officially enter the race for the U.S. Senate seat that Sen. Bob Corker will be vacating after his term ends in 2018, The Tennessean reports. Bredesen is expected to make the official announcement tomorrow morning. He will first face a fellow Democrat, attorney and veteran James Mackler, in the Aug. 2 primary. If victorious, he will move on to the general election in November. Current candidates on the Republican side include U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher and Dr. Rolando Toyos.

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Former State House Rep. Spivey Enters Race for Senate District 14

A third Republican has thrown his hat into the ring for the Tennessee Senate District 14 special election, triggered by the resignation of Jim Tracy, Humphrey on the Hill reports. Former state Rep. Billy Spivey of Lewisburg today announced his campaign to serve a district that covers Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore and parts of Rutherford counties. Former state Rep. Joe Carr of Lascassas and Shane Reeves of Murfreesboro have already declared their candidacies. The primary election date is set for Jan. 25.

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Chattanooga Businessman to Run for Favors’ Seat

Following the retirement announcement of longtime House of Representatives member JoAnne Favors, Chattanooga businessman Brandon Woodruff has announced his plans to seek the seat in next year’s election, Nooga.com reports. Woodruff is the owner of Brainerd’s Scenic City T’s and is also a licensed sales producer for Allstate Insurance. Earlier this month, former Chattanooga city council member Yusuf Hakeem also declared his intentions to run for the District 28 seat.

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Special Election Dates Set for District 14 Senate Election

Gov. Bill Haslam has authorized a special election to fill the Tennessee State Senate seat recently vacated by Jim Tracy, who resigned to join the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office, The Tennessean reports. The primary for Senate District 14 will be held on Jan. 25, with the general election on March 13. Current candidates in the race include former state Rep. Joe Carr and Murfreesboro businessman Shane Reeves. The district includes Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore and parts of Rutherford Counties.

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Today First Day to Pick Up Petitions to Run in County Primaries

Today is the first day candidates for local office are eligible to pick up petitions to run in the May county primary elections. Petitions are available at county election commission offices. For a list of county election offices, visit the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website. For a calendar of important upcoming election dates, visit the TBA website.
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Tennessee Senate Candidates Respond to Roy Moore Allegations

With Republicans nationally, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step down amid sexual misconduct allegations, Tennessee’s GOP U.S. Senate candidates are speaking up in response. The Tennessean reports that U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, said that she cannot support Moore’s candidacy if the “extremely disturbing” allegations are true, but that “it’s up to the people of Alabama to ultimately decide." Former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher declined to directly address the case, only echoing Blackburn’s statement that it’s “up to Alabama voters.” Current Sen. Lamar Alexander has called for Moore to withdraw, and Sen. Bob Corker has also spoken out against Moore.
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Andy Ogles Quits U.S. Senate Bid

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Andy Ogles has ended his campaign, effective immediately, The Tennessean reports. Ogles entered the race when incumbent Sen. Bob Corker was still considering a re-election run. Ogles said that with Corker out of the race, his situation has changed. He said that he no longer saw a path to victory with two Republican candidates in the race who each have the potential to raise millions. Current U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher have both announced runs for the Republican nomination in the weeks following Corker's decision.
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State Rep. Favors Will Not Seek Re-election

Tennessee State House Rep. JoAnne Favors announced this week that she will not seek re-election for her District 28 seat, Chattanoogan.com reports. Favors has been in office since 2004, representing portions of the city of Chattanooga, and currently serves on the Opioid Task Force, the Health Committee, Health Sub-Committee and the Business and Utilities Committee. She is also the House Democratic Whip and the vice chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators. 
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Bankers Association Names New General Counsel

The Tennessee Bankers Association has chosen Amy Smith Heaslet to serve as the organization’s new general counsel, the Nashville Post reports. Healset will replace Tim Amos, who left to start his own legal and government affairs firm earlier this year. She has been with the group since 2009 as associate counsel, and previously worked as assistant general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
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