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.

Tennessee Congressman-elect Green Elected President of GOP Freshman Class

U.S. Congressman-elect Mark Green (R-Clarksville) was unanimously voted president of the Republican freshman class this week, The Nashville Post reports. He will lead 30 Republican freshmen in the U.S. House of Representatives starting early next year.
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Wiseman Tapped as Governor-elect Lee's Chief Counsel

Memphis attorney Lang Wiseman will serve as deputy to the governor and chief counsel for Governor-elect Bill Lee, The Daily Memphian reports. Wiseman's appointment was announced on Tuesday alongside a number of other senior staff and cabinet positions. Wiseman will be stepping down from his role on the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees to take the job. The founder of Wiseman Bray PLLC, he also currently serves on Gov. Bill Haslam’s Council for Judicial Appointments and is vice chair of the Advisory Commission to the Supreme Court on Rules of Practice and Procedure.
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New Minority Leader First African-American to Hold Position

Tennessee House Democrats have chosen Rep. Karen Camper for Minority Leader, making her the first African-American to hold the position, The Tennessean reports. The Memphis legislator replaces former leader Craig Fitzhugh, who chose not to run for reelection this year in order to run for governor. Camper, a retired U.S. Army chief warrant officer, was first elected to the legislature in 2008. Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, will continue in his position as Democratic Caucus chairman.

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Republicans Name House Leaders

In addition to the nomination of Glen Casada as new House Speaker, Tennessee House Republicans named a number of other leadership positions for the next session, The Nashville Post reports. Rep. William Lamberth of Cottontown was tapped to succeed Casada as majority leader, while Rep. Bill Dunn of Knoxville was nominated as speaker pro tempore. Rep. Cameron Sexton of Crossville was chosen as caucus chair and Rep. Rick Tillis of Lewisburg was named majority whip.
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Casada Elected Republican Nominee for House Speaker

State House Republicans today selected longtime Franklin lawmaker Glen Casada to be their nominee for the chamber's next speaker, The Tennessean reports. Casada was chosen over Reps. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville, and David Hawk, R-Greeneville. His election comes eight years after he lost his bid for speaker to Beth Harwell, who resigned from her seat to run for governor this year. A tea party favorite, Casada was viewed as the most conservative choice for the position.
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Former Senate Minority Leader Ben Atchley Dies at 88

Former state Sen. Ben Atchley, who served as Senate Minority Leader during his time in the legislature, died yesterday Knoxnews reports. He was 88. A veteran of the U.S. Navy and a former Southern Bell lineman, Atchley was first elected to the Tennessee House in 1972 and to the Tennessee Senate shortly after in 1976. Nicknamed "Gentle Ben," he retired in 2004 after serving 32 years with a reputation of resolving differences between lawmakers. A graveside service will be held at New Prospect Presbyterian Church Cemetery, 4920 Prospect Rd. in Knoxville on Sunday at 1 p.m. Following a graveside service, the family will receive friends at Graystone Presbyterian Church, 139 S. Woodlawn Pike, from 2:30 p.m., with a Celebration of Life service to follow at 4 p.m. Memorials may be made to Graystone Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice.
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Covington Businessman Enters Race to Replace Norris

Covington businessman Paul Rose will join the race for the 32nd District Senate seat vacated by Mark Norris, The Daily Memphian reports. Rose, 65, owns a construction company and is a Republican from Tipton County. His announcement sets up a potential four-way race for the job, with three others mulling a run for the seat that Norris only officially resigned last week. Gov. Bill Haslam has yet to officially call for a special election to fill the final two years of Norris' term.
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Attorneys Graduate TBA’s First Public Service Academy

The first class of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Public Service Academy graduated this weekend in Nashville. The program was designed to support lawyers who intend to seek local public offices such as city council, county commission and school board. The bipartisan group of lawyers from across the state trained on topics including messaging, budgets, field strategy and social media for their future campaigns. Many also announced their intent to run in their upcoming municipal elections in 2019. See photos here.
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Vick to Chair Bass Berry's Government Advocacy Group

Bass, Berry & Sims announced today that Erica Bell Vick will serve as chair of the firm’s government advocacy and public policy practice group, The Nashville Post reports. Vick succeeds Richard “Dick” Lodge, who will retire at year’s end. Vick will advocate for clients’ business interests before the Tennessee General Assembly and before various executive branch departments, agencies and commissions of state government.
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Hargett: Norris Replacement Likely to be Filled Via Special Election

State Sen. Mark Norris’ legislative seat will likely be filled by a special election, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said this week, The Commercial Appeal reports. Norris was confirmed last week to fill a vacant federal judgeship in West Tennessee. Norris has not technically resigned from his current seat, which must be done in order for Gov. Bill Haslam to call for a special election. In the extremely unlikely case that Norris were to resign prior to Election Day, it would create a write-in contest to fill the seat on the Nov. 6 ballot.
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