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.

House Democrat Staffer Resigns After Questionable Checks Discovered

A staffer who assisted in financial payments from the House Democratic Caucus has resigned after being accused of writing an unknown number of checks to himself and cashing them, WSMV reports. New House Minority Leader Karen Camper confirmed that her longtime staffer, Derrick Tibbs, resigned yesterday, after Caucus Chair Mike Stewart alerted Camper to questionable checks that had been written. Stewart said once the internal investigation is complete, and if Tibbs is found to have committed a crime, he should be charged.

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Johnson Chosen for Senate Majority Leader

Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, was elected to serve as the next majority leader for Tennessee Senate Republicans, The Tennessean reports. Johnson, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, beat Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, to earn title as the upper chamber's No. 2 leader. Johnson replaces former senator Mark Norris, who left office to take a federal judgeship.
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Former State Rep. McManus Confirms Bid for Norris' Senate Seat

Former state Rep. Steve McManus today confirmed he will enter the race for the vacant 32nd District Senate seat to fill two years remaining in the term of Mark Norris, who left the post to take a federal judgeship, The Daily Memphian reports. McManus, a Republican who moved to Collierville two years ago after losing a re-election bid to Democrat Dwayne Thompson in House District 96, picked up qualifying papers from the Shelby County Election Commission on Monday. State records show he has more than $140,000 in his House campaign account.
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Former Nashville Mayor, Congressman Richard Fulton Dies at 91

Richard H. Fulton, the former Nashville mayor and congressman, died last night at 91, The Tennessean reports. Fulton began his service in the Tennessee State Senate in 1956 and was elected to U.S. Congress in 1962 after a memorable and contentious primary, in which the first results had to be tossed out and voted on again. An ardent supporter of civil rights, he was one of just seven Southern Democrats in the House out of 87 to vote for the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Fulton was the second mayor of Davidson County's metropolitan form of government, serving for 12 years from 1975 until 1987. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
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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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