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 Committee Chairs Move to Ban Livestreaming of Meetings

Members of the public are being forbidden from taking live video during some public House of Representatives legislative committee meetings, and the ban will be extended to the House chamber as well, The Tennessean reports. House Speaker Glen Casada said that the decision to ban live video is up to each individual chairman to implement and to what degree. Some are responding by not banning live video at all, while others are requiring that individuals and lawmakers request permission before beginning a livestream.

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Legislators File Bills to Gain Control Over Tennessee Attorney General

State lawmakers are proposing various changes to the way they interact with the state attorney general, The Nashville Post reports. Rep. Mike Carter, the chair of the civil justice subcommittee, has filed a resolution proposing an amendment to the state constitution that would give the General Assembly confirmation authority over the attorney general. Currently the Tennessee Supreme Court appoints the attorney general for an eight-year term. Carter's bill would empower the legislature to veto the high court’s pick. Another proposal from Sen. Bo Watson and Rep. Bill Dunn would give the legislature the ability to intervene in legal proceedings to defend the constitutionality of a contested statute or to diverge from the advocacy of the attorney general or a district attorney general.
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TBA Legislative Agenda – Adoption Law

Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin, and Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, introduced two bills today, drafted by members of the TBA Adoption Law Section, and supported by the TBA. SB207/HB288 allows biological parents and adoptive parents to enter into an enforceable, written contract for post-adoption contact that permits continued contact between legal relatives and the child. SB208/HB287 is a Corrections/Clean up bill for the TN: First in Adoption Act, enacted in 2018. The TBA Governmental Affairs team will work with legislators to pass these bills and have them signed into law by Governor Lee.
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Tennessee Republicans Look to Restrictions on Nashville's New Police Oversight Board

Tennessee Republican lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would let Nashville's new police oversight board remain but strip away its subpoena power, The Tennessean reports. Under Amendment 1 to the Metro Charter that Nashville voters approved in November, the community oversight board has "all powers, including the power to compel" that other Metro government agencies, boards and entities have. House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, said he anticipated legislation aimed at serving as what he called a "safety net" to prevent "witch hunts" and protect the rights of police officers.
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Paul Rose Wins Special GOP Primary

Covington businessman Paul Rose topped the results last week in the special Republican primary election for Tennessee Senate District 32, The Commercial Appeal reports. Rose will face Democrat Eric Coleman of Memphis in the special general election March 12 to fill the seat formerly occupied by Collierville Republican Mark Norris. The former Senate majority leader was recently confirmed as a federal judge. Rose beat out Shelby County Commissioners Heidi Shafer and George Chism, as well as former state Rep. Steve McManus.
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TBA Weekly Legislative Update

The Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives are back in session and are referring newly introduced bills to the appropriate committees, which are primarily holding organizational meetings this week. The deadline for filing all legislation is Feb. 6, so there will be a flood of bills introduced over the next two weeks. The TBA Governmental Affairs Team will be reviewing all bills and begin the process of forwarding the legislation affecting the practice of law to the appropriate Section Executive Councils for review and feedback. Stay tuned for more info.
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'TBAToday' to Begin Weekly Legislative Updates

With the Tennessee General Assembly officially back in session, the TBA will begin bringing you weekly round-ups of bills impacting the legal community each Friday in TBAToday. Those who wish to receive notifications of important legislative developments can subscribe to TBAImpact.
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Former Legislative Assistant Stole More Than $12,000, Audit Shows

A new audit shows the former legislative assistant of Minority Leader Karen Camper stole more than $12,500 over three years, The Daily Memphian reports. Former assistant Derrick Tibbs admitted to theft last month and resigned. Camper was told about the situation in early December by Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart of Nashville, whose signature was forged on the checks. In a letter last year to the caucus notifying members of her intent to pursue the minority leader position, Camper said as caucus treasurer she had “scrutinized” every payment made by the caucus.
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Lawmaker Accused of Sexual Misconduct with Teens Named Education Committee Chair

Tennessee House Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, who was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct against multiple teens while serving as a high school basketball coach, has been named chairman of an education subcommittee, The Tennessean reports. New House Speaker Glen Casada, who appointed Byrd to the position, said that he "cannot make actions based on accusations," citing Byrd's overwhelming reelection victory in his district to support his choice. Byrd publicly denied any wrongdoing, but apologized to one of the women in a phone call she recorded.
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Tennessee Attorney Announces 2020 Bid for U.S. Senate

James Mackler, the attorney who dropped out of the 2018 Democratic primary when former Gov. Phil Bredesen entered the race, has announced he will again seek the position of U.S. Senator, The Tennessean reports. Mackler becomes the first candidate of any party to declare his intent to run for the open senate being vacated by Sen. Lamar Alexander in 2020.
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