The Importance of Effective Government Relations

One of the core objectives of the Tennessee Bar Association is advocacy for the profession and for our system of justice. The TBA Government Affairs Committee coordinates our advocacy efforts before the legislature, the executive branch and other governmental entities on issues of importance to our profession and on which the TBA has adopted policy.

Much of our adopted policy starts with the TBA House of Delegates, where matters of interest and concern to the legal profession are considered, debated and policy recommendations are made. The TBA Board of Governors may then adopt, reject or amend the policy recommendations of the House of Delegates.

The TBA participates in this legislative process by reviewing pending legislation proposed by other organizations, proposing amendments to pending legislation and assisting our legislators by recommending new laws or changes to existing laws. Our participation also includes seeking passage of legislation drafted by the TBA. Much of the TBA’s priority legislation is developed by Sections and Committees and approved by the Board of Governors.

The TBA plays an important role by serving as the advocacy leader for Tennessee’s judicial system and lawyers. It is a tremendous responsibility to coordinate our efforts to protect the public and serve our members in these legislative matters. We must continue to recognize the significance of our role when reviewing issues and taking positions on legislation. Our legislative staff and outside lobbyists work closely with legislators and their staffs in representing the views of the legal profession and promote the improvement of the law, our legal system and access to justice. Our legislative staff and lobbyists also monitor legislation and communicate the TBA’s positions on issues before the General Assembly. Our team is experienced, involved and seen as a valuable resource in the halls of the Tennessee State Capitol.

Evolution of TBA Government Affairs Committee

The TBA’s government relations program is overseen by the Government Affairs Committee, comprised of TBA member volunteers with substantial public policy experience. We have been fortunate as an organization to have our volunteer lawyers provide their expert analysis on a wide range of legislative topics. The committee acts as a sounding board for our legislative staff and outside lobbyists and provides guidance as needed. As a result, our volunteer-led legislative initiatives have been successful in promoting the administration of justice and allowing Tennessee’s citizens to have fair and equal access to justice.

We have made a few tweaks to the Government Affairs Committee for this upcoming legislative session. First, in addition to providing their expert analysis on legislative issues, the members of the committee will also take on an oversight role of the government relations program. In this role, the committee will review our government relations team to ensure that the message being conveyed to legislators and their staffs is consistent with the policy positions of the TBA and we are not straying from our core principals as an organization. Next, we are expanding the committee in an effort to bring in fresh and balanced perspectives as well as diversify the make up of committee members. We are looking forward to the continued success of our government affairs program with
these changes.

LAWPAC Needs Your Support

Our members frequently remind us that advocacy on behalf of the profession is one of the most important activities performed by the TBA. We are constantly promoting our profession, the judicial system and improvements to the practice of law. One of the ways you can support these efforts is a contribution to LAWPAC. LAWPAC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan political action committee that supports our legislative efforts. LAWPAC supports the advocacy efforts of the TBA by helping to maintain and establish relationships with state legislators, which is an essential component of our advocacy success. It helps to advance positive and effective relations between the bar, the legislative stakeholders, legal stakeholders, and the Executive Branch of government. LAWPAC funds will not be used to promote a partisan agenda.

Please consider a contribution to LAWPAC and help to strengthen the legal profession in Tennessee.

You can make a contribution at tba.org/lawpac-donation.

Grassroots and Local Bar Associations

One of our goals for this bar year is to strengthen the TBA’s relationships with local bar associations. Local bar associations can form the basis of effective grassroots networks. They help us emphasize important legislative positions to local legislators back in their home districts. A coordinated grassroots network with local bar associations is essential to the continued efforts of our profession to increase political influence.

Our legislative staff is making plans to visit local bar associations across Tennessee to discuss, among other things, our legislative efforts and specific issues of importance to the TBA. You will also hear more about the Legal Stakeholders Legislative Summit in the coming months. These efforts will ensure a more unified voice at the Tennessee State Capitol.


Jason M. Pannu JASON M. PANNU is a shareholder in the Nashville office of Lewis Thomason. You can reach him at JPannu@LewisThomason.com. Follow Jason on Twitter @jasonpannu and Instagram @jasonpannu.

 

 

Jason Pannu and Sarah Neil Pilkinton next to Domaine Barmès-Buecher’s vineyard in Wettolsheim, Alsace, France.

Jason Pannu and Sarah Neil Pilkinton next to Domaine Barmès-Buecher’s vineyard in Wettolsheim, Alsace, France.

Pannu’s Pairings: Alsace

Throughout recent history, the Alsace region in northeastern France has passed back and forth between France and Germany. Alsace is primarily known for white wines, mostly notably Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris. However, Alsatian Pinot Noir, with its distinct pale color, has been gaining in popularity. Alsatian producers have also been leaders in organic and biodynamic winemaking.

You might be thinking: Alsace must make sweet wines. However, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris from Alsace trend toward dry to off-dry. Alsatian whites tend to have high acidity, which overpowers any sweetness. Rieslings are known for floral and peachy aromas, Gewürztraminer have lychee and apricot aromas and Pinot Gris is generally slightly sweeter with tangerine aromas.

Food Pairings: Alsatian wines are some of the most food-friendly wines in the world. Serve the white wines at about 55F. If you pull these wines straight out of the fridge, you will not experience the full aromatics of Alsace.

Riesling pairs well with charcuterie, pork dishes and goat cheeses. Gewürztraminer is an excellent match with rich foie gras and pâté as well as spicy Asian foods. I enjoy Pinot Gris with saltier foods, chicken, cream sauces, and curries featuring coconut. Some of my favorite producers in Alsace are Barmès Buecher, Meyer-Fonné and Bott-Geyl. For an unusual style of Pinot Noir, try Christian Binner or the Grand H Pinot Noir by Albert Mann.

 

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