General Assembly Three-Year Residency Requirement Legislation for Federal Candidates in Primaries on March 28 House Message Calendar

Tennessee Senate Chamber

Tennessee legislation establishing three-year residency requirements for candidates in federal primaries is on the House message calendar for floor consideration on Monday, March 28.

According to Tennessee state House staff, the House message calendar is for bills that went over to the Senate, were non-concurred, and came back.

The House has the option to conform to the Senate version, or else the legislation goes to conference committee.

Sources tell The Tennessee Star that the House is expected to conform to the Senate version on Monday. It is unclear if that will ultimately be the case.

Senator Niceley recently told The Star last week, “They ought to conform. I’ve never had a bill that had so much bipartisan support.”

The current difference in the House and Senate versions is thought to be a misunderstanding. Prior to his version passing the House, State Representative Dave Wright (R-Knoxville), stated his plans to make the House bill entirely conform to the Senate bill. What precisely happened next is unclear.

When the House version came to a vote, the lawmakers then approved the motion to conform to the Senate version with the exception of the effective date. Sources previously told The Star that there was a procedural error made.

The House then passed an amendment to their legislation that would mandate the law take effect after the November 9, 2022 election, a different effective date than the Senate version.

If the House conforms to the Senate, the three-year requirement would go into effect immediately.

An immediate three-year residency requirement effective date would drastically shake up Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District Republican primary. Carpetbaggers Morgan Ortagus and David Vitalli would be immediately ineligible to run. California native Robby Starbuck would likely be ineligible as well.

The Star previously reported Starbuck’s threatened legal action if his eligibility for the TN-5 GOP primary is challenged.

“I‘ve retained a world-class lawyer who has won multiple Supreme Court cases and I’ll deploy them accordingly if anyone’s desperate enough to contest my eligibility,” he said.

“If they do contest my eligibility, I hope they have deep pockets because they’ll end up paying my legal fees after I win. Tennessee was my primary residence in time to meet any new standard that would be set by the law being considered by our legislature if it passes.”

Starbuck further told The Star on Tuesday that his lawyers are Harmeet Dhillon and Michael Columbo.

The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office told The Star that residency under current law is the jurisdiction of the county election commission where the candidate is claiming residency. The county election commission determines the issue of residency in an open meeting after hearing the evidence and if a complaint is made, they will review them.

The county election commission where a candidate resides would likely have the jurisdiction to determine residency start date under the proposed three-year requirement legislation as well.

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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected] Follow Aaron on GETTR.
Photo “Tennessee Senate Chamber” by Terrance CC BY-SA 3.0.


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2 Thoughts to “General Assembly Three-Year Residency Requirement Legislation for Federal Candidates in Primaries on March 28 House Message Calendar”

  1. Walter

    Robby Starbuck is free to file his suit, and would probably win it. That leaves the choice to the voters, not the legislature. As it should be.

  2. lb

    They better pass this effective immediately. That being said, Robbie Starbuck will ruin any chance he had at State/Local/Fed elected Office in TN if he files a Lawsuit and tries to force himself and consequentially, the others, onto the Ballot. That will not be received well at all by locals