On Monday, a bill that would allow Tennessee counties to decide if school board elections can be partisan passed both chambers and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The bill, HB 9072 – SB 9009, “requires elections of school board members to be conducted on a partisan basis.” The legislation also “removes prohibition for a person seeking a position on a school board to campaign as the nominee of a political party and authorizes political parties to nominate candidates for school board membership by any method authorized under the rules of the party or by primary election.”
Both Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) signed the bill. It now goes to Governor Bill Lee’s desk for signing.
The legislation will allow individual county parties to declare whether a race will become partisan. If a party decides to create a partisan race, the affiliations for that party will appear on the ballot. Any party also can decline to include the party on the ballot – either Republican, Democrat or Independent, Washington Examiner notes.
According to State Senator Mike Bell, (R-Riceville), currently 77 counties conduct primary elections and 18 determine candidates by caucus.
On the House floor Friday, Representative Mark Cochran (R-Englewood), who co-sponsored the bill, announced his support for the legislation, saying, “a public official’s political philosophy of government matters. It matters here, it matters at the local school board, it matters on a county commission. That is an absolute universal principle.”
Before it was passed, an amendment was added by the Senate which gives county parties that already have filed petitions 30 days to re-petition to add school board members.
The bill amends Tennessee Code (TCA) Title 49, Chapter 2.
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