Bill Proposes Granting Legislature Power, Not Statewide Political Parties, to Select U.S. Senate Candidates

The Tennessee General Assembly has been considering whether it should be in charge of selecting U.S. Senate candidates for primaries. On Tuesday, the sponsor of the bill encompassing that proposed change, State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains), requested that the legislature have until next March to contemplate the bill. 

During the Senate State and Local Government Committee hearing on Tuesday, Niceley asserted that the U.S. Senators have gotten out of touch with the state legislature. He explained that this bill would improve the working relationship between their lawmakers in D.C. and the Tennessee Capitol. 

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Legislators Pushing to Limit Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land

Tennessee’s Republican state legislators want to loosen foreign influence- a new bill being considered would limit foreign ownership of agricultural land. The bill wouldn’t limit foreign ownership of land for any other purposes. It also wouldn’t apply retroactively.

State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) first introduced the bill, followed by State Representative Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station).

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A New Level of Voter ID: Proposed Bill to Require Fingerprint Match for Voting Moves Through General Assembly

Voter ID issues may become a thing of the past in Tennessee if the General Assembly approves new legislation proposing fingerprint readers. The bill proposes that the state implement fingerprint-reading technology to verify a voter’s identity. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and all state agencies share the contents of their fingerprint databases with the Secretary of the State to establish this new method of ID verification.

State Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mount Juliet) and State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) introduced the legislation last month. With certain exceptions, current Tennessee law only requires that voters offer federal or Tennessee state IDs containing their name and photograph, such as driver’s licenses, passports, and military ID – even if they’re expired. Those exempt from these current stipulations include those who vote absentee by mail.

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Tennessee Legislators Propose Empowering General Assembly to Scrutinize Presidential Executive Orders for Constitutionality

Several state representatives and senators have proposed a bill to review the constitutionality of presidential executive orders. According to the bills, if Congress doesn’t affirm an executive order and isn’t signed into law, then the joint government operations committee of Tennessee’s General Assembly would review whether the order overextends its scope of authority. Upon concluding their review, the committee would decide whether to recommend the Tennessee Attorney General and Governor to reexamine or seek an exemption from the order.

Additionally, the bill proposed that no state agency, political subdivision, elected officials, or government employees could enforce the order if the Tennessee Attorney General determines it is unconstitutional. That portion of the proposed bill would specifically apply to orders concerning pandemics or public health emergencies; natural resource regulations; agricultural industry regulations; land use regulations; financial regulations concerning environmental, social, or governance standards; and Second Amendment regulations. 
Additionally, the bill proposed that no state agency, political subdivision, elected officials, or government employees could enforce the order if the Tennessee Attorney General determines it is unconstitutional. That portion of the proposed bill would specifically apply to orders concerning pandemics or public health emergencies; natural resource regulations; agricultural industry regulations; land use regulations; financial regulations concerning environmental, social, or governance standards; and Second Amendment regulations. 
Additionally, the bill proposed that no state agency, political subdivision, elected officials, or government employees could enforce the order if the Tennessee Attorney General determines it is unconstitutional. That portion of the proposed bill would specifically apply to orders concerning pandemics or public health emergencies; natural resource regulations; agricultural industry regulations; land use regulations; financial regulations concerning environmental, social, or governance standards; and Second Amendment regulations. 

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Nashville Metro Council Opposes Civil Asset Forfeiture Without Criminal Conviction As State House Prepares for Hearing on Reform Bill

The Nashville Metropolitan Council approved a resolution opposing civil asset forfeiture without a criminal conviction on Tuesday, just as a bill aimed at reforming state civil asset forfeiture laws is scheduled to be heard in a House committee meeting this coming week. Nashville Metropolitan Council Resolution RS2019-1628 directs that the Metropolitan…

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Two Proposed Amendments to the Tennessee Constitution Passed the First Hurdle in the Senate

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Two proposed amendments to the Constitution of The State of Tennessee easily passed the first hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday. The Senate State and Local Government Committee voted to advance two resolutions, which is the initial step in the Constitutional Amendment process, SJR0001 by Senator Ken…

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General Assembly to Consider Bill That Seeks to Restore Founders’ Intent for Electing U.S. Senators in Tennessee

A bill to be considered by the 111th Tennessee General Assembly will take a major step toward restoring the founding fathers’ intent for how U.S. senators would be elected in the state, which was circumvented by the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The bill, sponsored by Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry…

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