Search Results for: carter lawrence

Carter Lawrence sworn in as interim Commerce & Insurance commissioner

Gov. Bill Lee has sworn in Carter Lawrence as the interim commissioner of Commerce & Insurance. He succeeds Julie Mix McPeak, who left to take take a job in the private sector.

Lawrence, of Williamson County, had served as deputy commissioner for the department’s administration and for regulatory boards. He has law and business degrees from the University of Tennessee.

McPeak was a holdover from Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration.  Greenberg Traurig announced last week that she is founding the law firm’s new Nashville office — the company’s 41st location worldwide and 31st in the U.S.

McPeak was president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners last year.

Editor’s note: The Tennessee Journal is on summer break next week. Blog posting will be lighter than usual until July 1. 

Lee names Lawrence commissioner of Commerce & Insurance Department

Gov. Bill Lee speaks to reporters during budget hearings in Nashville on Nov. 9, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee has promoted Carter Lawrence to commissioner of the Commerce & Insurance. Lawrence, who had served as the department’s chief deputy, succeeds Hodgen Mainda, who resigned following a sexual misconduct investigation. Mainda has denied any wrongdoing.

Lawrence previously served as interim commissioner after former agency head Julie Mix McPeak left for the private sector last year.

Here’s the release from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE – Today Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced Carter Lawrence will serve in his cabinet as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance, effective immediately.

“Carter is a proven public servant who has stewarded key priorities for the administration throughout his tenure and I’m confident he’ll continue to support Tennessee businesses and consumers with integrity,” said Gov. Lee. “We appreciate his dedication to the Department of Commerce & Insurance and look forward to his continued service.”

Lawrence currently serves as Chief Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer at the Department of Commerce & Insurance.

He has also served on Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting Gov. Lee’s efforts to reboot the state’s economy.

A lifelong Tennessean and Nashville native, Lawrence earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence and a Master of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Prior, he graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois.

He currently resides in Nashville with his wife and three children and is a member of Nashville’s Church of the Redeemer.

State outpacing last year in mediating insurance refunds to consumers

The state has processed nearly 1,500 complaints about insurance coverage through the first half of the year, resulting in $5.4 million being returned to consumers through mediation and restitution. That compares with $8.2 million in the entire calendar year of 2021.

Here’s the full release from the Department of Commerce and Insurance:

NASHVILLE – At the midpoint of 2022, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (“TDCI”) is highlighting the robust health of Tennessee’s insurance industry as well as the work of the Department’s team to assist consumers and insurance professionals.

“During the past two years, Tennessee’s insurance industry has risen to face numerous challenges, and I am proud to say that our team has equally risen and remained steadfastly focused on serving, assisting, and regulating insurance companies and professionals while serving Tennessee policyholders,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “As we enter the second half of 2022, Tennessee residents can trust that our team is hard at work serving consumers while fairly regulating insurance companies.”

Recent figures show Tennessee’s insurance industry is thriving.

— Tennessee has approximately 294,000 licensed insurance professionals. This is the largest number of licensed insurance professionals in Tennessee in nearly 40 years. Additionally, the current number of licensed professionals is a nearly 10% increase compared to the 259,320 licensed insurance professionals in 2021.

— The Department licensed 45 new insurance companies in 2021, bringing the total number of licensed insurance companies to 1,959.

— $51.5 billion in premium volume was written in Tennessee in 2021.

— $1.12 billion in premium taxes were collected in Fiscal Year 2021, a 7.5% increase from 2020.

— Tennessee’s climb as a domicile in the captive insurance industry continues as the state is ranked as the 8th largest domestic captive domicile and the 13th largest captive domicile worldwide with over 495 active risk-bearing entities.

TDCI regulates all types of insurance and encourages consumers to contact TDCI’s Consumer Insurance Services team with any insurance-related question or concern. So far in 2022, consumers have filed 1,467 complaints that have resulted in over $5.43 million being returned to consumers through the Department’s mediation and restitution efforts this year. The top three reasons for consumer complaints are denials, delays, and low settlement offers.

For the sake of comparison, over $8.2 million was returned to consumers in 2021.

“Our dedicated Consumer Insurance Services team is eager to assist Tennesseans who feel they have a claim that has been unjustly denied or who have a question about their insurance policies,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner Bill Huddleston. “I want to thank our entire team for their hard work and diligence through the first six months of 2022. I know our team will continue to exceed expectations through the rest of this year.”

Former Sen. Jim Tracy joins Commerce Department

Gov.-elect Bill Lee speaks to a Chamber of Commerce event in Memphis on Dec. 6, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former state Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), who gave up his seat in 2017 when President Donald Trump appointed him as a state USDA director, is joining the state Department of Commerce and Insurance in Gov. Bill Lee’s administration.

Here are the personnel moves announced by the department on Friday:

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) announces senior leadership role additions and staffing updates from Commissioner Carter Lawrence.

“With these senior leadership staffing updates, our Department is well positioned to continue our best-in-class service for Tennesseans and to further our mission of protecting Tennesseans through balanced oversight of insurance while fostering fair marketplaces and consumer education that promote the success of individuals and businesses while serving as innovative leaders,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “I welcome these staff promotions and additions and thank them for their service to our great state.”

TDCI Staffing Updates:

Jennifer Peck assumes the role of Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer, while continuing in her role as Deputy Commissioner – overseeing Fire Prevention/State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy (TLETA)/Peace Officer Standards Training (POST) Commission and the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board (TECB). Previously, Peck served as an Executive Director in the Division of Regulatory Boards. Prior to joining the Department, she was the owner of Peck Legal Group, PLLC, which specialized in domestic relations litigation and mediation. She is a graduate of Auburn University and the Regent University School of Law.

Toby Compton is promoted to Deputy Commissioner – overseeing Insurance, Regulatory Boards, Securities and TennCare Oversight. Previously, Compton served as Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Regulatory Boards for the Department. Prior to joining the Department, Compton was the President and CEO for Associated Builders and Contractors for Greater Tennessee, held leadership positions at the Metro Sports Authority in Nashville and worked at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. He is a graduate of Lipscomb University and Cumberland University.

Bill Huddleston is promoted to Assistant Commissioner for Insurance. A TDCI team member since 2014, Huddleston previously served as the Director of Insurance where he oversaw the division’s administration which includes agent licensing, company examinations, company financial analysis and other duties. A certified public accountant, Huddleston also served as Receivership Director in the Insurance Division. In 2017, he was a recipient of a Governor’s Excellence in Service Award for his leadership in the Division of Regulatory Boards. Before joining TDCI, Huddleston served as a legislative auditor with the Office of the Comptroller. A Nashville native, Huddleston is a graduate of Lipscomb University as well as Harding University. He is married with three children.

Alex Martin joins the Department as Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Regulatory Boards. Previously, Martin served as Deputy Director of External Affairs and Director of Appointments for Governor Bill Lee. In his prior role, Martin worked with the Lee Administration to appoint many of the members of the Department’s boards and commissions within the Division of Regulatory Boards. An eighth generation Tennessean, Alex is a graduate of Tennessee Tech and served on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Jim Tracy joins TDCI as a Senior Advisor to the Department. Tracy most recently served as State Director for USDA Rural Development in Tennessee – working with rural communities to address local issues including facilities, broadband, water and sewer. In this role he facilitated federal grants and lower-interest loans for businesses and citizens. Tracy’s list of public service spans decades – having previously served as a State Senator, Bedford County Board of Education member, President of the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce, founding member of the Bedford County Economic Development and Tourism committee and Chairman of the Tennessee Leadership Council of the National Federation of Independent Business. For more than 20 years, Tracy owned and operated his own insurance company where he sold all lines of insurance. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin with a degree in Agriculture Education. Jim and his wife, Trena, have been married for over 30 years and have three sons: Chad, Craig and Connor.

Patrick Merkel is promoted to Director of Insurance after having served as Chief Counsel for Insurance, Securities and TennCare Oversight since July 2019. Merkel is on his second term of service with the Department. He first joined the Department in 2007 and worked with the Division of Regulatory Boards and as Chief Counsel for Fire Prevention and Law Enforcement. Merkel previously worked in private practice representing clients before the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission, the Tennessee Office of the Attorney General and Reporter, state trial courts and the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Merkel is a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Dayton School of Law. Patrick is married with a daughter and two step-sons.

McPeak to leave Lee administration

Gov. Bill Lee, bottom left, looks on as his Cabinet takes the oath of office in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak has become the first member of Gov. Bill Lee’s Cabinet to step down.

McPeak, a holdover from Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration, is seeking unspecified “career opportunities in the private sector,” according to a release from the Lee administration.

McPeak is the past president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the former executive director of the Kentucky Office of Insurance.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak announces today she is leaving Tennessee state government in order to pursue career opportunities in the private sector. Her last day as commissioner will be June 14, 2019. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has named TDCI Deputy Commissioner Carter Lawrence to serve as the Department’s Interim Commissioner until a permanent commissioner is selected. 

“We thank Julie Mix McPeak for her over eight years of service and her tireless commitment to her Department and to Tennessee. We wish her the best in her future endeavors,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. “Carter Lawrence has ably served as Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Commerce and Insurance, and I look forward to serving alongside him as he steps into the role of Interim Commissioner.”

McPeak, who was first appointed commissioner by Governor Bill Haslam in 2011, is the immediate past president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. The former executive director of the Kentucky Office of Insurance, McPeak is the first woman to serve as chief insurance regulator in more than one state.

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Early voting down 26% in GOP primaries compared with last gubernatorial election

Republican early voting was down 26% compared with the last gubernatorial election cycle in 2018, according to data compiled by the Secretary of State’s Office.

The difference between the current election and four years ago is that there is no competitive GOP primary going on at the top of the ticket, as Gov. Bill Lee is unopposed for the the nomination to second term. But the race for the open 5th Congressional District doesn’t seem to be generating much enthusiasm either, as GOP voting in the six counties the seat is located in has been down 31%:

  • Davidson*: 10,724 votes (-51%)
  • Lewis: 1,241 votes (-13%)
  • Marshall: 2,560 votes (-7%)
  • Maury: 5,962 votes (-16%)
  • Williamson*: 14,369 votes (-3%)
  • Wilson*: 6,881 votes (-46%).

(*Note the 5th district includes about 75% of the population of Wilson, 65% of Williamson, and 50% of Davidson).

Here are the early voting totals:

County20222018Change
Anderson3,6635,347-31%
Bedford1,8933,558-47%
Benton1,5071,752-14%
Bledsoe429658-35%
Blount6,1747,929-22%
Bradley5,1868,227-37%
Campbell2,8993,618-20%
Cannon1,1171,240-10%
Carroll1,7852,224-20%
Carter2,5884,381-41%
Cheatham2,1012,618-20%
Chester1,4461,542-6%
Claiborne2,9743,366-12%
Clay7727641%
Cocke3,6213,692-2%
Coffee3,7654,224-11%
Crockett380953-60%
Cumberland4,0785,292-23%
Davidson10,72421,722-51%
Decatur1,3631,3084%
DeKalb1,9341,29649%
Dickson2,6542,745-3%
Dyer2,5112,867-12%
Fayette1,7243,494-51%
Fentress2,2452,692-17%
Franklin3,1272,84010%
Gibson2,1093,003-30%
Giles2,0452,681-24%
Grainger7031,297-46%
Greene1,6984,905-65%
Grundy89868132%
Hamblen2,0773,341-38%
Hamilton10,99311,913-8%
Hancock275459-40%
Hardeman1,0471,369-24%
Hardin1,3382,592-48%
Hawkins2,0003,535-43%
Haywood9211,125-18%
Henderson1,4742,862-48%
Henry1,8573,042-39%
Hickman2,0341,8599%
Houston898928-3%
Humphreys1,1991,265-5%
Jackson8968209%
Jefferson1,6633,860-57%
Johnson2,0852,511-17%
Knox19,46532,108-39%
Lake549639-14%
Lauderdale1,7231,10356%
Lawrence3,3422,67325%
Lewis1,2411,425-13%
Lincoln1,9821,79510%
Loudon4,2086,851-39%
Macon2,3993,548-32%
Madison4,1535,778-28%
Marion1,0101,223-17%
Marshall2,5602,753-7%
Maury5,9627,113-16%
McMinn2,0253,582-43%
McNairy1,4211,898-25%
Meigs7421,031-28%
Monroe2,5734,252-39%
Montgomery5,7346,205-8%
Moore9071,046-13%
Morgan1,2231,771-31%
Obion2,1893,021-28%
Overton1,6221,46011%
Perry6381,030-38%
Pickett489533-8%
Polk1,0371,0152%
Putnam3,2304,883-34%
Rhea2,7132,910-7%
Roane4,6135,103-10%
Robertson2,9524,680-37%
Rutherford10,58314,531-27%
Scott2,3402,806-17%
Sequatchie9431,855-49%
Sevier1,5404,538-66%
Shelby31,25833,089-6%
Smith1,8132,297-21%
Stewart1,6941,715-1%
Sullivan3,32110,312-68%
Sumner4,7427,993-41%
Tipton2,8523,905-27%
Trousdale9098517%
Unicoi6811,574-57%
Union8701,310-34%
Van Buren72340579%
Warren3,7713,36312%
Washington4,7297,116-34%
Wayne1,9441,8137%
Weakley2,1842,756-21%
White1,9562,456-20%
Williamson14,36914,861-3%
Wilson6,88112,739-46%
Cumulative293,675398,111-26%

Early voting down so far from last two gubernatorial cycles

Early voting through the first six days of the period was down 23% compared with the last gubernatorial election cycle in 2018 and 22% from 2014. Republican turnout has been 24% less than four years ago, when Gov. Bill Lee was first nominated for governor in a competitive primary. Democratic early voting is down 30% over 2018.

Shelby County has seen the biggest increase in early voting — more than 5,000 more than in 2018 — amid a competitive race for district attorney general between incumbent Amy Weirich and Democratic challenger Steve Mulroy.

Republican voting has been down by 29% in the new 5th Congressional District, which is made up of parts of Davidson (-28%), Williamson (-21%), and Wilson (-52%), and all of Lewis (-16%), Marshall (-15%), and Maury (-25%) counties. But voting is up 2% compared with 2014.

Here’s the full breakdown from the Secretary of State’s office:

County2022Change
from 2018
Change
from 2014
Anderson2,135-30%-42%
Bedford949-56%-62%
Benton1,290-2%-20%
Bledsoe207-30%-61%
Blount3,230-22%24%
Bradley1,980-46%-45%
Campbell1,798-18%-11%
Cannon592-18%-29%
Carroll1,006-29%-23%
Carter1,256-43%-55%
Cheatham1,1467%-39%
Chester8907%-24%
Claiborne1,724-13%-7%
Clay77227%9%
Cocke1,86314%17%
Coffee2,289-19%-7%
Crockett241-63%-78%
Cumberland2,080-21%-29%
Davidson6,297-30%176%
Decatur969-5%-7%
DeKalb1,10820%6%
Dickson1,446-8%-33%
Dyer1,439-4%-32%
Fayette1,137-26%-40%
Fentress1,380-18%-17%
Franklin1,8953%7%
Gibson1,096-42%-24%
Giles1,309-28%-12%
Grainger307-47%-47%
Greene862-65%-67%
Grundy63425%-31%
Hamblen1,101-28%-6%
Hamilton6,380-23%-29%
Hancock191-20%-64%
Hardeman1,343-7%8%
Hardin708-53%-42%
Hawkins875-49%-49%
Haywood863-31%-27%
Henderson604-57%5%
Henry1,232-28%-28%
Hickman1,145-4%-22%
Houston8199%-6%
Humphreys9664%-34%
Jackson587-11%-8%
Jefferson766-55%-39%
Johnson1,094-27%-35%
Knox11,091-29%-21%
Lake553-5%-21%
Lauderdale1,65154%-5%
Lawrence2,10547%18%
Lewis678-28%-37%
Lincoln1,24129%-26%
Loudon2,585-35%17%
Macon1,803-25%-5%
Madison2,730-31%-51%
Marion683-14%-24%
Marshall1,189-16%-41%
Maury2,769-35%-38%
McMinn914-48%-55%
McNairy858-37%-44%
Meigs435-33%-43%
Monroe1,433-48%-48%
Montgomery3,912-6%-27%
Moore471-24%29%
Morgan676-37%-49%
Obion1,287-35%-19%
Overton1,1656%-19%
Perry449-28%-13%
Pickett366-2%-48%
Polk78220%-41%
Putnam1,898-38%-48%
Rhea1,628-24%-22%
Roane2,328-21%-26%
Robertson1,646-39%-30%
Rutherford5,656-32%-21%
Scott1,696-11%-3%
Sequatchie504-63%-43%
Sevier751-68%-51%
Shelby28,15422%3%
Smith977-26%-32%
Stewart1,251-5%-16%
Sullivan1,477-72%-74%
Sumner2,558-38%-12%
Tipton1,330-32%-38%
Trousdale703-9%-18%
Unicoi348-53%-58%
Union471-40%-34%
Van Buren50778%39%
Warren2,307-15%18%
Washington2,203-35%-32%
Wayne975-8%-18%
Weakley1,242-33%-35%
White977-31%-29%
Williamson3,907-28%47%
Wilson3,186-55%-35%
Cumulative174,507-23%-22%

29 counties see growth in fiscal capacity index

Source: TACIR.

 Twenty-nine counties are experiencing an upward trend in their fiscal capacity, 11 are holding steady, and 55 are trending downward, according to an index complied by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The fiscal capacity model is used to calculate how much local governments must contribute under the school funding formula — both under the old Basic Education Program and the new Tenenssee Investment in Student Achievement program.

Here is a look at each county’s ratio between their the 5- and 15-year averages to show whether their trend is up, down, or stable.

RankCounty5 to 15 RatioTrend Direction
1Williamson1.1584UP
2Moore1.1258UP
3Pickett1.1254UP
4Trousdale1.1186UP
5Rutherford1.1139UP
6Lewis1.0994UP
7Wilson1.0972UP
8Hancock1.0842UP
9Davidson1.0831UP
10Sevier1.0816UP
11Maury1.0799UP
12Sumner1.0665UP
13Union1.0583UP
14Marshall1.0537UP
15Hickman1.0497UP
16Fayette1.0443UP
17Monroe1.0392UP
18Overton1.0365UP
19Rhea1.0359UP
20Blount1.0313UP
21Stewart1.0307UP
22Wayne1.0289UP
23DeKalb1.0264UP
24Meigs1.0206UP
25Robertson1.0188UP
26Perry1.017UP
27Franklin1.0169UP
28Loudon1.0156UP
29Dickson1.0105UP
30Putnam1.008STEADY
31Grainger1.0037STEADY
32Scott1.0031STEADY
33Jefferson1.0008STEADY
34Smith0.9999STEADY
35Humphreys0.9992STEADY
36White0.998STEADY
37Cumberland0.9979STEADY
38Bedford0.9975STEADY
39Hardin0.9962STEADY
40Sequatchie0.9911STEADY
41Hamblen0.9897DOWN
42Van Buren0.9891DOWN
43Marion0.9874DOWN
44Hamilton0.9866DOWN
45Cocke0.983DOWN
46Knox0.982DOWN
47Morgan0.9814DOWN
48Cheatham0.9792DOWN
49Bradley0.978DOWN
50Lawrence0.9727DOWN
51Benton0.9681DOWN
52Johnson0.967DOWN
53Decatur0.9664DOWN
54Grundy0.9636DOWN
55Lauderdale0.9625DOWN
56Giles0.9623DOWN
57Crockett0.9586DOWN
58Henry0.9583DOWN
59Macon0.9583DOWN
60Warren0.9579DOWN
61Washington0.9566DOWN
62Montgomery0.9548DOWN
63Anderson0.9544DOWN
64Lincoln0.9514DOWN
65Coffee0.9506DOWN
66Claiborne0.9477DOWN
67McMinn0.9456DOWN
68Henderson0.9449DOWN
69Gibson0.9449DOWN
70Campbell0.9422DOWN
71Madison0.9392DOWN
72Hawkins0.9362DOWN
73Tipton0.9337DOWN
74Chester0.9309DOWN
75Sullivan0.9301DOWN
76Clay0.9284DOWN
77Weakley0.9276DOWN
78Dyer0.927DOWN
79Carter0.926DOWN
80Fentress0.9247DOWN
81Cannon0.9242DOWN
82Obion0.9146DOWN
83Lake0.9139DOWN
84Roane0.9068DOWN
85Houston0.9028DOWN
86Polk0.9002DOWN
87Unicoi0.8989DOWN
88Carroll0.8923DOWN
89McNairy0.8906DOWN
90Hardeman0.8906DOWN
91Haywood0.8898DOWN
92Greene0.8814DOWN
93Shelby0.8786DOWN
94Bledsoe0.8559DOWN
95Jackson0.8113DOWN

Read the Democratic lawsuit seeking to halt the GOP’s redistricting plan

Rep. John Mark Windle (D-Livingston), left, walks to look at a proposed House redistricting map on Dec. 17, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A lawsuit filed on behalf of Tenenssee Democrats seeks to to halt the Republican redistricting plan for state House and Senate.

“From the very beginning, we doubted that the Tennessee redistricting process would be open and fair,” said state Democratic Party Chair Hendrell Remus. Unfortunately, Republicans also violated the law while gerrymandering our state. We’re proud to be supporting these individuals in their efforts to ensure equal representation for every Tennessean.”

Read the complaint here:

IN THE CHANCERY COURT OF TENNESSEE FOR THE TWENTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT

AKILAH MOORE, TELISE TURNER, and GARY WYGANT v.

BILL LEE, Governor, TRE HARGETT, Secretary of State, MARK GOINS, Tennessee Coordinator of Elections; all in their official capacity only)

COMPLAINT

Over the course of approximately two weeks in January 2022, the Tennessee General Assembly engaged in an unprecedented reapportionment of voters, redrawing state House and Senate maps to ensure maximum partisan advantage for the incumbent Republican supermajority. Redistricting decisions were made largely out of view of the public and largely without input from representatives of the minority party. These one-sided decisions denied voters any real opportunity to participate in – much less stop – fundamental changes to the process through which Tennessee voters choose their elected representatives.

Crucially for purposes of this lawsuit, the Tennessee General Assembly supermajority and Governor Bill Lee ignored the plain, unambiguous text of the Tennessee Constitution in order to enact their partisan redistricting scheme. They did so in two ways: first, by dividing more counties than necessary to create House districts with roughly equal populations, and second, by numbering state senatorial districts nonconsecutively. These actions both contravene the language of the Tennessee Constitution.

Regardless of the supermajority’s motives, the Tennessee General Assembly’s and Governor’s redistricting maps are facially unconstitutional according to the text of our state’s founding document. The above-named Plaintiffs – on behalf of all voters of Tennessee – file this action seeking a swift declaration and injunction requiring that the Tennessee General Assembly and Governor immediately adopt maps that conform with the Tennessee Constitution.

INTRODUCTION

1. This lawsuit challenges the Tennessee General Assembly’s recent reapportionment of the Tennessee House of Representatives and Tennessee Senate for violating two provisions of the Tennessee Constitution.

2. First, the legislature’s reapportionment of the House of Representatives divides more counties than necessary to ensure that all districts have roughly equal populations.

3. Second, the legislature’s reapportionment of the Senate fails to consecutively number the four senatorial districts included in Davidson County.

4. County Divisions: The Tennessee Constitution prohibits legislators from dividing individual counties when creating multi-county legislative districts, and the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution requires the creation of legislative districts with roughly equal populations. The Tennessee Supreme Court has reconciled these two provisions by holding that the General Assembly must create as few county-dividing districts as is necessary to ensure that all legislative districts contain roughly equal populations.

5. The General Assembly’s reapportionment of the House of Representatives violates this constitutional mandate by creating significantly more county-dividing House districts than necessary to maintain districts with roughly equal populations. The newly-enacted House apportionment plan crosses 30 county lines, despite the fact that significantly fewer county divisions could have been achieved while also maintaining roughly equal populations in each district. The legislative history illustrates this constitutional violation, as one alternate map submitted to the legislature contained just 23 county divisions, while also achieving closer population parity than the plan that the General Assembly approved. The General Assembly’s failure to reduce county divisions in its House plan violates the Tennessee Constitution.

6. Senate District Numbering: When a single county contains more than one senatorial district, the Tennessee Constitution requires the districts in that county to be numbered consecutively. This requirement ensures that half of a large county’s senatorial districts will be on the ballot in presidential election years and half of a large county’s senatorial districts will be on the ballot in gubernatorial election years, given that even-numbered districts are on the ballot in presidential election years and odd-numbered districts are on the ballot in gubernatorial election years.

7. The General Assembly’s new Senate map creates four senatorial districts within Davidson County, including three districts that are entirely within Davidson County and a fourth district that includes a portion of Davidson County along with all of Wilson County. The General Assembly numbered these districts 17, 19, 20, and 21, ensuring that three districts will be on the ballot during gubernatorial elections and just one district will be on the ballot during presidential elections. Before enacting this map, an amendment was proposed that would have corrected this deficiency by properly numbering Davidson County’s senatorial districts. The General Assembly rejected this amendment.

8. The General Assembly’s Senate apportionment map violates the Tennessee Constitution’s express requirement that senatorial “districts shall be numbered consecutively” in counties having more than one senatorial district. Tenn. Const. art. II, Sec. 3.

9. These constitutional violations can be, and should be, corrected before the August 2022 legislative primary elections. This Court should provide the General Assembly with fifteen days to enact new apportionment plans that correct these violations, as required by T.C.A. § 20- 18-105(a). If the General Assembly fails to enact such new maps by the Court’s deadline, the Court should then “impose an interim districting plan,” as authorized by T.C.A. § 20-18-105(b). Such interim districting plan would only apply to the 2022 legislative election cycle. Id.

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Here are the counties holding primaries for school board

Under a new law passed last month, county parties can decide whether to hold primaries for school board elections rather than going with nonpartisan contests. According to Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office, Republican primaries will be held 56 counties along with Democratic ones in 32.

Here is the full list:

Republican primariesDemocratic Primaries
AndersonBlount
BedfordBradley
BentonCarroll
BlountCarter
BradleyCoffee
CannonDavidson
CarrollDeKalb
CarterFayette
CheathamHamblen
ChesterHamilton
CoffeeHardeman
CrockettHawkins
CumberlandJefferson
DavidsonKnox
DecaturLoudon
DeKalbMadison
FayetteMarion
FranklinMcMinn
GraingerMonroe
GreeneMontgomery
HamblenObion
HamiltonPolk
HardemanRobertson
HardinSevier
HawkinsSmith
HendersonSullivan
HumphreysSumner
JeffersonWashington
KnoxWeakley
LawrenceWhite
LoudonWilliamson
MaconWilson
Madison
Marion
McMinn
Meigs
Monroe
Montgomery
Obion
Overton
Polk
Putnam
Rhea
Robertson
Rutherford
Sevier
Smith
Sullivan
Sumner
Tipton
Van Buren
Washington
Weakley
White
Williamson
Wilson
Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka), second from right, was a main sponsor of the partisan school board bill.