Senate deals setback to effort to block local governments from suing state

The Tennessee Senate meets on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Senate on Monday rejected a proposal by Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) to ban local governments from filing lawsuits to challenge the constitutionality of laws passed by the General Assembly.

Kelsey said his bill would only apply to lawsuits filed after the bill went into effect. But he cited recent legal challenges over school vouchers, voter ID, and funding for large school districts as examples of litigation he is seeking to outlaw.

Kelsey’s bill went off the rails when Republicans like Sens. Ken Yager of Kingston and Page Walley of Bolivar began questioning why local governments should be prevented from challenging the constitutionality of measures that may bring them fiscal harm.

Walley noted that when he was a state House member in the 1990s, 77 small school districts successfully sued the state for more equal education funding. Kelsey argued that instead of the lawsuit filed by the late Lewis Donelson, the small school districts should have pursued their aims by “talking to the legislature.”

Walley agreed it would have been better for the General Assembly to act on its own accord, but recalled “an intransigence” on the part of lawmakers that prevented a solution at the time.

The vote on Kelsey’s amendment failed 14-14, with three Republicans and two Democrats missing the vote. Kelsey asked to move his bill to Wednesday, at which point he is expected to introduce another amendment seeking similar restrictions.

Kelsey’s amendment failed on a 14-14 vote on April 26, 2021.

41 Responses to Senate deals setback to effort to block local governments from suing state

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Just as the State should ‘nullify’ unconstitutional federal executive or judicial ‘orders’ or even legislative laws; the counties and cities should nullify or sue the state for same reasons.

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    James White says:

    Thank you Senator Walley.

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    Donna Locke says:

    Drunk with power and trying to grab more. There is something medieval about these bills they’ve been coming up with. Most of these current legislators are a menace.

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      Cryan says:

      It’s absurd hypocrisy that has become the GQP brand. They bitch and bitch about federal control and states’ rights and autonomous community schools, but “Fuck Nashville!!!”

      • Avatar
        Cryan says:

        These impotent losers and far-right incels are so jealous of Nashville. They need to realize Tennessee would basically be Mississippi if we didn’t have Nashville. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    Way to go, Sen. Walley!!

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    Cryan says:

    Kelsey is such a Qunt. Work out your differences by “talking to the legislature”? I thought this country and it’s Constitution was founded on the idea of Liberty. Screw these Evangelical Republican authoritarians. They are no better than George III.

  • Avatar
    Phillip Lassiter says:

    Appreciate the posts, but the moderator really should do away with anyone who continuously spews tripe and curse words

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    This is a free speech forum Phillip and it should remain that way. Of course, childish vulgarians are simply attention seeking trolls who should ALWAYS be ignored. Eventually they will bore themselves as much as they bore everyone else. They don’t care about approval, they want attention. Give them attention either positive or negative and you make them happy. Do you want to make them happy Phillip?

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      Cryan says:

      Damn, I guess I’ll tone down the language for you fucking Puritans.

      I’m not seeking attention. I’m just trying to represent an underrepresented viewpoint here: “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

      You “freedom” loving GQP-Anons are a bunch of hypocrites. Phil, I thought you said Trump was going to be inaugurated for a second term on March 4th. We’re waiting…

    • Avatar
      Eddie White says:

      A free speech forum can still have parameters and should. Try using the n word and see if I am correct. The F word should be treated the same. It reflects poorly on the blogger and the blog.

      • Avatar
        Cryan says:

        Why would you want to use the n word or even bring that up as an example? That’s sick. If politicians like our governor can’t handle being called a dipshit plumber, then they need should go back to plumbing. We should be allowed to criticize elected officials however we want. If you don’t like it, go back to Merry Old England and bow to the queen. I’ll stay in the Land of the Free.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Unquestionably it does lower the intellectual level of conversation on this forum and it contributes nothing except to the need of the vulgarian to be noticed and to hopefully elicit attention. The “N” word is a word of hatred whereas the “F” word is a nullity whose only use is as I have outlined and it saves the vulgarian the trouble of expanding his vocabulary.

        I would imagine that there are some who are so bothered by vulgarians that they just as soon prefer not to participate in a forum that contains one or more of them. To me they are easily ignored, treated like an un-person if you will, and I come pretty close to being a free speech absolutist. It’s Erik’s call. I simply hate going down the road of speech monitoring because we unfortunately have the inevitable vulgar troll on board and too many people engage with him.

        • Avatar
          Cryan says:

          You lower the intellectual level of conversation on this forum. We don’t need you to tell us what Tucker and Heritage said last night. Have an original thought for once.

          Do you support Kelsey’s big government overreach to shut down checks and balances? Or do you need to tune in to Tucker and Gutfield! before you can respond?

    • Avatar
      Donna Locke says:

      Stuart, I want to address what you wrote above about a free speech forum. I don’t care if people get on here and cuss, but there should be some basic respect. It is not okay for men to get on here and call women the “b” word. And it is really, really not okay for anonymous commenters to get on here and flat-out LIE about what other commenters–who are using their real, full names!–have said, written, or otherwise done.

      The forum should be monitored for such, or every commenter should have to post his or her real full name. The cowardly get away with a lot here. I had to smack down this Cryan person, who was lying about me in another thread. I had to take that action because I am using my real name here, and the Internet is forever.

      I began posting comments here only because Humphrey was here, and I continued only because Schelzig led us to believe he would not tolerate personal attacks here. I know there is a fine line, and I myself like to err on the side of free flow.

      But these threads quickly become trash if anything goes.

      I stopped commenting in some forums years ago because of the trash that was allowed to spew. I had to publicly call out Nashville Scene employee Betsy Phillips on the Nashville Scene’s Pith in the Wind blog for posting and tweeting malicious lies about me, which she broadcast and also sent directly to The Tennessean newspaper when I had op-eds published there. The Nashville Scene is a good example of a forum that trashed itself to death.

      Some things need to cleaned up here. Commenters, take some responsibility.

      • Avatar
        Donna Locke says:

        I also want to say that when Stuart began commenting here when Humphrey was here, it gave a real boost to the comment section. I don’t agree with Stuart on everything, but he brought something, and more commenters came.

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    karen bracken says:

    Good job. Kelsey should have been voted out of office years ago. TN has some real house cleaning to do.

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      Cryan says:

      He’s a total fuckboy. I’m astonished Glen Casada had a drug and sex scandal before Kelsey.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      On the contrary karen, Brian Kelsey (ACU-87%) is a gem and I am keeping an eye on his re-election campaign in 2022. He is an intellectual leader of the conservative legislators in the state senate who was one of the main members of the General Assembly responsible for the constitutional amendments protecting us against a state income tax and soon protecting workers against being forced to join a union in order to keep their jobs. A significant contribution to Brian’s reelection campaign will be headed his way from the SIA Evangelical Conservative PCF should he even be seriously challenged.

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        Cryan says:

        H Y P O C R I T E

        What is conservative about forcing localities to submit to the will of the Plumber governor and the dipshits in the General Assembly?

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    Cryan says:

    Even after Cameron Sexton endorsed Medical Marijuana for a narrow list of debilitating diseases, his own RepubliKKKan caucus killed the bill.

    I wonder how many bottles of whiskey and campaign dollars from Brown-Forman were accepted by the GQP naysayers Campbell, Griffey, Hawk, Howell, Hulsey, Lamberth, Moody, Russell, and Sherrell.

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    Michael Lottman says:

    Killing this bill was the only possible outcome, even when you consider the pile of whack legislation that has been churned out this session. It would have been struck down by the first judge, state or federal, who considered it and the proponent referred for professional discipline or re-education. And it certainly has initiated one of our more enlightened discussions.

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    James White says:

    What is the bill number that Kelsey was trying to pass and/or amend?

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    MARLE says:

    This “real name” issue keeps resurfacing. The person hosting the blog no doubt gave some thought to how he wanted to identify the thoughts presented here and HE decided identities were not important.

    Point 2….do you also want addresses to be included? There are over 3000 Edward (Eddie or some variation) Whites in the US. And there are over 300 James Whites in TN. There are 11K Mary Jones in the US.

    Using your “real name” is not any sort of way to identify anyone specifically.

    So….let’s just allow this Blog host to do things as he wishes and start your own blog if you want to,

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      Cryan says:

      I’ve learned calling a hypocrite a hypocrite is the most insulting thing you can do to a “conservative” Republican. I guess the truth really does hurt.

      I support the freedom of TNJ to moderate the comment section any way they want. But cancelling me would be the best way to prove the main point I’ve been trying to make: these people who watch hours of Fox News coverage about “Cancel Culture” are hypocrites.

      There are plenty of people on the left who are hypocrites, as well. I can’t stand Bernie Sanders and the Bernie Bros because of their hypocrisy and laziness. They are much closer to the QAnons and Trumps than they are to the Democratic Party. I don’t rail on them as much here because they have no presence here and very little, if any, in our state government.

      I can read a room, and I’ll tone down the language. But I’m not going to stop pointing out the hypocrisy of people like Brian Kelsey and several of the commenters here.

      Donna: I don’t understand how any reasonable person who has followed your posts on this blog couldn’t reasonably come to the conclusion you’re a crazy anti-vaxxer. I didn’t intentionally lie. Apparently, you’re not, and I’ll take your word for it. How about you work on your narcissism? Your anecdotes about your kids’ random experiences in Georgia aren’t evidence of anything at all.

      • Avatar
        Donna Locke says:

        That isn’t what you wrote, and what you wrote here is false, too. You stated in more than one thread that I told people to take colloidal silver and essential oils. This is a lie. And you knew it was a lie and kept repeating it. I have never said or written any such thing. I can’t take vaccines because of previous reactions and autoimmune issues. I don’t care what other people do. My children were vaccinated as kids, and they got the Covid vaccine. The Covid vaccines have caused some serious reactions, including death and shingles, in some people. Shingles has caused deafness and blindness in people I know. I am for open information and for making informed decisions. Risk is part of life. But we can inform ourselves and follow our own intuitions.

        • Avatar
          Cryan says:

          I don’t even know what colloidal silver is. I confused it with elderberry extract, which you have recklessly supported. Just stop.

          You are crazy as hell. Nobody, and I mean nobody, gives a fuck about your medical advice or 15 year old war with the Nashville Scene. Fuck you and your embrace of Cancel Culture.

          • Avatar
            Donna Locke says:

            I addressed your rabid claims/lies in another thread.

            It has been my experience that the left reveals astounding hypocrisy, sociopathy, and psychosis when faced with a fact or an idea that threatens their fantasies.

          • Avatar
            Cryan says:

            No you didn’t. You have repeatedly proposed alternative and debunked cures for coronavirus. You constantly inflate your self-importance by bringing up a stupid feud with the Nashville Scene. You are pathetic. You and Stuart should get married if he wasn’t so sexually repressed. #TrueLove

    • Avatar
      Donna Locke says:

      As for using real names in comment sections, I can see reasons not to, just as with confidential sources in journalism. But hiding in anonymity while lying, wallowing in the gutter, and attacking others is another thing entirely.

      I am a very, very private person, but I have used my real name because I was used to putting my name on anything I write and because of causes I am affiliated with, including immigration control and enforcement, LGBT equality, environmental protection, church-state separation, and animal welfare. For years strangers have e-mailed me and told me I was great in Neon Maniacs. I didn’t know what that was, but it does sound like a movie I would have been in.

      • Avatar
        Cryan says:

        ^^ Narcissistic personality disorder ^^

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        Donna Locke says:

        And I believe that is the only time I ever mentioned the Phillips/Scene behavior. One of the things Phillips did was to make fun of my sister’s murder and to post and tweet that not only was I lying about my sister’s murder but that I didn’t even have a sister. Apparently there was no one at all in the other twin bed all those years.

        For the record, my sister’s body is in a marked grave in Columbia. Her murderer is in the prison at Mountain City. The parole board has been seeing me every six years for some time. It will be four years this time. Torry Johnson and Cheryl Blackburn prosecuted the case. They remember it.

        Some years ago I decided to go public about my sister in an effort to help the LGBT equality efforts in Tennessee. I had some influence with the Republicans, and it was felt it would help if conservatives spoke out on these issues. So I did.

        If Schelzig and the blog owner don’t clean up this blog, I will not be wasting my time reading a bunch of trash here. I don’t mind the barbed jokes, but we had civil commentary here until two bullies here were allowed to dominate. I came back for the session, which is almost over. If they don’t pass E-Verify, let your communities know.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          I believe there has been a notable drop off in participation in the responses and replies to this blog. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the “community standards” that prevail here has unfortunately allowed the Twitterization of this forum that most intelligent adults just as soon avoid. As a ex-teen-age conservative growing us in a very liberal city I feel that intolerant profane leftist vulgarians are simply to be expected and ignored. I understand, however, the normal person just as soon avoid them in the first place.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Most teen-agers already know how to avoid the blowhards that think they know everything, like Stuart. They can detect the Republican Spin from far away and they can pinpoint an intolerant conservative constantly spouting off about how the opposition is wrong or playing dirty. It is called reflection and conservatives are very adept at hiding behind reflection and diversion tactics.

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    mike swafford says:

    need to vote all these republican out of office. and let them go and live with there MASTER TRUMP. ALL BOW TO MASTER TRUMP. WHAT A JOKE

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