bill beck

New TNJ edition alert: Judge hammers lawmakers, DeSantis to headline GOP fundraiser

Bill Hagerty attends the Tennessee Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner in Nashville on June 15, 2019. At right is U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood). (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is here. Here is what’s in it:

— Parker shot first: Judge slams lawmakers in blocking drag law.

— From the campaign trail: DeSantis headlines GOP fundraiser, no leader in Nashville mayor’s race.

— Obituaries: Nashville Rep. Bill Beck, 14-year Knox County exec Dwight Kessel.

Also: Lackluster fundraising numbers for the Justins, Glenn Jacobs hangs out with Donald Trump, John Ingram rails against a racetrack deal, and a new area code in East Tennessee.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

Beck to lie in state at Tennessee Capitol

Rep. Bill Beck, who died of a heart attack over the weekend, will lie in state at the state Capitol in Nashville on Thursday.

Here are the details:

NASHVILLE—Funeral arrangements have been determined for beloved State Representative Bill Beck.  Representative Beck unexpectedly passed away Sunday after suffering a sudden heart attack at his home.  The Nashville attorney served in the Tennessee Legislature for almost a decade representing parts of downtown Nashville, East Nashville, Germantown, Inglewood, Madison, Old Hickory, and portions of Donelson.   Arrangements are as follow:


Representative Beck will lie in state at the Capitol from 2:00 to 6:00 PM.


Funeral at Polk Theatre at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. 

Services begin at 11:00 AM.

Doors open at 10:30 AM.

Reactions to the sudden passing of Rep. Bill Beck

Lawmakers attend a House floor session in Nashville on March 16, 2020. Watching from the gallery are, from left, Reps. Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville), Bob Freeman (D-Nashville), and Bill Beck (D-Nashville). (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

State Rep. Bill Beck (D-Nashville) died of a heart attack over the weekend at age 61. The attorney was first elected to the House in 2014. He was a fierce advocate for his constituents, but also well liked across the aisle.

Here are some reactions to Beck’s passing made through statements or social media postings:

House Minority Leader Karen Camper (D-Memphis):

Bill Beck was one of my closest friends. He was not only my colleague, but also my confidant. His warmth, intellect and passion for people made the House of Representatives a better place. Bill was well respected by members on both sides of the aisle. No matter the political differences or issues, Bill would always find the humanity in a situation.  Any encounter with Bill made your day better.  I will miss his laugh and his counsel.  He was truly the best of us and I cannot imagine the world without Bill Beck in it.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville):

We are incredibly saddened to hear that our colleague, Rep. Bill Beck, has unexpectedly passed away. Bill was a dedicated servant and powerful voice for the city of Nashville, a husband, father, and friend to everyone in the General Assembly.

House Democratic Caucus Chair John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville):

Today we lost a brother, and we are devastated. Our hearts go out to Pam, Meredith and Bill’s entire family. Bill and I entered the legislature together, and it was a true honor to serve with and learn from him. He was a source of advice, inspiration and much-needed levity for me and many others at the most crucial moments. Everyone privileged enough to ever cross Bill’s path knows what a special person and caring individual he was. He truly had a public servant’s heart and the most memorable laugh.

State Rep. Justin Pearson (D-Memphis):

Bill Beck spoke up against the injustice of our expulsions with tact & leadership that’s lacking in the Tennessee General Assembly. He served well & wasn’t afraid of speaking against racist, discriminatory, and immoral legislation targeting Nashville. God grant him peace.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett:

I am saddened to learn about the passing of Rep. Bill Beck. He was smart, witty, and passionate. He treated others with respect, and he served our state well. Please lift up his family in your prayers.

State Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City):

Please join me in praying for Rep. Bill Beck’s friends and family tonight. Bill was a lifelong servant of our great state, and was a friend to many.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper:

Bill Beck was a constant charming and kind presence. He brightened every room with his grace and wit, and he made politics better for us all. Bill was a true friend, and we will miss him everyday. Our prayers are with his wife Pam & their family as we all mourn this tragic loss.

Rep. Beck blames ‘highly risky’ special session for COVID-19 infection

Democratic state Rep. Bill Beck of Nashville is the latest House member to test positive for COVID-19. The lawmaker is blaming a “highly risky” special legislative session for his infection.

Lawmakers attend a House floor session in Nashville on March 16, 2020. Watching from the gallery are, from left, Reps. Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville), Bob Freeman (D-Nashville), and Bill Beck (D-Nashville). (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

“Unfortunately, staying safe is a group effort and the General Assembly as a whole failed to follow the medical advice of wearing a mask and social distancing while in Nashville for the special session,” Beck said in a statement Thursday. “I and many others said this special session was unnecessary and highly risky. We have been proven right on both accounts.”

House Minority Leader Karen Camper (D-Memphis) disclosed she had tested positive after leaving the special session due to feeling ill. Others who have come down with COVID-19 include Reps. Gary Hicks (R-Rogersville), Kent Calfee (R-Kingston), and Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah). Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) said he did not attend the special session because he had been exposed to COVID-19, but refused to say whether he had tested positive. Former Rep. Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland), now the mayor of his hometown, tested positive after serving as pastor of the day on the last day of the regular session in June.

Beck’s full statement follows.

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