Press release from Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; April 16, 2013:
(April 16, 2013, NASHVILLE) – The Senate voted 27 to 4 to approve Senate Bill 780, legislation that outlines a new judicial map for Tennessee. The consensus plan was designed at the direction of Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) after significant input from the public and cooperation by stakeholder groups. Tennessee’s judicial map has not been redrawn since 1984.
“While the 1984 map made great strides by consolidating public defenders, district attorneys and judges into unified districts, it is clear that the particular politics of the time influenced the map resulting in untenable inefficiencies,” Lt. Governor Ramsey explained. “This map corrects those mistakes and brings our judicial districts into the 21st century.”
“I am very pleased that Tennessee will soon have a judicial map that reflects the significant changes that have occurred in Tennessee in the last thirty years. Tennessee has grown and it is time that its judicial districts grew with it. I’m proud to have been a part of this process,” Lt. Governor Ramsey concluded.
Senate Bill 780 causes minimal disruption to the current system affecting only 22 counties in 8 districts. To maximize efficiency, the number of judicial districts have been reduced from 31 to 29. Factors such as regional integrity, geographic boundaries and ease of inter-county travel were also heavily considered.
An open call for judicial redistricting proposals went out in February. Fourteen maps were submitted as well as informal input from members of the public and stakeholder groups. The plan was unveiled at a press conference in March.
Joining Lt. Governor Ramsey at the unveiling and endorsing the plan were judicial redistricting bill sponsors Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Representative Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) along with Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade, Tennessee Trial Judges Association President Chancellor Daryl Fansler, Tennessee Judicial Conference President Robert Holloway and Tennessee Bar Association President Jackie Dixon.
The plan can be found online at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/judredist/judredist.html.