Press Releases

TNHDC Praise Cooper’s Proposal to Constitutionally Guarantee Voting Rights

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; May 2, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – House Democrats are applauding a proposal by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) to enshrine the people’s right to vote in the constitution. On Wednesday, Rep. Cooper announced that he would introduce a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that fully guarantees the people’s right to vote.

“The Republicans have worked hard over the past decade to find new and creative ways to get around the Voting Rights Act,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner. “The so-called ‘reforms’ they have introduced amount to little more than a poll tax designed to keep the poor from exercising their rights. This proposed amendment would halt the GOP assault on our rights and preserve our democracy for future generations.”

Earlier this year the Republican super-majority pushed through a proposal that would eliminate various forms of identification from being accepted at the ballot box. Additionally, an initial proposal to allow college students to use their state-issued ID was stripped in order to make it harder for young students to exercise their right to vote.

“We have seen an assault on voting rights like we haven’t witnessed since the 1950s,” said Rep. Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville). “By guaranteeing the right to vote in the constitution, we can once and for all say that no man or woman should be denied their God-given right to suffrage.”

Press Releases

TFA: Demand General Assembly Take Accountability for Maggart ‘Lies, Bullying’

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; July 27, 2012: 

This is the entire body of message that went to all legislators in Tennessee this morning. Call your legislators now and reinforce this message. Demand that they speak out publicly against Maggart’s lies and bullying. DO NOT let them tell you that they want to “stay out of it” – they are elected officials and sometimes that means demanding publicly ethical conduct of their peers.

The Tennessee Firearms Association has taken a position on Debra Maggart and focused our attention and resources on her as an example of what is wrong with the General Assembly.

All legislators have some, and in some instances for those who have publicly endorsed her a significant degree of, accountability for the actions of Debra Maggart. She is a selected leader of the Republican caucus. She is a legislator and is subject to ethics charges. She is causing great concern to arise regarding whether the entire legislature is nothing but a cesspool of people more concerned about being re-elected than representing the people with the honor and truthfulness of a steward. It is your opportunity and obligation to demonstrate to the people of this state that you do not stand with or condone lying and unethical legislators and that you will speak the truth to condemn misconduct of those in public office.

TFA is demanding that each legislator take action to stop Debra Maggart. She is engaged in inappropriate and unethical conduct in her campaign. She needs to be told to immediately stop and apologize. That demand needs to be made public so that there is no question who stood for truth and who stands with or even silently tolerates a liar. There is no setting on the sidelines as a spectator for an elected official who lies and abuses her position of power. You either condemn this action or your inaction signals your willing acceptance of it.

Each legislator has the ability to bring ethics charges against Debra Maggart.

Each legislator has the ability to stand up and publicly renounce the intentional lies and misrepresentations of Debra Maggart.

Each legislator has the ability to tell the lobbyists that they do not have to submit to Debra Maggart’s demands for support in her campaign or risk retaliation.

Each legislator’s actions or inactions will be measured in the public dialogue.

So, what are the problems that demand your involvement – NOW?

1. Debra Maggart is using her legislative telephone number on her campaign advertising. It can be inferred that by doing so she is using her legislative office phone services, office supplies and state paid staff in her re-election campaign. This may be a criminal violation and if not it should be. This certainly should be an ethics violation and should be prosecuted with an ethics complaint of the most harsh degree. This absolutely is wrong and she should be publicly chastised by her legislative peers for her gross misconduct.

This is what she is using as a campaign footer:
© Debra Young Maggart | State Representative 45th District
112 La Bar Dr. Hendersonville, TN 37075 | 615-741-3893
Paid for by Debra Maggart for State Representative; Debra Maggart, Treasurer
This email was sent to To ensure that you continue receiving our emails, please add us to your address book or safe list.
manage your preferences | opt out using TrueRemove™ Got this as a forward? Sign up to receive our future emails.
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Is Debra also using her legislative budget to pay for this email service? Who knows. However, are you willing as elected officials to be accountable to your constituents for letting another legislator use state paid resources – including staff – in her re-election campaign? Your actions – including your silence – will answer that question in the next few days.

2. Debra Maggart is intentionally lying to the public about the candidate disclosure form. It is an intentional misrepresentation by Maggart and should be condemned.

The facts are simple. Candidates for office must fill out a disclosure form (the state SS-8004). One question on the form asks:

Bankruptcy – List any adjudication of bankruptcy or discharge received in any United States district court within five (5) years of the date of this report.

Lt. Col. Rogers answered “none” to that question. That was truthful and accurate answer.

Rogers and her husband did file bankruptcy following a failed business effort after retiring from the military. The Rogers chapter 7 bankruptcy according to the Court’s records, was opened on 3/2/05. They were discharged on 6/15/05 but the court appointed bankruptcy trustee did not conclude the administration of the estate and close it until 7/28/08. Those are specific and federally defined terms.

Rogers’ discharge is indisputably on March 2, 2005. Roger’s disclosure form is dated 3/19/12. Therefore, the relevant window regarding the bankruptcy question would be 3/19/07. Roger’s discharge was almost 2 years prior and clearly outside the five year window designated on the form so a “none” response was truthful and accurate.

Apparently, the state did not consider bankruptcies older than 5 years to be relevant because it specifically created the five year window . The question clearly requires the disclosure of any “discharge” which is a specific legal event under federal law not the date the estate was “closed”.

The date of a “discharge” is critical under 11 USC Secs 524 and 727 because it is that specific event and date which determines the rights and obligations of future creditors. The termination of prior claims as to the individuals granted the discharge and many other matters. The date a bankruptcy estate is closed has nothing to do with a discharge or even whether a discharge is ever granted.

TFA has the bankruptcy file and will email it to you if necessary to resolve the disagreement on the facts. is one of the few news agencies that has actually reported on this story. Other news agencies have reported that Maggart was “shopping” the story but after looking into it they concluded it was not a factually reliable story. TNReport issued this story on July 9.

In it, they asked a Nashville bankruptcy attorney, Ed Rothschild to review the matter for them. This is the quote from the story:

But a Nashville bankruptcy attorney questioned whether the chain of events in Rogers’ case met the five-year test.
The late closing of the case had nothing to do with the actual ruling and liquidation, which was finished by 2005, says Edgar Rothschild, who was not involved in the case and reviewed the documents at the request of TNReport.
“I see nothing unusual about the fact that it was opened in 2005 and not closed until 2008,” he said. “The fact that the trustee took so long moving his paperwork along and disposing of the assets had nothing to do with the debtors. There is nothing in the report which indicated that the debtors did anything questionable.”

The fact is clear that what Debra Maggart is using as her primary negative attack on Lt. Col. Rogers is intentionally and knowingly false. Perhaps, it is perhaps possible that Maggart is too illiterate to know the difference – but let her make that excuse. In either event, she apparently hopes that the citizens will not learn or know the truth until its too late to make a difference.

Maggart has tried to make a big issue out of this. In response, the Rogers campaign has already asked elected members of the General Assembly to “sanction their own”. It is sad that apparently none of you have publicly done so at this point. That is sad because your silence turns your back on and thereby condones intentional lies by Maggart. Are you willing to tolerate that kind of deceitful and unethical misconduct?

3. Debra Maggart has taken on the NRA and is now lying about her record. Debra Maggart has put out a campaign ad that claims:

– Debra Maggart has consistently been given an A+ rating by the NRA—the highest rating possible on gun rights.

While Debra claims – as do most of you – that the NRA is the leading entity for giving endorsements on 2nd Amendment issues, Debra misleads the public by claiming she has an “A+” rating when in fact she received a “D” from the NRA this year. That is a clear and undeniable lie. Are you willing to tolerate that kind of deceitful and unethical misconduct regarding what is normally a cherished NRA endorsement?

4. Debra Maggart is falsely claiming that Lt. Col. Rogers is running a “negative campaign”. While it is true that the NRA and the TFA are negative on Maggart, Lt. Col. Rogers is not attacking Maggart other than discussing specific votes and specific bills.

5. Debra Maggart is misusing her campaign funds. In the Summer of 2011, Maggart and 14 other members of the TN General Assembly made a trip to China (

Debra Maggart apparently saw fit to reimburse herself for luggage for that trip from her Campaign Finance Account. If you go to you can enter the last name of a candidate and access the candidate’s campaign finance reports. If you access Rep. Maggart’s “Early Mid Year Supplemental (2011)” report you will find an entry for the reimbursement of a $431.54 “Travel Expense” she paid to Mori Luggage in Nashville. The entry is dated 2/28/2011. Tennessee statutes prohibit the use of campaign funds for the personal use of a candidate.

Also of interest in that same report is an entry for the purchase of $2,084.15 in furniture from C.W. Sanderson, Kenton, TN. The entry indicates the reimbursement to Rep. Maggart is for “Legislative Office Furniture.” Since the State of Tennessee provides furniture for her Nashville office one must assume the purchase was for her “home office.”

That report also includes two entries to Home Depot for “Legislative Office Paint” and several entries for “Office Supplies.” All these entries should be viewed with the understanding that the State of Tennessee provides a $1,000 a month to you as members of the General Assembly to offset expenses involved in maintaining an office in their home district.

Debra Maggart is trying to twist the arms of legislators to support her campaign. Do not fall for it. Debra Maggart and perhaps others have made their bed by selling out constitutional rights and getting in bed with Federal Express and its conspirators. When her campaign reports are filed, those who support her with money will be on public record.

TFA is asking you now to stand up and be good stewards. Do not allow your inaction on these issues to signal to the public that you condone Debra Maggart’s conduct. Hold her accountable for her actions. Hold her accountable openly and in the public square and discourse.

Featured News NewsTracker Tax and Budget

Governor’s Budget Amendment Prompts Bonanza of Spending Requests

Lawmakers have a wish list up to $500 million in projects and programs long — a pipe dream they’ll have to whittle down to about $5 million, says Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.

The governor included $5 million in legislative expenditures in his budget, and now lawmakers are clamoring for a piece of that available money. The proposals include projects specific to lawmakers’ districts and attempts to fund favored bills or existing state programs.

Norris said it’s too soon to say what lawmakers will decide to spend that available money on, but said they so far don’t see making many changes to the governor’s proposed budget and accompanied amendment.

“Given that we only have about 1 percent of what’s requested available, all of them will not make it,” said Norris, R-Collierville. “Though worthy, there’s not enough taxpayer money available to fund everything that people would like to see us fund.”

Senate lawmakers began combing through the requests this week in a budget subcommittee and expect to decide next week which of those proposals will actually be funded.

“People think there’s more money,” said House Finance Committee Chairman Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, who said his office has 350 funding requests, an increase from last year’s 150 requests.

Before lawmakers can go home for the year, they need to approve a budget. Gov. Bill Haslam proposed a $31.1 billion spending plan, which the Republican-driven Legislature is so far keen on.

Business and Economy News NewsTracker Tax and Budget

Stock Earnings-Tax Reduction Not Likely to Make Cut in Haslam’s Budget

Gov. Bill Haslam expects to release a list of edits to his budget plan Monday, but is staying quiet about how he wants to spend an unexpected influx of taxpayer dollars collected by the state.

The governor did say he doubts there will be room in his $31 million budget for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s proposed cut in the “Hall tax” on income from interest and dividends.

“Cutting the Hall tax will probably not be a part of our amendment,” Haslam told reporters Friday at LP Field in Nashville after encouraging youth exercise.

Reducing the Hall tax is one of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of requests his office has received in recent weeks as state revenues grew beyond expectations, Haslam told reporters earlier this week, saying he’d like to plug the excess money into basic service programs that faced cuts or would be funded by one-time money.

“We’re working on the amendment to the budget, and we have very few dollars and we have about $600 million worth of requests,” Haslam said Thursday after speaking with the Tennessee Board of Regents in Nashville.

“We’re trying to go back where we can and address some things we didn’t, couldn’t fit in the budget the first time,” he said.

The Hall tax is a favored tax cut by the lieutenant governor, a Republican from Blountville. Ramsey is backing two proposals reducing the tax on income from interests on bonds, notes and dividends from stock for people over 65 years old — who are now exempt from the tax if they claim less than $26,200 in income as individuals or $37,000 as a couple.

One plan, SB2535, would raise the senior exemption level to keep pace with the rate of inflation, which would mean the state losing out on $1 million a year. The other, SB2536, would up the exemption by $1,000, in turn lowering state revenue collections by an estimated $88 million a year.

Tax collections on everything from buying alcohol, clothing and cars to taxes paid by corporations are up from this time last year, giving the governor $251 million more for the government to spend or give back to taxpayers than originally predicted.

In announcing his first draft of the budget, Haslam said stronger-than-anticipated revenue helped balance out $160 million in one-time federal money leaving the state budget.

But tax revenue has continued to grow beyond expectations.

“As revenues increase, some steps are being taken to reduce taxes, in other words, return some money to the people,” said Mark Emkes, Commissioner of the Department of Finance and Administration.

“Money grows, the government grows, the budget grows. But the idea being that rather than just spend that money… it’s best to give that money back to the citizens of Tennessee,” he told TNReport.

The governor now is behind two tax cuts: reducing the tax on food from 5.5 percent to 5.3 percent, and phasing out the tax on inheritances worth more than $1 million. He also said he was weighing House Republicans’ idea of eliminating the tax on gifts.

Collectively, those reductions would mean $145 million in tax cuts over four years, said House Finance Committee Chairman Charles Sargent, R-Franklin.

“I think every year we need to start looking at reducing taxes. As revenues grow, I think we can reduce taxes by an amount of money so we don’t just keep growing the size of government,” said Sargent.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple things he’d like to see Haslam add back into his budget, he said, such as about $3 million for family resource centers and $2.4 million for peer support centers.

The governor expects to hand off his latest budget recommendations to the General Assembly Monday, April 2. Emkes plans on presenting those details to legislative budget committees Tuesday.

Press Releases

Haslam: We Can’t Rush To Spend

Statement from Gov. Bill Haslam, May 16, 2011:

To my fellow Tennesseans:

Today I filed my budget amendment with the Tennessee General Assembly, adjusting next year’s budget proposal to reflect increases in state revenues. More importantly, the amendment continues to reflect the practical, conservative policies I’m committed to and was elected to govern by.

In March, I introduced my administration’s first budget. It was based on early revenue estimates and accounted for the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in one-time money from the federal government that is no longer available to Tennessee.

The initial proposal took into account the “new normal” of government: that we must do more with less, exerting more energy and spending fewer dollars. My administration is transforming how we set priorities and make choices, and in our short time in office, refocusing the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s job growth strategy on existing Tennessee businesses and specific industries is an example of that effort.

The budget proposal made in March projected conservative revenue growth mostly consumed by TennCare, the Basic Education Program (BEP) funding formula and state employee health care.

The proposal included a 2.5 percent average reduction throughout state government but also a 1.6 percent pay increase for state employees – the first such increase in four years. We also proposed restoring $69 million to the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The budget amendment I filed takes into account the modest revenue growth the state experienced during the last year but stays true to the principles of our March proposal.

There is funding for: disaster relief grants; use of HOPE Lottery scholarships during the summer semester; mental health services; the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; a state veterans home in Clarksville; payments to the Memphis Regional Medical Center, Nashville General and Jellico Community Hospital; the University of Memphis for operations on the Lambuth University campus in Jackson; smoking cessation assistance; and badly needed building maintenance at state and higher education facilities, among other areas receiving funding in this proposal.

I believe this amendment is a sensible adjustment to my March proposal given the new estimates of state revenues. It reinvests what we can in the areas of education and health care for our most vulnerable neighbors, and as I’ve often said, the experience of governing is not choosing between a good idea and a bad idea but it is choosing between two very good ideas.

When our economy declined, decisions were made to position our great state for recovery as quickly as possible. Money became scarcer and scarcer, and just as families across Tennessee had to do, state leaders found themselves having to choose – often between good ideas.

As our economy comes back and we adjust to the new normal, we must make sure we do not rush to spend but that we are continually mindful in our effort to save, use tax dollars smartly and offer Tennessee taxpayers a government that responds to their needs and reflects their principles.


Bill Haslam

Health Care Liberty and Justice News Transparency and Elections

Most TNGOP Tenth Amendment Advocates Wary of Constitutional Convention

A national constitutional convention to fight back against federal power is being discussed in the General Assembly, but contrary to what Tennesseans might assume, legislators looking at that possibility don’t want such a convention to happen.

At the same time, if one were to happen, those same legislators want to be prepared and make sure the convention is narrowly focused, which is why they are devoting time and effort to protect the process.

Enough backlash against Washington has surfaced across the nation that states find themselves looking for options, and the notion of a national constitutional convention to rein in federal power has grown.

The negative reaction to the recent health care legislation in Washington might have been the last straw in the debate. The constitutional convention issue is distinctly separate from the efforts in some states calling for a lawsuit against the federal government on grounds that the health care bill is unconstitutional.

The Tennessee General Assembly has a group of legislators addressing state sovereignty issues, and they have been involved in serious discussions about actions to take. The idea of a constitutional convention, however, scares many of those same lawmakers, because they fear a runaway convention, where things could get out of control and the country could find itself with provisions it never wanted.

One of the most immediate issues in Tennessee is the fact that this state apparently would not even have to call for a constitutional convention, because it already has a call on the books. It dates to 1977, when Tennessee sought a convention over issues involving the federal judiciary, revenues and the power of the president to veto items in an appropriations budget. There is some disagreement, however, as to whether a call issued by a past General Assembly is binding to the current General Assembly.

Some legislators want Tennessee’s call rescinded.

The General Assembly has a resolution scheduled on the House calendar for Thursday, sponsored by Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, the Republican caucus chair, to rescind three specific resolutions from 1977 and any other resolutions passed “at any time” calling for a federal constitutional convention.

Such a convention is made possible by Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Two-thirds of the states — 34 of 50 — are required to create a constitutional convention. Amendments to the Constitution from such a convention would have to be ratified by both houses of the legislatures of three-fourths of the states (38 of the 50).

State Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, has been at the forefront of these issues and last year guided HJR108, which urged Congress to recognize Tennessee’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A committee was formed to communicate with the other 49 states. Lynn has been in a working group under the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Lynn also hints she might support a constitutional convention under the right circumstances — namely, that she and her philosophical allies could control its outcome.

“What we’re trying to do is create firewalls against a runaway convention, so we could do something like legally bind delegates to a convention, so they would be bound to vote the way the legislature that sent them there instructed them to vote,” Lynn said. “We’re doing a lot of research to see if there’s any precedent for this.

“What we’re trying to do is be prepared.”

The irony, she says, is Congress could handle all of this if it wanted to do so.

“I think everything that has been done so far could be corrected in a weekend,” she said. “They could vote to change everything in a weekend. All it takes is the political will.”

Lynn said if a convention did become a reality, she would like to see a change to make it easier for states, not the federal government, to amend the Constitution.

The efforts related to a constitutional convention have gone largely under the radar. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who led the Senate to urge Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper to join lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform act, was asked last weekend if he had heard discussion of a constitutional convention, and he said he had not. U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, in Nashville last Friday, was asked if he had heard about the issue.

“When you say heard, yes, I’ve read about people discussing it. But there has been no discussion of it in the halls of Congress, or at least not in the halls I’ve been around,” Corker said.

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, pointing to the unfunded mandate in the health care legislation, said he could see that people are worked up about the federal government.

“All I would say is the federal government has thrown such bombs into the states you could see all across the country states taking action to try to stand against this mandate,” Wamp said. “I would ask anyone who says we might not have a constitutional convention how we are going to pay for this mandate.

“I’m open to whatever the possibilities are.”

But Wamp said there is reason for caution.

“Constitutional conventions are messy and dangerous, and you have to be very sure what we’re trying to accomplish as a state to open that up. I think, frankly, the way the federal government is wreaking havoc on states there may be talk like this in other states coming up over the next three to four years.”

State Rep. Debra Young Maggart, R-Hendersonville, another active figure in the Legislature on Tenth Amendment issues, said she, too, is concerned about the pitfalls of a convention.

“My concern about a national constitutional convention is that my understanding is everything gets opened up, and I’m not comfortable with us opening up everything in the U.S. Constitution. I don’t think that’s wise,” she said.

“People are very concerned about this health care reform act being just shoved down our throats, when we had the Republicans in Congress trying desperately to get the Democrats to at least acknowledge some of the ideas and programs they wanted to do.”

Maggart said she, too, doesn’t see the need to go so far as a constitutional convention.

“I think the Tenth Amendment is enough to do it,” she said. “Why people are not paying attention to that in Congress I don’t know. I can tell you that the people here in Tennessee are paying attention to the Tenth Amendment. They know. They can read. They know what it means.”

The Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Business and Economy Environment and Natural Resources Liberty and Justice News

Right-to-Hunt-&-Fish Amendment Clears Last Hurdle Before Voters

A proposed amendment to the state’s constitution that protects citizens’ right to hunt and fish is headed to the voters.

After already being approved by the Senate, the House approved final passage of the proposed amendment, SJR30, on Thursday.

The language of the measure reads, “The citizens of this state shall have the personal right to hunt and fish, subject to reasonable regulations and restrictions prescribed by law. The recognition of this right does not abrogate any private or public property rights, nor does it limit the state’s power to regulate commercial activity. Traditional manners and means may be used to take non-threatened species.”

The House sponsor of the resolution, Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville, said the amendment is needed to prevent erosion of the rights before they are attacked.

“They didn’t think they had a problem in Great Britain and other European countries until it was politically popular to ban certain types of hunting, and then it was too late,” McCord said on the House floor. “This isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction to what occurred in some other countries. States such as Pennsylvania put these in their original constitutions when written.”

McCord said 12 other states have similar provisions in their state constitutions and at least eight other states are considering such a measure.

Rep. Johnnie Turner, D-Memphis, questioned the need for the measure. “Your reference has been to what has happened in other countries. What has happened in Tennessee — what has happened in America — that has led you to seek this amendment?” she asked.

McCord acknowledged there doesn’t appear to be a current or immediate threat against people hunting and fishing. But nothing presently in the Tennessee Constitution prohibits lawmakers or political interests hostile to the harvest of fish and wild game from attempting to outlaw or unreasonably restrict the activities in the future, he said.

“There is currently not a problem with this, but what happened in other countries, when it became politically popular, it was too late to address the issue, and we are trying to address it now while it’s not a problem before it becomes a problem,” he said.

Turner said she is not against people who hunt or fish, but she said the issue could be resolved through state laws and regulations rather than a constitutional amendment.

“I just think that the Constitution is sacred, and those laws that we pass should reflect upon the uniqueness, the importance, of this,” she said. “My husband was an avid fisherman…but all he had to do was follow the rules and regulations of wherever he was. I just cannot understand why we would need a constitutional amendment. I’m talking about the sacredness of the Constitution.”

McCord said protecting those rights by constitutional amendment is the strongest way to protect hunting and fishing rights. “We all in this room assume we have that right (to hunt and fish), but we’re not guaranteed that right unless it’s by Constitution,” he said.

A change to the state Constitution must be approved by a two-thirds majority in each legislative chamber in two consecutive General Assemblies, and it then must be approved by the voters, while a change in state law takes approval by a simple majority of each chamber plus the governor’s signature and is not subject to the approval of the voters.

McCord added that the measure would not prevent state government from protecting any species deemed threatened.

“This does not take the ability for the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency to set reasonable regulations – their first goal is the protection of species, and they maintain that responsibility and right,” he said.

Rep. Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga, said the push for the constitutional amendment was a preemptive strike against the Obama administration.

“I heard the whole scenario as to the rage that’s going across the country with this whole idea this present administration is moving to ban this right,” she said. “It’s alright if Tennessee wants to respond to every kind of allegation that’s out there, so eventually we’re not going to be able to even read the Constitution it’s going to be so long.”

McCord responded that the move to pass the proposed constitutional amendment began while George W. Bush was still president.

The final vote was 90-1.

Turner was the lone vote against the measure. Brown and Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga pushed the “present but not voting” button. Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, and Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville, were present but did not vote.

Reps. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, Gary Moore, D-Joelton, Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, and John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, were excused from attending the floor session.

The vote in the Senate, which occurred in late January, was unanimous.