Bill to let sitting lawmakers raise funds fails
Posted: Friday, June 19, 2009 8:01 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal to allow sitting lawmakers to raise money for their gubernatorial campaigns during the legislative session was killed in a House committee Thursday.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Joe McCord of Maryville died on a 10-10 vote in the House Calendar Committee, the last stop before a full floor vote.
The bill would have limited the in-session fundraising to lawmakers running for positions outside the Legislature.
But House Minority Leader Gary Odom, D-Nashville, argued that nothing in the bill would have stopped lawmakers from filing papers to run in outside races and then spending the money on their own legislative campaigns.
“To think about making that dramatic change in our campaign finance laws in the last hours of the legislative session is just absurd,” Odom said.
The proposal would have benefited two lawmakers running for governor, Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville and Democratic Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis is also considering a bid.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Old Hickory said he voted in favor of the bill because two independently wealthy candidates — Republican Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Democratic Nashville businessman Ward Cammack — are in the gubernatorial race.
“These guys are millionaires, and we’re probably down here in session 11 months out of the two-year cycle,” said Turner. “It’s just unfair.”
Read SB0126 at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov
Published in The Messenger 6.19.09