published Friday, April 19th, 2013

Tennessee Legislature comes to a close

NASHVILLE — Tennessee lawmakers this afternoon gaveled to a close what one lawmaker called the shortest General Assembly since 1990.

They left behind on their empty tests a charter school control bill, but managed to pass and send to Gov. Bill Haslam a bill by two Hamilton County lawmakers dealing with annexation abuse.

Senators approved the final annexation compromise, which was hashed out in a House and Senate conference committee, on a 26-0 vote.

But the House sponsor, Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, fought for nearly 35 minutes before the conference committee report was approved, 59-32.

The measure originally would have required people living in territory a city is annexing first agree to it in a referendum.

It is now what Carter acknowledges is a “bare bone” 13-month moratorium on annexation of homes and farm land. While annexations are on hold, the state will study annexation issues and problems as well as how well the state’s landmark 1998 urban planning law has worked. Commercial, retail and industrial property would be exempted and could be annexed.

Before the final bell rang, the House rejected Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s state judicial redistricting plan, which would have pitted some judges, prosecutors and public defenders against each other in 2o14 elections.

House members did vote to join the Senate in examining a TBI investigation into the operations of 10th Judicial District Attorney Steve Bebb’s office.

See Saturday’s Times Free Press for complete coverage.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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