published Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

TN House passes bill eliminating Chattanooga's representation on Erlanger board

Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga
Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga
Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse.

NASHVILLE -- No fuss, no muss, no debate: in one fell swoop, the state House this morning passed a measure overhauling Erlanger Health System's board along with 68 other local bills and resolutions.

All 69 local government bills and assorted resolutions honoring this or that person or group were placed on a single "calendar" of measures and passed en masse on a single vote by representatives.

It's a common practice in the Legislature on local bills affecting a member's district or on non-controversial bills and resolutions.

The Erlanger bill removes Chattanooga city government and Hamilton County Chancery judges' appointments to the public hospital's governing board of trustees.

At the same time, it increases appointments by Hamilton County government and the local legislative delegation, giving them control over appointments.

Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, could bring up the Senate companion bill for a vote either today or later in the week as lawmakers scramble to conclude their annual session this week.

Lawmakers said the city's representation on the Erlanger board should be eliminated since it stopped providing funding to the public hospital three years ago.

But a Chattanooga official told the Times Free Press on Tuesday that the city is considering Erlanger's request for funding and stripping city government of its appointment complicates matters.

If and when the Senate takes final action, the bill would have to be approved by two thirds of the Hamilton County Commission to go into effect.

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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