Tennessee Senate OKs bill requiring disclosure of legislative trips funding

Tennessee Senate OKs bill requiring disclosure of legislative trips funding

May 10th, 2017 by Andy Sher in Breaking News

Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick laughs Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Photo by Angela Lewis Foster /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — A measure requiring disclosure of legislative travel paid for by private groups and individuals interested in public policy passed the Senate. 

Senators approved the conference committee report on a 30-0 vote. The legislation requires the disclosure but not the amounts spent.

Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, brought the legislation in the wake of news accounts about persons or special interests paying for legislative trips, including one funded by millionaire anti-Islamist activist Andrew Miller who paid for some lawmakers to go to Europe to see developments there.

McCormick wanted the bill to apply also to legislative umbrella groups, primarily the American Legislative Exchange Council which provides "scholarships" to lawmakers to attend its meeting. The group brings together conservative lawmakers with businesses and critics say ALEC has too much influence in any number of state legislatures nationwide.

But McCormick said he ultimately gave in to senators' resistance to the legislature-related organizations' inclusion because he felt the need to get something through the General Assembly this year.

It's one of the last remaining issues as the 110th General Assembly's first session draws to a close later this afternoon.