There’s been a delay in the state Senate to disband the group which hears ethics complaints against Tennessee judges.
The proposal calls for replacing the current Court of Judiciary with a panel that has more non-lawyers on it. All twelve new members would be named by the Speakers of the state House and Senate.
Mt. Juliet Republican Mae Beavers, who’s guiding the measure through the upper chamber, says it’s not yet ready for a vote.
“There’s a lot of work to be done yet. We’re not happy with the amendments that we have. And it’s important that we get this right, after all the testimony that we’ve had in committees in the last year.”
Legislative committees heard stories of judges who got slaps on the wrist for what complainants said were major transgressions.
Part of what is slowing the bill down is that Republicans have not yet agreed on the make-up a new panel – specifically how many attorneys or judges will be on it.
The bill comes before the House Judiciary Committee next week and is tentatively scheduled for the Senate floor – again – in two weeks.
The bill is SB 1088 Beavers/ HB 1198 Coley..
In viewing the state data base, be aware that Amendment 3 (not yet added by the Senate) changes the effective date to October of this year. The original version would have gone into effect in October 2011.
Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey would make six appointments, half the new board. He’s watching the bill carefully.
“Senator Beavers’ bill has the majority of people being non-judges on that, and I think Senator [ Mike] Faulk has one with the majority of members that are judges on the new court of the judiciary – we’d probably rename it.”
Mike Faulk’s amendment, mentioned by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, wasn’t in the state data system as of Feb. 9, 2012.
Senator Mike Faulk is a Republican from Kingsport – and he’s an attorney.
Ramsey says the two senators are seeking a compromise between the two positions.