Lawmakers agree to vague recommendations for third-party ballot access

Legislature has debated issue for years with little movement
Jan 14, 2014 6:00 AM

Legislation could alter consumer protections

Senate, House bills raise questions
Mar 2, 2011 3:01 PM

Repeal already

Jim Kyle wants to dial back the Memphis schools bill:
As early voting began this week on the referendum to decide the fate of Memphis schools, State Senator Jim Kyle (D-Memphis) filed legislation to repeal the law passed last week that takes the decision out of voters’ hands.“This bill will raise taxes on the people of Memphis while taking away their voice,” Kyle said. “This is taxation without representation.” Senate Bill 855 would repeal the law hurriedly passed by Republicans during committee meetings held outside the regular schedule earlier this month. The law adds additional confusion to the March 8 referendum by delaying any possible merger for three years and allowing special school districts that would make such a merger impossible. The law is the latest in a series of efforts by Republicans to enforce their judgment at the expense of citizens. “Washington does not have all the answers for Tennessee, just like Nashville doesn’t have all the answers for Memphis. State government is supposed to be about making life better for Tennesseans, not worse,” Kyle said. “Telling someone that their vote won’t affect the final outcome is always worse.”
Feb 17, 2011 11:40 AM

Immigration quota

Top Republican lawmakers say they'll limit the number of immigration bills they'll take on this session:
"I want us to concentrate on education. I want us to concentrate on pro-business issues," Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said. "I want to do some changes to the immigration law, but I don't want that to look like that's the focus of what we're working on." The approach may also tamp down disagreements between social conservatives and Republicans who want to focus on economic issues. "The tremendous conflict within the Republican caucus is between those who are up here for social reasons and those who are up here for jobs," said Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, D-Memphis. "I think the social conservatives are going to win out … because regardless of how conservative you are, you want to be known as very conservative if you're running in the Republican primary."
Feb 15, 2011 7:50 AM

'Large and in charge'

Action Andy on the legislature's new reality:
"They are large and they are in charge and they 'know more' than the rest of us," Kyle said in remarks to the Tennessee Press Association and The Associated Press. "And you're going to see that over and over again." Kyle predicted GOP lawmakers, who now hold a 20-13 majority in the Senate and 64-34-1 control in the House, will focus this year on what he called "social engineering" measures. Those range from how elections are held for Supreme Court justices to cracking down on illegal immigrants, said Kyle, who contends that more-moderate Republicans will be intimidated into going along. Social conservatives "are going to win out ultimately because folks, regardless of how conservative you are, want to be known as very conservative if you're running in the Republican primary," Kyle said. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, dismissed Kyle's remarks, calling it "amazing when you've lost your power that all of a sudden the other person's abusing power." Ramsey said an "overwhelming majority" of Tennesseans side with Republicans on issues of school choice, tenure reform and limited government. That's why they won in 2010, he said. "We think alike," Ramsey said. "It's not like we're marching in lockstep."
Feb 14, 2011 7:10 AM


The Senate approved a bill forcing a delay on the Memphis school merger:
While Norris said the bill is needed for a planned and orderly transition, Kyle argued that it is a state intrusion into a local issue with major ramifications on taxes and the economic development of the city and county. And Marrero charged that it's a "thinly veiled attempt to set up special school districts" and that the appointed commission will be unbalanced in favor of the suburbs.
Feb 8, 2011 8:00 AM

Return to the West

JB notes the geographic tilt of the Democratic GA leadership:
This is the region which provided the Democrats their leaders (John Wilder of Somerville as Senate Speaker; Jimmy Naifeh of Covington as House Speaker) during their most recent decades of domination, now gone. On Wednesday, a reduced party caucus, meeting in Nashville, elected Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley, 50-odd miles north of Memphis, to lead the Democrats in the state House (succeeding Gary Odom of Nashville). They also named two Memphis representatives — Joe Towns and Lois DeBerry, as assistant party leader and floor leader, respectively. Yet a third Memphian, Rep. John DeBerry, had been a contestant for the position of minority leader. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, named three West Tennesseans as their principal officers. Jim Kyle of Memphis returns as Democratic Senate leader, Lowe Finney of Jackson was elected caucus chairman, and Beverly Marrero of Memphis was named secretary/treasurer. The Democrats’ vice chair is Andy Berke of Chattanooga.
Dec 16, 2010 11:16 AM

No change at the top

Lowe Finney and Jim Kyle stay on in their spots in the lead of Senate Dems.
Dec 16, 2010 7:00 AM

McMillan drops out, McWherter last major Dem standing for Gov

Former state house majority leader running for mayor of Clarksville
Mar 31, 2010 4:12 PM

Kyle Withdraws From The Governor's Race

So state Sen. Jim Kyle has indeed dropped out of the race for governor. I must say, I don't really see why. He has as good a chance at the nomination now as he did when he got in -- maybe more. Nothing has really changed. Everything he cited in his press release he knew long ago. And while it is true that it's not looking like the Democratic nomination will be worth much, that, also, has always been the case. It's not like McWherter could promise him a cabinet position or something like that in exchange for his withdrawal because, given the givens, it is unlikely that McWherter will be elected governor. Haslam, maybe, could make a deal like that with an opponent because it would seem like a real job offer, something that could actually happen. McWherter, not so much. So now what for a while threatened to be an exciting nomination fight is now back to what it started as: a boring contest for a sacrificial lamb. The only side benefit to this is that Kim McMillan may now finally get the attention she deserves as a serious candidate. McMillan was the first one in the race, announcing before the year 2008 had even finished, but her candidacy has never caught fire. Now she represents the only hope to stop the coronation of a boring, conservative legacy case. Will progressives rally around her or will they relent to the inevitable conclusion of a McWherter victory? The Democratic Party is clearly at a crossroads. There have been many battles and skirmishes by different factions hoping to define what it means to be a Tennessee Democrat. Whether the nomination is ultimately useless because of the inevitable election of a Republican is immaterial. The battle for the soul of the Tennessee Democratic Party demands a true fight. If Kim McMillan's campaign now continues to go down in flames in a one-on-one fight with McWherter, it says something about the party. The question Democrats have to ask is if it's something they want to be saying. SEE ALSO: Ken Whitehouse Sean Braisted Speak to Power Tom Humphrey Commercial Appeal R. Neal poll
Feb 26, 2010 1:17 PM