NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) - A bill that would change the way Tennessee’s attorney general is chosen has cleared another hurdle.

Senate Joint Resolution 63 would amend the Tennessee Constitution to allow for an election of the state’s top lawyer. Currently, the attorney general is appointed by the state Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, the state Senate passed the resolution on a 23-9-1 vote.


The measure now heads to the House. If it passes, it will have to be considered by the 110th General Assembly. If it gets the necessary two-thirds vote in each chamber, it can be put on a state ballot.


Tennessee is the only state in the nation where the attorney general is selected by -- and reports to -- its highest court.


In more than 40 other states, attorneys general are elected by the people. In only five states, the attorney general is appointed by the governor. In Maine, state lawmakers elect the attorney general.


Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, lead sponsor of the bill, has argued for years that the current system needs to change.


Beavers, who introduced similar legislation in 2012, contends that an attorney general elected by the people would be more answerable.


Opponents have argued the current system eliminates any political pressure.


From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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