Feb 16, 2022 - Politics

Residency requirement bill advances

The Tennessee Senate chamber.
The Tennessee Senate chamber. Photo: George Walker IV/The Tennessean/USA Today Network

Legislative efforts to set a three-year residency requirement for candidates in congressional primaries cleared an important early hurdle yesterday despite lingering constitutional questions.

  • A state Senate committee approved the bill, moving it one step closer to a floor vote in that chamber.

Why it matters: Debate surrounding the bill previews themes likely to emerge as the bill advances in the General Assembly.

  • Legislative attorney Josh Houston told lawmakers in the Senate State and Local Government Committee that other states' efforts to add requirements for congressional offices have been deemed unconstitutional.
  • But some lawmakers questioned if applying regulations only to partisan primaries rather than the general election might shift the legal analysis.

By the numbers: Five lawmakers on the committee voted to move the legislation forward, with one against and one person present not voting.

  • The members voting in favor included three Republicans and two Democrats. One Republican voted against the measure.

Between the lines: The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains), would directly affect current candidates in the Republican primary running to represent the newly redrawn 5th congressional district.

  • Candidates Morgan Ortagus and Robby Starbuck would not meet the proposed residency requirement.
  • Ortagus said she would "leave state matters to the state legislature," while Starbuck framed the bill as an unfair effort to drive him from the race.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note those voting in favor of the bill included three Republicans and two Democrats, not four Republicans and one Democrat.

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Nashville.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Nashville stories

No stories could be found

Nashvillepostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Nashville.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more