By John Rodgers,
January 24, 2008

Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle withdrew legislation today – spurred by the repeated absences of Sen. Ophelia Ford – that would have allowed for a legislator to pick his or her own temporary replacement.

Kyle (D-Memphis) withdrew the bill after Attorney General Bob Cooper opined that it was unconstitutional.

“I trust the attorney general’s opinion,” Kyle said. “So I withdrew the bill.”

Going forward, Kyle said his focus is on Ford’s (D-Memphis) health and he does not have any follow-up efforts to find a way for Ford to be temporarily replaced.

“There are no follow-up efforts I know to do,” Kyle said.

Republicans were not shocked that the Ford replacement bill was declared unconstitutional.

“What a surprise,” said Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville).

Ford has been absent with an undisclosed illness for weeks.

Senate speaker and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) said today that he plans to send a letter to Ford’s attorney early next week asking for an explanation for her absences.

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