Chilly reception

On March 31, 2009, in News 2009, by Mark Norris
March 31, 2009

Meanwhile, commission chair Deidre Malone said Monday the commission’s package of legislation it would like to see approved by the Tennessee Legislature isn’t getting anywhere.

“Our legislative package is not moving and we all know why it’s not moving,” Malone said as she recapped weekend discussions she had with state legislators from Shelby County. “And they were clear why it’s not moving.”?

Republican legislators are upset because of the commission’s decision last month to appoint a Democrat, Matt Kuhn, to a commission seat considered a Republican seat. The District 4 seat, which takes in all six of Shelby County’s suburban municipalities, was vacated by Republican David Lillard the Legislature appointed him state treasurer.

Malone, a Democrat, urged all county commissioners to call every legislator in the Shelby County delegation and talk to them about the political impasse and then report their reactions to her.

Commissioner Mike Carpenter, a Republican, was the first to note the reaction from Nashville. He addressed a letter to the delegation earlier this month urging legislators to set aside their feelings about Kuhn’s appointment and focus on the wish list of legislative proposals.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville acknowledged the legislators are reacting.

“There’s no organized boycott,” Norris told The Memphis News in an interview for the weekly’s “Off Year Election Guide” that hits newsstands today. “I can’t guarantee how anybody’s going to vote. … But I’m glad they’ve taken note of the chilling effect.”

The political rumpus is one of several issues that have surfaced in what is an off election year for most Shelby County voters. The guide offers an overview of those issues as well as a look back at close elections and a review of government Web sites that let citizens view how elected bodies go about their business.

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