Senator Mark Norris
9A Legislative Plaza,
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0232
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T-G STAFF REPORT, TimesGazette.com
March 12, 2013
At a Monday press conference, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey unveiled a consensus plan for judicial redistricting that would leave the 17th Judicial District untouched.
The 17th District includes Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore counties.
The districts were last drawn nearly 30 years ago in 1984. Circuit judges, district attorneys and chancery court judges serve by judicial district.
Ramsey had solicited suggestions for new districts, saying changes in population warranted a new look at the districts. But various 17th District officials had said they were happy with the district’s current boundaries.
Joining Ramsey at the press conference, according to a news release, were judicial redistricting bill sponsors Senator Mark
redistricting bill sponsors Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Representative Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) along with Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade, Tennessee Trial Judges Association President Chancellor Daryl Fansler, Tennessee Judicial Conference President Robert Holloway and Tennessee Bar Association President Jackie Dixon.
“When the issue of judicial redistricting was first presented to me it was clear action needed to be taken,” said Ramsey in a news release. “Tennessee is a vibrant and growing state. After thirty years, the changes experienced in our state needs to be reflected in the districts of Tennessee’s judges, district attorneys and public defenders.”
“While the 1984 map made great strides by consolidating public defenders, district attorneys and judges into unified districts, it clear that the particular politics of the time influenced the map resulting in untenable inefficiencies,” Ramsey explained. “This map corrects those mistakes and brings our judicial districts into the 21st century.”
“We came into this process with open minds and a desire to work with interested parties,” Ramsey continued. “I am pleased that, in the end, all concerned could come together and agree on a consensus plan. I am extremely satisfied with the result.”
The changes on the proposed map affect only 22 counties in 8 districts. To maximize efficiency, the number of judicial districts has been reduced from 31 to 29. Factors such as regional integrity, geographic boundaries and ease of inter-county travel were also heavily considered.
“I would like to commend all involved for working hard to reach common ground,” said Norris. “Change is never easy but we have come together to create a map that ensures Tennesseans get the best possible service from their public defenders, district attorneys and judges.”
“This is a common sense plan for judicial redistricting that corrects the mistakes of the past and updates districts to reflect population changes in the state,” said Lundberg. “I’m proud to be a part of this process.”
An open call for judicial redistricting proposals went out in February. Fourteen maps were submitted as well as informal input from members of the public and stakeholder groups. The current plan will be presented as Senate Bill 780/House Bill 636 and can be found online at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/judredist/judredist.html