Democrats Want Out of Bill Changing Senate Nominations

ERIK SCHELZIG | Associated Press

NASHVILLE (AP) – Democrats want to opt out of a bill that would give Tennessee lawmakers the power to select nominees to the U.S. Senate.

Under the bill scheduled for a vote in the state Senate on Monday, primary elections would be replaced with caucus votes in the General Assembly.

State Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron noted Monday is also the 100th anniversary of the state's ratification of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which eliminated state legislatures' power to directly appoint U.S. senators.

Sen. Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains has said his bill is an effort to return to a system more similar to the time before the 17th Amendment went into effect. Fellow Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey supports the bill, but House Republican leaders are more hesitant.

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