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Tenn. lawmakers want to decide US Senate nominees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Republican and Democratic caucuses of the General Assembly would decide Tennessee's nominees to the U.S. Senate under a bill headed for a vote in the state Senate.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday voted 7-1 to advance the measure without debate. The bill sponsored by Sen. Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains would replace the primary system used for deciding nominees.

Niceley said the bill would return the state closer to the system used
before 1913, when state lawmakers directly appointed U.S. senators.

The measure would take effect after next year's election, meaning Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander's re-election bid wouldn't be affected next year.

The companion bill has yet to be heard in a House subcommittee.