Senate defeats proposal to elect attorney general

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Senate has defeated an effort to change the Tennessee constitution to require the popular election of the attorney general.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet received 15 votes in favor and 14 votes against. Proposals need 17 votes – a majority of the 33-member chamber – to pass.

Opponents of Beavers’ proposal argued that it conflicts with a resolution passed by the chamber last year that would give the Legislature the power to appoint the attorney general.

That measure would have to pass the House this year, and both chambers by a two-thirds majority in the next two-year session in order to be placed before voters in 2018.

Voting against Beavers’ proposal were nine Republicans, including Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, and five Democrats.