Sun. Jun 20th, 2021

A Tennessee lawmaker’s efforts to bar local authorities from challenging a state law’s constitutionality has stalled in the Senate after failing to gain enough votes it needed to pass the floor Monday night.

Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, delayed the Monday vote on the measure after it drew bipartisan concerns from his colleagues. The issue will be placed on Wednesday’s floor calendar.

A similar measure, which would allow a challenged state law to take effect until the court issues a final ruling otherwise, had passed the House 64-26 Monday night. Kelsey’s amendment, however, would take it one step further by banning local suits against the state seeking clarity on whether a state law is constitutional.

The initiative was filed this year following multiple constitutional challenges local authorities launched against the state. Most recently, Shelby and Davidson county officials are challenging Lee’s education savings account program, which was ruled unconstitutional last year by a Nashville judge and later in the Court of Appeals. The ongoing lawsuit awaits an outcome in the state’s highest court.