Right of General Assembly to Intervene in Certain Lawsuits (SB 2655/ HB 1946)

Allows the Speaker of the House and Speaker of the Senate, jointly, or a majority of the members of both houses to intervene in certain existing legal proceedings where the constitutionality of a state statute is challenged or in which “new” or novel interpretations to expand constitutional or statutory rights are being advocated.

Bill Analysis

Private litigants are increasingly calling on the courts to effectively set public policy through their advocacy for new constitutional rights and through “interpretations” of statutes based challenges to the statutes as written and enacted. This judicial activism is resulting in an erosion of the “legislative authority” delegated to the General Assembly under Article II, Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution.

Joint Resolutions
The following two pieces of legislation are joint resolutions calling for the amendment of the Tennessee Constitution. In order to be successful joint resolutions must go through three steps:

  1. The resolution must pass both the House and the Senate by a majority of the members of each house.
  2.  If successful in the first step, the resolution must then pass both the House and the Senate by a two-thirds majority of the members of each house during the next General Assembly.
  3. Any resolution that passes that threshold will then be placed on the ballot of the next November general election which includes the race for governor.
    Both resolutions are in the first step of the process and if successful at the first two steps will appear on the November 2022 general election ballot.

Bill Sponsors

Watson in the Senate
Casada in the House

Bill Status

No action taken in the House or Senate.

Full Text: Senate Bill / House Bill