Thursday, April 14, 2011

Judge Hears Debate On EC Legal Funding

A hearing was held in Putnam County Chancery Court on Thursday in a lawsuit over whether the state of Tennessee or county government should be responsible for the legal bills of the county's election commission.  A special judge spent about an hour and a half hearing from County Attorney Jeff Jones, Janet Kleinfelter with the Attorney General's office, and John Harris, the attorney representing the Election Commission.  Kleinfelter and Harris argued that state law clearly mandates that the county must pay for the operation of the local election commission -- in much the same way that the county is required to provide funding for the school system. Jones, on the other hand, says the issue is not that clear, especially given that there are at least three bills pending in the Tennessee General Assembly which speak to the issue, in an attempt to clarify the law.  The judge is expected to issue a ruling on the Putnam County case within the next couple of weeks.