Nashville, Tenn. (December 14, 2016) – Tennessee Democrats are renewing calls for ethics and oversight reforms after a recent report from the Tennessean revealing that Tennessee legislative staff destroyed files, photos, and other documents relevant to the removal of disgraced legislator
Jeremy Durham.

“This move is in keeping with the Republican majority’s history of secrecy and cover ups. After taking control of the Tennessee legislature, Republicans shut down all of the 11 ethics and oversight committees,” State Democratic Party chair Mary Mancini said.

“The Republicans have prioritized secrecy and cover up over oversight and ethics ,” continued Mancini, “ This most recent report by the Tennessean is just one more glaring example of the veil of secrecy they have lowered over the Tennessee General Assembly.”

Democrats have been fighting for ethics reform, calling for the recreation of all 11 ethics and oversight committees as well as requiring fiscal review of state contracts. Democratic House Caucus leader Mike Stewart and Senate Caucus chairman Jeff Yarbro proposed Senate Bill 1692 and House Bill 2368, respectively. This legislation would bring back all 11 ethics and oversight committees. Another push for reform came from Senate Democratic Leader Lee Harris and Rep. John Ray Clemmons who sponsored Senate Bill 1926 and House Bill 1797, legislation that requires fiscal review by committee and approval of all competitively bid state service contracts exceeding one million dollars.

For more than a year Democrats have been calling for calling for major changes to the ethics and oversight rules and now they are once again making their case for reform.

“Democratic Party leaders have been on the front lines calling for real and substantive reform,” Mancini said, “Our priority is to make our state government function for the people,” Mancini concluded.

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