NASHVILLE — Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) yesterday filed legislation related to Constitutional Amendments 2 and 3, which were sponsored by Kelsey and were ratified by Tennessee voters on Tuesday. Kelsey is the first person to sponsor two successful amendments to the 1870 Tennessee Constitution.
SB 1 will implement Amendment 2, which follows the Founding Fathers’ method of selecting judges. Appellate judges will be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature. Voters of Tennessee retain the ability to remove judges at the end of their 8-year terms. This new process differs from the previous process in Tennessee, in which judges were selected by an unelected, unaccountable panel of mostly lawyers. The constitutionality of that method had been in dispute since its enactment in 1971.
“Thankfully, a majority of Tennesseans voted to end a 40-year constitutional crisis by borrowing from the wisdom of America’s Founding Fathers,” said Kelsey. “I hope this legislation will stay on the books for 100 years or more.”
Amendment 3 banned a state income tax and any local payroll tax. It passed with 66% support. Amendment 3 left intact the Hall income tax, which is a state tax on interest and dividends. SB 2 will phase out the Hall income Tax over 3 years by reducing the 6% tax by 2% each year.
Kelsey said, “I am glad that an overwhelming majority of Tennesseans voted to ban a state income tax and local payroll tax with Amendment 3.” Kelsey continued, “Now it’s time to eliminate the Hall tax.”
Drafts of the bills are available at
Senator Kelsey represents Cordova, East Memphis, and Germantown. He served as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 108th General Assembly.