New Judicial District Plan Shifts Around Local Counties
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey unveiled a new plan to redraw the state's judicial districts on Monday. Ramsey said the plan was part of the state's commitment to streamline state government.
Overall, the plan reduces the number of districts from 31 to 29. Some of the more dramatic changes will be in Middle Tennessee, because of population increases in Williamson and Rutherford Counties.
Under the old plan, Williamson County is part of a four-county judicial district including Hickman, Perry, and Lewis Counties. Rutherford County is in a judicial district with Cannon County. The proposed change would make Williamson and Rutherford Counties their own judicial districts.
Cannon County would be redistricted to join Coffee, Warren, and Van Buren Counties. Hickman County would go to a district in the north. Perry and Lewis Counties would join Maury, Wayne, Lawrence, and Giles Counties to the south.
This was the first attempt to redraw the districts since 1984.
Ramsey said a lot of plans were discussed, but this one had the support of the group representing the state's trial lawyers. He also said it saves the state at least $600,000. "I think taxpayers can be happy that we've reduce the size of government," said Ramsey.
Not everyone was happy about the proposal. Wilson County District Attorney General Tommy Thompson said he doesn't like losing two districts. "Well, I don't think justice is served by reducing the number of district attorneys and public defenders," said Thompson. "They're all covered up with their present case load."
The plan would have to be approved in the Senate and the House, and then signed by Governor Haslam before it could go into effect.