Legislative committees split on Bebb files
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Apr 10, 2013 | 1115 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to direct the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to allow its members to view the investigative files pertaining to 10th Judicial District Attorney Steven Bebb.

Seven of the nine-member panel, including Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, voted in favor of the resolution.

Gardenhire said this morning he voted in favor of the resolution because it is the proper role of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Lowe Finney, D-Jackson, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, abstained from voting.

Bell said this morning that he abstained “for my own personal reasons and I have no further comment.”

A similar resolution in the House Delayed Bills Committee was stymied by House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, who voted against assigning a handful of bills to committees.

The Delayed Bills Committee is comprised of House Speaker Beth Harwell, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, and Fitzhugh. Votes must be unanimous. The bills included legislation proposed by representatives from both parties, including the resolution requesting the TBI records.

The Speaker can still suspend the rules of the House of Representatives with a two-thirds majority vote, probably on Thursday. Republicans hold 70 of the 99 House seats.

Cleveland attorney Richard Fisher, who is a former state legislator and former DA representing the 10th Judicial District, and who is now a special prosecutor for Bebb, visited the Capitol Building on Tuesday.

Bebb said this morning that Fisher did not go to Nashville on his behalf, but made no other comment.

Fisher said he went to visit his remaining few old friends and to see what was happening to the resolutions concerning Bebb. He watched a portion of the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, but left before the vote. He met Fitzhugh in the hallway and they nodded at each other, but never spoke to him. He said he visited Harwell. She brought up the question of Bebb, but he said there was no discussion about him.

“Bebb did not send me there,” Fisher said this morning. “I have a natural connection to the Legislature. Speaker Harwell had a reunion for former representatives a couple of weeks ago and I went to that. I try to stay in touch. I didn’t go there to try to influence votes.”