Bill to let legislators nominate Senators withdrawn; Haslam had 'major problem'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A bill that would give Tennessee lawmakers the power to decide the nominees for the state's U.S. Senate seats has been withdrawn until next year.

It was withdrawn after Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said he had a "major problem" with the proposal. The governor said he objects to eliminating primary elections to decide Republican and Democratic nominees for the U.S. Senate. He told reporters on Monday in Nashville that he would "very strongly" consider a veto of the measure.

Republican Senate sponsor Frank Niceley has put the bill on hold until the final Senate calendar, and Republican Rep. Harry Brooks of Knoxville deferred the companion bill until next year following the governor's comments.

Niceley says the bill is an effort to return to the system closer to the direct appointments that were in place before the adoption of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1913.

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