Committee Kills Bill, Hurts Ramsey Fund-raising

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam got a boost and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey suffered a setback when a bill that would allow Ramsey to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign during next year's legislative session was defeated in a House committee.

The irony for Ramsey is that the bill was killed in Calendar and Rules, a committee with a Republican majority. Some of the Republicans "took a walk" at the time of the vote and Committee Chair Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, voted against it. The vote was 10-10, and without a majority, it died.

The current ethics law forbids a legislator from having a fund-raiser during session. Haslam, who is also running for governor, can fund-raise at will and also has personal resources.

Republican House Speaker Kent Williams had offered to come to the committee and vote for the Ramsey proposal if his vote was needed. But he was told it wasn't necessary. Either Ramsey's allies couldn't count the votes, or they were too stiff-necked to ask Williams for help. Or both.