The Tri-Star State: Lawmakers Push Back On House Speaker Glen Casada And Call For Special Session | Nashville Public Radio

The Tri-Star State: Lawmakers Push Back On House Speaker Glen Casada And Call For Special Session

There’s an official date for Rep. Glen Casada to leave his post as speaker but, for some lawmakers Aug. 2 is not soon enough.

They want him to resign before then — some legislators fear Casada has ulterior motives for hanging on.

Casada's decision last week to resign on his 60th birthday raised a lot of questions. There was some speculation on the Hill and on social media that it was about his retirement package.

Some lawmakers were hinting that Casada would get better benefits for holding on to the seat for a bit longer.

But, according to the state's Department of Treasury and the Office of Legislative Administration, that won't happen. 

Lawmakers qualify for a full pension when they turn 55 and have served four years, and Casada's pension will not be affected in a positive or negative way.

Why Hang On?

In his resignation letter to members, Casada didn’t provide any explanation as to why.

Multiple Republicans on the GOP leadership team who talked to Casada last week told WPLN that Casada’s explanation was that this would give those running to replace him a chance to line up support from other lawmakers.

But this decision has created a lot of pushback.

As expected, the Democrats are asking for him to resign immediately, and some Republicans like Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, and Speaker Pro Tem Bill Dunn say the want the same.

Feud Between Republican Lawmaker And Casada Continues

Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, accused Casada of rigging an ethics investigation as part of this scandal.

WPLN got ahold of an email Carter sent to members of the House on May 31. In it, he said he stands firmly by his comments and accusations about the ethics investigations. 

And he also said he’s worried about Casada staying in power, even for a couple of months.

In a statement to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Carter said Casada is using his position and his campaign fund to punish those who challenge him.

He said Casada is intent on using his political campaign fund to "pick his successor so that he will, in effect, be the shadow speaker."

Casada is stepping down from the speakership, but he has not indicated he'll resign from the House. So, Carter is petitioning his colleagues to kick Casada out.

What's Next?

Some lawmakers are still hoping to hold a special session, including House Majority Leader William Lamberth and Casada himself. 

But it’s unclear at this point if that'll happen. 

Gov. Bill Lee has the ability to call a special session, but he has said he is not planning on doing so at this point. And there are several members who are against it, mostly because of the cost — about $41,000 a day, assuming all 132 members of the House and Senate are present. 

But a special session is not required. Speaker Pro Tem Bill Dunn is the next in line to replace Casada. But the issue is that there are other Republicans running to replace Casada and, in order to hold an election, a special session is needed.