Bredesen to study transfer of power upon return


Associated Press Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Phil Bredesen is likely to assemble a task force to discuss the creation of a procedure for transferring control of Tennessee government when he returns to office following a flu-like illness, an administration official said Wednesday.

Bredesen has been sidelined for more than a week - including four nights in the hospital - with what doctors originally said could be the effects of a tick bite.

Bredesen on Wednesday traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for more medical tests.

The 62-year-old Democrat's illness has drawn attention to Tennessee's lack of a mechanism for transferring power when a governor is incapacitated.

Deputy Gov. Dave Cooley said Bredesen's illness has "never been close" to requiring him to hand over control, but that the governor recognizes the need to start the evaluating the creation of a transfer of power provision - a process that will likely require an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution.

The task force would involve a "a bipartisan group of the General Assembly and perhaps the attorney general to try to address any sort of question of a future governor being incapacitated," Cooley told The Associated Press.

A constitutional amendment would have to be passed by two successive General Assemblies. The earliest it could go before voters would be in 2010.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)