Committee discusses transfer of Tenn. executive powers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A state panel says Tennessee's lack of a popularly elected lieutenant governor makes it more difficult to create a process for temporarily handing off the governor's executive powers.

Governor Bredesen created the panel because the Tennessee Constitution only allows a transfer upon the death, resignation or removal from office of a governor. It does not allow for a transfer if there is a serious illness or disability.

Last August, Bredesen was hospitalized for several days with an illness that may have been caused by a tick bite. He said he was not incapacitated or unable to do his job.

In the event of the Tennessee governor's death, resignation or removal from office, the speaker of the Senate is next in line. The speaker holds the title of lieutenant governor, but is elected by members of the Senate.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)