- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Records show that Democratic Sen. Ophelia Ford of Memphis blamed sickness for missing more days of the 2014 legislative session than any other lawmaker

The Commercial Appeal (https://bit.ly/1h8RcDV ) reports Ford was listed as absent for 25 of the session’s 53 days.

The second-largest absence was from Republican Rep. Kevin Brooks of Cleveland, who missed nine days.

Ford submitted letters to the Senate speaker for most of her absences, saying she was too physically ill to attend. Two days before the session ended on April 17, Ford wrote that she had broken her hip and wouldn’t be able to return because she would “remain hospitalized for the rest of the session.”

Ford did not return messages from the newspaper or from The Associated Press seeking comment about the absences.

Lawmakers passed significant legislation this year including a measure that allows high school graduates to attend community college for free.

Ford wasn’t there April 14 to vote on the free community college bill. She also didn’t vote on the $32.4 billion state budget that included debate over Memphis rape-kit testing. And she didn’t vote on a bill to require repeat domestic violence offenders to serve jail time on consecutive days rather than on weekends.

Her absences didn’t appear to affect the outcome of any bills.

On the days she was absent, she did not receive her $188 per diem expense allowance, though she still received a base annual salary of about $20,000 and a $1,000 monthly allowance for a home office.

Ford is running for another four-year term, but will face three opponents in an Aug. 7 Democratic primary. Memphis City Councilman Lee Harris, Ricky Dixon and Herman L. Sawyer are all running for the seat.

The winner of that contest will face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election.


Information from: The Commercial Appeal, https://www.commercialappeal.com

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