State Lawmakers Are The True Takers in Nashville
Tennessee lawmakers pass guns-in-parking-lots update
Pro-voucher groups dropped quarter million dollars on lawmakers in Ed committee
The resolution sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jeff Yarbro of Nashville would authorize Haslam to pursue his plan to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans. The governor’s original proposal was defeated in a Senate committee in a special session in February.
The votes in favor of the measure Monday came from Yarbro and Republican Sens. Doug Overbey of Maryville and Richard Briggs of Knoxville. Yarbro and Briggs also voted in favor of the proposal when it failed in the special session, while Overbey was the measure’s sponsor. LINK
Tennessee lawmakers pass guns-in-parking-lots updateThe state House and Senate have passed a bill to allow workers to sue their employers if they are fired for storing guns parked in company lots.
The Senate passed the measure on a 28-5 vote on Monday evening, and the House later followed suit on a 78-14 vote.
The state in 2013 enacted a law to give handgun carry permit holders the right to store their firearms in vehicles on company lots regardless of their employers’ wishes. LINK
Pro-voucher groups dropped quarter million dollars on lawmakers in Ed committeeThe committee of House lawmakers poised to vote on a school voucher program today saw more than $260,000 from school voucher advocates flow into their election races last year.
Five lawmakers sitting on a newly formed education committee collectively received more than $52,000 in direct contributions and independent expenditures from two pro-voucher groups, according to a Post Politics review of state records.
But the bulk of the money, $152,000, went to keeping two people out of the legislature who would cause trouble for a voucher program. An additional $58,000 went to a favored candidate who lost by just more than 50 votes.
StudentsFirst and the Tennessee Federation for Children collectively spent approximately $894,000 in last year’s election, spreading money to lawmakers in both chambers but focusing largely in the House of Representatives where voucher proposals have tripped up in recent years.
Together, the groups spent $136,000 against incumbent Gloria Johnson, a Knoxville Democrat and teacher who pushed strongly against school vouchers during her first and only term. The two groups spent just shy of $39,000 in favor of her opponent, Eddie Smith, a Republican who went on to win the election by less than 200 votes.
Smith, an event and production manager, now sits on the Education Administration and Planning Committee that is scheduled to vote on a school voucher program today. LINK
GOP medical marijuana bill has oils, legal growingMarijuana legally grown, processed and given for treatment at the recommendation of a doctor in Tennessee could become a reality if lawmakers approve a new Republican-led initiative.
The chances of changing current law aren't fantastic: Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, put the odds of the General Assembly approving his limited medical marijuana plan this year at "50-50, plus or minus 5 percent." The anesthesiologist argues the science behind the need for medical cannabis oil is more concrete.
"The data is improving every day. I've read 50, 60 papers and abstracts, and it looks like 60 percent plus of those have some sort of beneficial effect," Dickerson said. LINK
We can improve Tennessee's poor voter turnout numbersCivic engagement and voter participation are essential to preserving and protecting our democracy.
However, if the 2014 midterm elections were any indication, our nation — and our state — are in trouble.
Last year saw the lowest midterm election voter turnout percentage since World War II, at 37 percent nationwide.
Tennessee was in the bottom five, at 29.1 percent, according to the "America Goes to the Polls 2014"report released this month by Nonprofit VOTE.
The Boston-based organization, founded in 2005, works with nonprofits across the United States to increase voter participation. This is the organization's fifth biannual report, which is based on data from organizations such as the Pew Research Center and the U.S. Census. LINK
State Lawmakers Are The True Takers in NashvilleFollowing the defeat of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee Medicaid expansion alternative by seven members of the state Senate’s General Welfare Committee, appointed by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and chaired by Sen. Rusty Crowe, an emerging awareness of the premeditated manipulation of the vote and the hypocrisy involved has been expressed by the Johnson City Press and other state newspapers. I doubt this causes much consternation on the parts of the perpetrators, as they’re used to initial expressions of dismay and even outrage over actions because experience proves it ebbs and soon settles back to normal.
This mustn’t be allowed this time. Our hospitals face increasingly serious financial difficulties, particularly rural ones. The 300,000 low-income workers with dashed hopes for insurance continue with no alternative but ERs at a greater cost to us all. With the governor, the state’s hospital groups and almost two-thirds of the state’s population on our side, we’re a sorry lot if we can’t send them back for a do-over.
The Press called for an accounting of legislators’ perks added to annual salaries, now that the majority seems content to defy the public good. It’s amusing to discover how easy it is to uncover what many legislators would rather we not. Many folks abound who know how the statehouse functions, some from the edges but privy to the obvious, some having been more intricately involved and some being present or past office holders with nothing to hide. It’s appropriate to raise questions because seven — only seven — senators, deliberately chosen by Ramsey, voted to kill the governor’s bill, which was a difficult two-year-long project, in a matter of few minutes without public scrutiny. Not delayed, just dead. LINK
TN GOP chairman Chris Devaney resigningTennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney is resigning. Devaney said in a statement he is stepping down effective April 11.
"We have had quite a ride. I have been honored and humbled to be a part of this remarkable history, but it is time for my family and me to embark on a new journey. Saturday, April 11, will be my final day as chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party," Devaney said in the statement.
In the statement Devaney said he has accepted a job as executive director of the Children's Nutrition Program of Haiti, "a faith-based nonprofit" headquartered in Chattanooga. Devaney and his family live in Chattanooga, according to the announcement. LINK
Crockett Policy Institute