Tuesday, March 31, 2015

CPI Buzz for 3-31-15

Koch Brothers group relaunches ads to defeat Insure Tennessee

Will governor veto guns in parks? Harwell recommends against it

Voucher bill clears Senate 24-8

Legislation that would give parents the option to move a child from a failing public school to a private school has passed the Senate.
The proposal sponsored by Republican Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga was approved 24-8 Monday. The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the House Government Operations Committee.
The legislation (SB999) is similar to a measure Republican Gov. Bill Haslam proposed last year that failed.
Under Gardenhire’s proposal, eligibility would be opened to low-income students in districts that have a school in the bottom 5 percent. LINK

Will governor veto guns in parks? Harwell recommends against it

With the House voting overwhelmingly to allow guns in all parks and the Senate expecting to pass the plan later this week, Gov. Bill Haslam will have to decide soon whether he’ll pull the trigger on a veto.
The decision could come just as members of the National Rifle Association converge in Nashville for its annual conference.
"Of course, we wanted to show that we were supportive of them and their agenda, so yeah, we pushed the bill today," said House Speaker Beth Harwell who abstained from voting on the bill and added the governor would be wise not to veto it. "Well, I think you saw the count. It would be overridden," she said.
The House voted 65-21 to strip local governments’ power to restrict guns in its parks Monday evening after defeating 11 amendments proposed by Democrats to add exemptions to the bill.
While the measure passes with nearly a supermajority, nine Republicans skipped the vote, including two members from Knoxville, two from Maryville and others hailing from Nashville, Memphis, and scattered throughout Tennessee.
The measure is up for a vote in the Senate Wednesday morning. LINK

Governor Haslam To Welcome NRA To Tennessee, Then Step Aside

It's the job of the governor to greet the National Rifle Association when 75,000 conventioneers gather for the group's annual meeting. And Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam may have to dig deep to find a positive gun-related anecdote.
Last year, Indiana’s Mike Pence bragged that his wife owned a gun and a motorcyclewhen he met her. “Love at first sight,” he said.
Two years ago in Texas, Rick Perry showed a highlight reel of him shooting human-shaped targets with a military-style rifle. Haslam probably won't be seen holding a sidearm or leading a Second Amendment cheer.
“We’ll be here to welcome them and let them know we appreciate them coming to Nashville,” Haslam said.
The governor has a difficult past with the NRA, which downgraded him last year to a "C." It was one of the lowest ratings for a Tennessee Republican up for election in 2014. LINK

At What Point Did My Marriage Become Cheapened in the Eyes of the State of Tennessee?

On Friday, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed the state's arguments with the U.S. Supreme Court. The entire 49-page brief can be found here (PDF).
In the filing, Slatery parrots the arguments made by the 6th Circuit Appellate court, which ruled for the state of Tennessee (and other states) and brought us to the high court. Essentially, a marriage between a man and a woman is a necessarily protected institution because of their ability to propagate the species.

The fundamental importance of marriage is necessarily linked to the procreative capacity of that man-woman union, and this Court has said that the right to marry is fundamental precisely because marriage and procreation are fundamental to the existence of society.

Slatery mentions procreation 17 times within the brief, making the function of reproduction seemingly so integral to the idea of marriage that it requires state sanction.
Let me share this dilemma, then. My wife and I cannot have children. It is a biological fact that cannot be undone by whatever miracles modern medicine may invent. Is my marriage, sanctioned by the state of Tennessee nearly two decades ago, therefore less important in the eyes of Herbert Slatery, Bill Haslam and those who will now grasp at almost any straw to prevent same-sex marriages in Tennessee? Are they so hellbent on stopping the loving union between two men or two women that they are willing to devalue my marriage? LINK

Americans for Prosperity joins lobbying to repeal ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ law

Booze, bikes and rock ‘n’ roll.
That’s the plan for economic development in this otherwise sleepy town of Trimble, tucked away among the corn and soybean fields of northwestern Tennessee.
The only thing standing in the way, say distillers Michael Ballard and Jesse James Dupree, is the state’s stuffy law restricting how spirits must be made so they can be marketed as “Tennessee Whiskey.” They’ve found an unexpected ally in the conservative Koch brothers, whose political muscle they hope can help persuade lawmakers to vote for repeal.
“We’re trying to get this town back on the map,” said Ballard, the grandson of a Trimble sharecropper who has built his Full Throttle distillery on the former site of the town’s shuttered cotton gin. “This law is just hindering us.”
Ballard, the proprietor of the Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis, South Dakota, wants to bring the biker party vibe back to his Tennessee home town by catering to hot rods, custom motorcycles and live concerts on the main drag outside his distillery and visitors center.
Business partner Dupree is the lead singer of the hard rock band Jackyl, famous for his raucous chain saw solos to close out sets. Last summer, he broke ground on his latest venture, a nearby distillery where he plans to make Jesse James Tennessee Whiskey. LINK

Koch Brothers group relaunches ads to defeat Insure Tennessee

The Tennessee chapter of Americans for Prosperity relaunched a second round of radio ads Monday aimed at defeating Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to use federal dollars to help working people buy into employer-sponsored health plans and expand Medicaid eligibility to poor Tennesseans.
The state chapter of the organization backed by billionaire brothers Charles Koch and David Koch issued a news release about the ad buy to "defeat the Obamacare expansion plan." The Tennessee Justice Center, which supports the governor's plan, used the announcement of the radio ads as a rallying point to get people to call their legislators and push for passage.
The fate of a bill giving Haslam the authority to move forward with the insurance plan could be decided in a legislative committee this week. The bill faces a crucial vote Tuesday afternoon before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.
"They have money, but we have you," Gordon Bonnyman of the Tennessee Justice Center said in a mass email. "We have to show that the people of Tennessee support Insure Tennessee, and we will not be won over by out-of-state groups with a lot of money." LINK

Crockett Policy Institute

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