Wednesday, March 11, 2015

TN Legislature All About Guns in Parks Playgrounds Ballfields, And No Health Care Either

Tennessee House Advances Guns-in-Parks Bill Opposed By Haslam

Senate Judiciary approves a bunch of pro-gun bills (including list)

The Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday approved measures to allow guns in parks, guns in trunks of cars parked at schools or universities, guns at property used by but not owned by schools and targets that explode — basically, as the Tennessean reports, every gun-related bill that came to a vote in a day the panel devoted to considering firearms topics.
There were, however, a bunch that didn’t come to a vote — including a so-called “constitutional carry” bill and a measure declaring the Barrett Model 82A1 rifle as Tennessee’s official state firearm.
None of the (approved) proposals faced much trouble from the nine-member committee: Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris and Sen. Sara Kyle, both D-Memphis, opposed the guns-in-parks, guns-in-trunks and guns-at-school-properties bills, but each proposal had at least six votes in support.
The House Civil Justice Committee passed its version of the guns-in-parks bill earlier Tuesday morning…House lawmakers get their crack at more gun bills Wednesday, with more than 20 set for discussion in the House Civil Justice subcommittee. LINK

Lawmakers Begin Working Through Pile Of Gun Bills

Making the Second Amendment first priority, lawmakers on the State Senate Judiciary Committee tackled 26 different gun-related bills, Tuesday.

Wednesday afternoon, a House subcommittee will take up the companion bills.

Of the 26, 17 were delayed anywhere from a week to indefinitely as they are reworked.

Three of the bills that got the most discussion dealt with schools and parks.

Those bills were SB 149 which "removes the provision making it illegal to possess a firearm on any property used by a school for the administration of any public or private educational institution."

SB 70 which "clarifies that it is not an offense for a person to transport and properly store a firearm in a motor vehicle parked on school property."

And SB 1171 which "allows a person with a handgun carry permit to carry a firearm in any state, county, or municipal park or other recreation area; deletes provisions allowing local governments to prohibit carrying in parks by resolution or ordinance." LINK

Tennessee House Advances Guns-in-Parks Bill Opposed By Haslam

A bill seeking to strip city and county governments of the power to ban guns at local parks, playgrounds and athletic fields is advancing in the Tennessee House.

The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Harrison of Rogersville was approved by the House Civil Justice Committee on Tuesday.

"We've had seven years of people with gun carry permits all across the state – in state parks, local parks, Little League games – and there's not been any problems," Harrison said. "So this would just make it consistent across the state."

Harrison said the bill would eliminate confusion among people with state-issued handgun carry permits about where they can legally be armed.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam opposed similar legislation in the past, and as Knoxville mayor supported a 2009 city council vote that kept in place a ban on handguns in some of the city's parks.

Haslam told reporters earlier this month that he's discussed the measure with the mayors of the state's four biggest cities, who he said made the argument that "we bought and paid for these parks and we should be able to decide what happens in them." LINK

Americans for Prosperity flexes muscle

Tennessee's Republican Gov. Bill Haslam spent nearly two years crafting a deal to give his state $2.8 billion in federal money to provide health insurance for some 280,000 low-income residents.

It took just three days, however, for a committee of the GOP-controlled state Senate to kill the plan — urged on by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group aligned with billionaires Charles and David Koch that dispatched hundreds of activists to the statehouse and sent out mailers targeting Republicans who voiced interest in the plan.

Americans for Prosperity's role in the swift demise of Haslam's plan to expand Medicaid in his state underscores how the group — the largest grass-roots group in the expansive Koch network — is leveraging its clout to shape policy coast-to-coast. Its aggressive moves come as the network gears up to spend a staggering $889 million over a two-year period to drive its free-market, small-government agenda.
Americans for Prosperity's tactics "changed the whole paradigm here in Tennessee," said Craig Becker, president of the Tennessee Hospital Association, whose members supported Haslam's plan and agreed to pick up the state's share of any Medicaid expansion costs.
"They threw in a lot of money," he said. "They threatened legislators. They scared the Legislature."
The leaders of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) make no apologies and say they will not retreat from their principles — even if that means an increasing number of confrontations in red states such as Tennessee — one of nearly two dozen where Republicans now control the governorship and both legislative chambers. In all, sweeping GOP gains in recent elections have given Republicans a near-record 31 governor's seats and 68 of the nation's 98 partisan legislative chambers. LINK

Republicans Admit: That Iran Letter Was a Dumb Idea

But even among Republicans whose offices have signed the letter, there is some trepidation that the Iran letter injects partisanship into the Iran negotiations, shifting the narrative from the content of the deal to whether Republicans are unfairly trying to undercut the president.
“Before the letter, the national conversation was about Netanyahu’s speech and how Obama’s negotiations with Iran are leading to a terrible deal that could ultimately harm U.S. national security. Now, the Obama administration and its Capitol Hill partisans are cynically trying to push the conversation away from policy, and towards a deeply political pie fight over presidential and congressional prerogatives,” said a Senate Republican aide whose boss signed the letter.
However, while some on the Republican side are now rethinking the wisdom of sending a letter, none of the 47 Republican signatories are recanting their support for it or signaling an intent to do so.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, did not sign the letter.
“I didn’t think it was going to further our efforts to get to a place where Congress would play the appropriate role that it should on Iran,” Corker told The Daily Beast. “I did not think that the letter was something that was going to help get us to an outcome that we’re all seeking, and that is Congress playing that appropriate role.” LINK

Expanded health coverage for autism bill fails in legislature

One of the three freshmen Senate Democrats is upset with a Senate committee — including a veteran Senate Democrat — that decided against discussing a bill that would have required insurance coverage for an autism therapy experts describe as the most effective.
Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, said she was disappointed no one moved to discuss the bill in the Senate Commerce and Labor committee.
"This is a sad day for families in Tennessee who are affected by autism," Kyle said. "I'm just real disappointed that we have a committee system, yet it seems like it's a pattern that some bills are not being heard and talked about..."
Most insurance companies, including state insurance providers, cover certain speech and physical therapies for autism, said Amanda Peltz, executive director with advocacy organization Autism Tennessee. But Kyle's legislation would've required insurers to cover applied behavioral analysis treatment, described by Peltz and other supporters of the bill as the best treatment.
"The real key to this particular legislation is that it would cover applied behavioral analysis, which is one of the only evidence-based practices for treating people with autism and is not currently being covered by most insurance companies," Peltz said. LINK

Lamar Alexander close to reaching consensus on NCLB overhaul

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander says he's close to reaching consensus with Senate Democrats on an overhaul of No Child Left Behind.
Alexander, who leads the Senate's education committee, has teamed up with ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to move beyond partisan politics and make changes to the education law.
"During the last several weeks we have been working together to build the base for legislation to fix the problems with No Child Left Behind. We are making significant progress in our negotiations. We are aiming to consider and markup legislation to fix the law during the week of April 13th," Alexander and Murray said in a written statement.
In November, when Alexander took chairmanship of the committee, he said he hoped to make inroads in overhauling NCLB, saying he wanted to bring curriculum and testing decisions back to state and local education officials. LINK

What Do Tennessee Democrats Stand For?

TNDP chair Mary Mancini explains what the TNGOP is doing to our state and what Democrats can do to stop it...
For Tennessee’s Republican legislators, it’s business as usual on Capitol Hill. Instead of tending to the people's business, they're serving only themselves and their radical beliefs without a care for the destruction they heap upon children, families, and communities. Here's what they've done in just one month...
Senate Republicans, including Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) and Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), voted to kill the Tennessee Economic Council on Women because we don’t "have one for men."
Rep. Courtney Rogers (R-Goodlettsville), is pushing a bill that would ban teachers from running for office "as political retribution after several members of Rogers’ faction lost county commission races to candidates backed by Strong Schools..."
Rep. Sheila Butt (R-Columbia), the Republican floor leader in the Tennessee House of Representatives, posted on Facebook that it was time for an “NAAWP.”
Rep. Jeremy Durham, (R-Franklin) was caught on video laughing about Rep. Butt because to him racism is one big joke.
Sen. Mark Green( R-Clarksville) and Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin), are seeking to privitize worker's compensation insurance effectively removing the last bit of accountability and oversight left in the state program.
Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden), Republican chairman of an agriculture committee, is under investigation by both the Environmental Protection Agency and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for code violations and operating his hog farm without a permit.
Sen. Joey Hensley (R- Hohenwald), who was served an order of protection after his wife said he hit her with his car, and Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville), who was convicted of reckless endangerment in 2013 after an angry run-in with his ex-wife, have filed legislation “dealing with distribution of property during divorce proceedings." Hensley admitted the bill was based on his divorce.
Seven Republican senators, including Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, made the decision to shut the door to critical healthcare for over a quarter of a million hard working Tennesseans by voting NO to Insure Tennessee. Their vote NO is a direct result of the failure of leadership by Republican leaders Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker Beth Harwell who caved to right-wing extremists instead of standing up for 250,000 working Tennesseans who can't go to the doctor when they're sick.
Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) have shown an absolute lack of leadership in refusing to hold any of these members accountable and/or strip them of their leadership positions. LINK

Crockett Policy Institute

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