Wednesday, July 29, 2015

TN State Rep Tells County Clerks to Break Law...Really He Did (Buzz for 7-29-15)

Tenn. Lethal Injection Trial Continues With Dueling Experts

The absolute worst advice we give Americans struggling to pay rent

Womick to county clerks: Ignore AG; no gay marriage licenses

In a letter to Tennessee county clerks, state Rep. Rick Womick is urging they refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, rejecting advice Gov. Bill Haslam and state Attorney General Herbert Slatery to the contrary.
“It has come to my attention that most, if not all of you, have been contacted by AG Herbert Slatery and the Haslam Administration, and have been told to uphold the SCOTUS opinion or race a discrimination lawsuit,” wrote Womick, R-Rockvale.
“Such intimidation from this administration is unconstitutional and should not be tolerated. Each of you are publicly elected servants of your county. You swore an oath to uphold the Tennessee State Constitution and to enforce the Tennessee Code Annotated. You did not take an oath to uphold an ‘opinion’ from from five justices of the SCOTUS.
“Therefore, I am asking each of you to ignore the recent SCOTUS opinion redefining marriage, uphold our State Constitution, and issue marriage certificates to one man and one woman only,” the letter says. LINK

Tenn. Lethal Injection Trial Continues With Dueling Experts

The Tennessee Supreme Court says the death penalty is constitutional, so there must be a constitutional way to carry it out. But attorneys for 33 death row inmates say lethal injection isn't one of them.
In a trial that began July 7, the inmates' attorneys have been trying to prove the injection of deadly chemicals into a prisoner's veins carries an unacceptably high risk of extreme suffering and can cause a lingering death.
The case comes just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Oklahoma's lethal injection procedure, which uses different drugs than Tennessee but considered some of the same broad issues.
Inmates' attorneys say the claim of lingering death is a novel one. It is based on the theory that an overdose of sedatives can put inmates into a death-like coma without truly killing them for hours. LINK

Wade Departure Sets in Motion New Procedures for Picking Supreme Court Judges

Just a year after mounting a zealous and richly financed campaign to keep his seat on the Tennessee Supreme Court, Justice Gary Wade announced Friday that he’s retiring from the bench later this summer.
The 67-year-old judge told the Knoxville News Sentinel over the weekend, “I just don’t have as much energy as I used to have.” Wade may take a job as dean of Knoxville’s John J. Duncan Jr. School of Law at Lincoln Memorial University, according to the story.
Wade, who from 2012-2014 served as chief justice of the state’s high court, said last week in a statement through the Administrative Office of the Courts that his resignation will take effect Sept. 8. His current term began Sept. 1, 2014 and was scheduled to expire in 2022. The release offered no reason for Justice Wade’s decision to step down, although a spokeswoman for the court told the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “He just said he thinks it’s time.”
Democrats Likely Losing Control of 5-Member Court
Wade and two fellow Tennessee Supreme Court justices, Sharon Lee and Cornelia Clark, won fresh eight-year terms in retention elections last August after surviving an ouster attempt funded heavily by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s political action committee.
The three justices, all appointed by Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, ran a “coordinated campaign” to retain their seats. They raised more than a million dollars in the effort — much of it from the state’s legal community and the Tennessee Democratic Party. LINK

The absolute worst advice we give Americans struggling to pay rent

And yet, when I write about poverty and debt on the Internet, there’s always someone—in the comments, on Twitter, or even in person—who will suggest that the issue isn’t so much a system that makes it hard to get ahead, but rather, the result of poor decision-making. The simplest solution, they will propose, is that people who are in financial turmoil “just move somewhere cheaper.”
That is terrible advice.
To address the cycle of poverty, we have to address increases in rent itself, not just where people choose to live. To suggest that the solution to the rent crisis is for everyone who’s being priced out is to “just move” is to derail a much bigger conversation about why people live in poverty and what can be done.
High rents are a national, not just an urban problem. Real estate company Zillow noted this year that in 2015, rents increased nationally by more than 3 percent. Meanwhile, personal incomes are creeping along; in May of 2015, disposable personal income grew just .5 percent. The average national rent, according to ApartmentGuide, is close to $800, while working full-time for the federal minimum wage nets you just under $1,000. Large portions of the country are unaffordable for those making even $10 per hour.
But even when there are less-expensive markets to move to, for individuals who are already living in or near poverty, the reality that moving is not always even a possibility.
Moving houses—let alone cities—by necessity mandates that a person have some liquidity of finances. The costs of moving are many: renting a truck or even just owning a car with with to move your things, possibly putting your things in storage, paying for a background check, a deposit, and a first and a last month’s rent just to get in the door.
Then factor in loss of time on the job. If you’re moving due to income constraints, there’s a good chance that you’ll also be changing jobs because you do not have the kind of job that will relocate you. You might have to go several days without wages—or miss a paycheck altogether. This is something that, according to one estimate, over 60 percent of Americans literally can’t do without ending up on the street.
And the reality is that finding a job will take more than just a few weeks. The median duration of unemployment in the United States is about 11 weeks. LINK

TBI: Former Crockett County School Official Indicted

The former technology director of Crockett County Schools has been indicted on charges including theft and official misconduct within the school system.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tells local media that 42-year-old Ashley Jordan of Halls was indicted July 20 after being charged with theft over $10,000 and misconduct. Authorities say a 2014 investigation determined Jordan had been receiving kickbacks as payment for funneling business to one of the school system's unidentified vendors.
Authorities said Jordan also falsified bids and produced false invoices. LINK

Crockett Policy Institute

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