Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Haslam Wants Lawmakers to Review Guns in Parks (A Bill that bears Haslam's signature)

Crockett Buzz for 8-4-15

Haslam: Lawmakers should review guns-in-parks law

Questions Abound Amid Tennessee Supreme Court Vacancy

AG opinion may open door to guns at Titans, Predators games

A recent opinion issued by the Tennessee attorney general "opens the door" to concealed carry permit holders potentially being allowed to take their weapons into the facilities where the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators play, says a former attorney for ex-Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Those with valid carry permits could take their guns to Nissan Stadium and Bridgestone Arena because both are owned by Metro Nashville, even though they're operated by private companies, said Junaid Odubeko. Odubeko, who worked as deputy legal counsel and legal counsel to Bredesen from 2007 until late 2010, said the law and any policies banning guns at the facilities seem to contradict one another.
"If they had a policy saying that you could not have a handgun inside Nissan Stadium, I think there certainly appears to be a conflict there between that hypothetical policy and how the AG interprets the law," said Odubeko, who now does legal consulting for Tennessee Senate Democrats.
"There certainly appears to be a conflict."
Weapons are banned at all National Football League games by the NFL. The 2013 league policy allows on-duty police officers and security to carry weapons, according to Yahoo News. Bridgestone Arena and the Predators don't allow fans to bring in weapons either. Both venues also frequently play host to concerts and other events; guns also are banned during these events.
Jeff Cogen, CEO of the Predators, said Monday he was not familiar with the opinion from the Tennessee attorney general. He declined further comment.
"We do abide by the NFL’s policy prohibiting weapons. Additionally, the terms of our lease permit us to impose and enforce such rules and regulations governing the use of the facility, and the no-weapons policy is included in that, with the exception of uniformed law enforcement personnel," said Jimmy Stanton, vice president of communications for the Titans. LINK

Haslam: Lawmakers should review guns-in-parks law

Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday lawmakers should review the guns-in-parks law they approved in April in the wake of an attorney general's opinion that said cities, counties and third-party contractors cannot ban permit-holders from going armed in paid, ticketed events like concerts and other events in local parks.
"I think that's a really good example of something that I would urge the Legislature to go back and say, are there specific situations — now that you have the attorney general's opinion — that you want to provide clarity to," the governor told reporters.
Haslam declined to be drawn into a discussion about Memphis Mayor A C Wharton's remarks, in the wake of the fatal shooting of a Memphis police officer Saturday night, that there are too many guns on the streets. Asked about the mayor's remarks, the governor said, "I think we'll wait. My reaction always when there's an incident like this is, rather than react in the heat of it, let's go back and look and see — where was the weapon that used to murder the police officer? Where was it obtained? Was it obtained legally or not?
"Lets go back and look through all that. If people are doing things illegally, it doesn't matter the law we set up. They're going to find their way around that. Like we've done in several of these other tragic situations, let's drill down and see exactly what happened," he said.
The state Legislature approved a bill in April abolishing the authority of municipal and county governments to ban handgun-carry permit-holders from carry guns in locally owned and operated parks under their control. When Haslam signed the bill into law on April 24, he wrote a letter to legislative leaders saying, "I am concerned that an unintended consequence may be operational challenges for local leaders in managing their parks in a safe, effective and consistent manner, due to events and situations that could not have been anticipated in drafting this law."
In the letter, he urged legislative leaders to work together with his administration to "monitor the implementation of this new law in our local communities.
State Attorney General Herbert Slatery said in an advisory opinion last Wednesday that under the new law, permit-holders cannot be banned from going armed even when the local parks are operated by a third party, or when ticketed events with limited access like concerts are held in them.
State Senate Democratic Leader Lee Harris of Memphis, who requested the opinion, said Friday that poses "serious safety challenges to communities across the state," especially at large-scale events that take place in public parks.  LINK

Questions Abound Amid Tennessee Supreme Court Vacancy

So what's the five-member high court without a tiebreaking vote between September and possibly March? Not to worry, said Chief Justice Sharon Lee.
"Choosing the next justice is an important decision for the State of Tennessee and there is no need to rush it," said Lee, who along with Wade and Cornelia Clark was among the justices targeted by the Ramsey campaign.
The court will continue to hear oral arguments and issue rulings, she said. Should there be a 2-2 split decision in a case, the court will reschedule another oral argument for after the new justice is appointed.
Lee noted that the court has operated with four justices as recently as 2007, when a prolonged fight between then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, and the state's judicial nominating panel took 10 months resolve. In that instance, Bredesen ended up appointing Republican Bill Koch, who retired last year.
Ramsey, who spent $605,000 from his political action committee on the failed effort to defeat any of the three justices, has publicly delighted in the fact that Wade's retirement will clear the way to a court controlled by Republican nominees. The Blountville auctioneer's opponents from last year's retention campaign take issue with that goal.
Republican attorney Lew Conner, a former state appeals judge, praised Wade for being "unwilling for the sake of the system to be basically bullied into retirement."
"We members of the bar and other members of the bench are looking for a Supreme Court that calls them right down the middle," Conner said. "Following precedent and making decisions based on applicable law. And not politics."
Now that the vacancy is pending, there is rampant speculation about who will apply – and whom Haslam might nominate.
Cross off the list any prominent attorneys serving in the Legislature. The state constitution bans the governor from appointing sitting lawmakers to the court. LINK

Is Jeb Bush Wrong To Admire James K. Polk?

ne of the presidents that I really admire, and he’s not—I think people rank him pretty good, the historians who look at this—is James K. Polk,” noted Jeb Bush at a town hall event in Sioux City, Iowa, two weeks ago. “Ever read about him?”
Presumably, if Bush has read his history, he knows that James Polk may have wielded the powers of high office with uncommon focus and force, but his actions often wrought dark consequences. And for that, he continues to confound historians, who aren’t quite sure whether the 11th president belongs in a category with failed antebellum chief executives like Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, who aided and abetted the extension of slavery; with the likes of a long string of presidents in the late 19th century, who left little mark; or with Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, who greatly expanded the powers of the presidency in the pursuit of sharp ideological agendas.
“Polk did something pretty extraordinary,” Bush explained. “He said, I’m going to run, I’m going to deal with a tariff, that he turned it into an economic tariff … it was a big issue at the time, I don’t remember which way, it was reversing a non-economic tariff, or a tariff; … [he also said] I’m going to bring Texas into the Union, which turned out to be a brilliant idea; and I’m going to solve the problem in the Pacific Northwest between Britain and the United States. And he did it, and then he said, I’m only going to serve one term. … And, amazingly, he did those things, he served his one term, and he left.”
Set aside for the moment Bush’s confusion over tariffs (they are all “economic,” and in ramming the Walker Tariff of 1846 through Congress, Polk sharply reduced tax rates on imported goods). In claiming kinship with this controversial president, what precisely does Bush mean to intimate? That he is a proponent of free trade? That he intends to reduce tax rates? That he intends to wield American military power more forcefully? That he intends to invade Mexico? (He wouldn’t be the only 2016 GOP presidential contender to issue that threat.) Or that he aims to set goals and achieve them—only to have them unravel less than two decades later?
A former Tennessee governor and speaker of the United States House of Representatives, James K. Polk emerged as the Democratic Party’s unlikely, compromise candidate in 1844. His victory over Henry Clay that fall placed a hardline Jacksonian Democrat back in the White House and set the stage for one of the most tumultuous period in American history. LINK

Attacks on Planned Parenthood based on deceptive videos

Doctored, tabloid-style footage purporting to show Planned Parenthood executives in the midst of illegally selling fetus parts is alarming.
It should be a concern to both those who consider themselves pro-life and pro-choice because these videos have created a fictitious debate about the future of Planned Parenthood. The videos use deceptive tactics to discredit the nearly 100-year-old organization and its leaders by accusing them of harvesting and selling body parts — without any evidence.
Two of Middle Tennessee’s members of Congress have called for either a Justice Department investigation and/or defunding the organization, which provides medical and family planning services for women, including abortions.
That’s a waste of taxpayer money and government officials’ time because the federal government does not fund abortions performed by Planned Parenthood clinics and the organization is already defunded in Tennessee. It does receive $500 million annually in federal aid for medical services.
The issue is a political circus, and cooler heads must prevail. LINK

Crockett Policy Institute

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