Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Crockett Buzz for 9-15-15

Conservative Pastors Plan Rally At Tennessee Capitol Amid Fears Over Islam

On charging a fee to see public records

In TN leadership PAC spending, Lamar has the lead

Among Tennessee officeholders who have their own political action committees, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has by far the highest overall total of PAC spending while state House Speaker Beth Harwell has the highest current cash balance for the future, a review of campaign finance figures shows.
Alexander was the first among current officeholders to set up a “leadership PAC” separate from his own campaign account. The first was called the Republican Fund for the 90s and operated while he was campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination as a former governor during the late 1990s.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which has compiled figures for “career” spending by leadership PACs operated by members of Congress, Alexander’s expenditures through his PACs total almost $104 million over the decades. His present PAC, operated as Tenn PAC, had a cash-on-hand balance of $250,221 at last report on July 1.
By contrast, Harwell is a relative newcomer to leadership PACs. She first set up a PAC in 2006, but it raised and spent only modest sums — peaking with $17,500 in 2008 spending — until she won the House Republican Caucus nomination to become speaker after the 2010 elections. She was elected speaker in January 2011. Contributions flowed into Harwell PAC afterward in substantial amounts and she has been saving more money than spent.
A review of state Registry of Election Finance records indicates Harwell has a career total of $373,621 in spending through her PAC. The PAC’s current cash-on-hand balance is $642,273 — higher than any other PAC in the state, including more than 500 special interest PACs as well as leadership PACs maintained by politicians.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey established RAAMPAC in 2003, and has since used it for more than $3 million in political spending, Registry records show. LINK
Islam will again be at the forefront, when conservative ministers and lawmakers hold a rally Thursday at the Tennessee Capitol.
The event comes in the wake of the July shooting in Chattanooga and in the middle of a controversy over what schoolchildren are being taught about the religion.
The Tennessee Pastors Network lists a number of reasons for this week's demonstration — abortion to same-sex marriage to Obamacare — but a big concern is radical Islam. Organizers believe political leaders haven't responded strongly enough to domestic attacks.
That's an argument Gov. Bill Haslam takes exception to. He points to the exhaustive investigation that took place after a gunman killed five servicemen in Chattanooga.
"I think it's real dangerous to take the actions of one person (and) say this is a concerted effort," he said. "In the Chattanooga case, the FBI did a real nice job. … They were tracing down every lead to see, is this person tied to somebody or not?"
But worries about Islam haven't gone away.
Just last week, conservative lawmakers criticized a history unit on "The Islamic World," being taught to Tennessee seventh graders. The state Department of Education says it'll review the social studies requirement in January.
Haslam says that's the appropriate response. LINK

Tennessee must encourage discussion, not end it

Over the past year Tennessee politics observers might have noticed a series of trigger words aimed at stifling debate about important issues.
The intent in each case has been to marginalize dissent and purposely suppress alternative viewpoints.
Those trigger words have included “Obamacare” in the case of Insure Tennessee, “political correctness run amok” in the case of the gender-neutral pronoun controversy at the University of Tennessee, and “indoctrination” concerning Tennessee middle school students learning about the “World of Islam” in social studies class.
These examples show how indifference, bullying and political pressure can be effective tools to end discussion. LINK

Williamson senator targets Nashville local-hire measure

A Williamson County Republican senator has filed state legislation to nullify a new Davidson County local-hire requirement that Nashville voters approved overwhelmingly by referendum last month.
It could set up a showdown between Republican lawmakers and new Nashville Mayor-elect Megan Barry, a Democrat and vocal supporter of the charter amendment at issue.
State Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, who backed Barry's opponent David Fox in last week's runoff election, filed a bill Monday that he says would prevent local governments from requiring a company bidding on a public construction project to employ individuals that reside within their jurisdiction. LINK

On charging a fee to see public records

The state Office of Open Records Counsel is holding a series of hearings this week about a proposal to make taxpayers pay to inspect public records in Tennessee.
Under current law government officials can charge for photocopies of public records, but viewing them is free. Records custodians often prohibit citizens from taking pictures or scanning records themselves.
A bill seeking to impose new fees for records searches stalled in the Legislature this year, but sponsors asked the open records office to review potential changes and make recommendations to lawmakers before they return in January.
Whit Adamson, president of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, in an e-mail likened the proposal to a new tax “which is simply new revenue from something we are already paying government to do.” LINK

Crockett Policy Institute

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