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Thursday, April 21, 2005


Ethics, ethics, ethics. We have a bill. Yes, it does some good and I will vote for it. It mostly deals with legislators and their actions. Unfortunately, it has little to do with lobbyists who are a big part of the problem. Some legislators have spouses who are paid lobbyists-and that is just one loophole. Legislators can no longer be paid lobbyists, yet their spouses can. All they must do is state that their spouse is a lobbyist and NOT disclose how much they bring in except to say it is over $200.00.

Many argue their spouse or income of their spouse has no input on their decision-making. IF this is true, I know many spouses who will beg to differ and many companies that may want a refund for fees paid to a spouse of a legislator

Another problem is lobbyists who sit on boards that have strong input on legislation (for example TWRA). This should also stop.

Hopefully this bill can serve as starting point for future legislation to deal with the problems that remain. I know many of my constituents keep requesting cleaner, open government. I will keep working towards that goal. This small step gives us hope.


  1. Why can't you offer a bill making it unlawful for immediate family members of a legislator to be a lobbiest.

  2. Rep.

    When will you pass some meaningful legislation? You campaign material said you would be effective. I have not seen much so far. don't give us that tired line about democrat control. Other legislators from Knox County are able to pass bills. why can't you.

  3. Stacy, in rebuttal to Mike’s question regarding the “condescending manner to a student at the University of Tennessee through your e-mail correspondence” you posted a simple response of ” see march 17 post”. I went to the March 17th post to see just how you responded, and nothing in that post has anything to do with Mike’s question. You did post “Sorry about any typos or bad grammar”. In no way do you even bother addressing the completely unprofessional manner that you conducted yourself to a constituent. Grammar is the last thing in that whole exchange that concerns me. You are a representative of the people and should conduct yourself accordingly.
    That being said, I find it curious that you are claiming first hand knowledge of bias in the University system. You mention your college experience “in upstate New York” and the many problems of bias in that unnamed school. However, Stacey, you went to a distance learning school to get your degree. In a letter to the editor, another student that “wasn’t pleased with [your] actions or lack of professionalism” asked you about your extensive University experience. Your answer: “Regents accepted my credits from state schools toward my graduation I had over 170 credit hours as I recall and have two degrees.” Exactly what University system are you claiming to have first hand knowledge about?
    I attend school at both Michigan State University and The University of Tennessee. Everyday I sit in classrooms where Professors hold class. I have not once seen a Professor discourage a student from expressing a different point of view. I have not once had a Professor give me a bad grade for having a different point of view. What I have seen is you calling Fish’s argument “weak ,weak, weak” because he disagreed with your opinion. You then go on to imply that he is a drug user for having a different opinion then you: “It is tragic when a young mind is turned to mush from excessive drugs next time just say no!”

  4. In response to featheriver, the TN Attorney General's Office issued an opinion stating that banning any family members from a lobbyist position would violate their First Amendment rights, specifically the portion that grants the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  5. Somehow the state attorney general's opinion on that doesn't fly and could be challenged successfully, I dare say. We have a mighty strange attorney general in Tennessee. He has also declared that noncitizens (foreign nationals) can be state troopers (or, apparently, any state law enforcement officer in Tennessee) and enforce the law on American citizens. That's another one that could be challenged successfully, whatchawannabet?

    Donna Locke
    Tennesseans for Immigration Control and Reform

  6. Pking, thanks for bringing that up. I saw his reply as well, but lacked the motivation to even bother pointing out that the March 17 post was only barely peripheral to the central issue.

    I think jasonrcox is right about the First Amendment liberties in this issue. I'm not sure about how strange the Attorney General is, I'm not that familiar with his policies. But, as for stating that citizens have a right to lobby, he does seem correct in this regard.

  7. Re. the First Amendment, I think people have a right to make and give whatever monies they want in the political process, but there should be full disclosure about such exchanges. I also think that you should not be able to give money unless you are able to cast a vote (i.e., I don't see why corporations need to contribute).

    But, once again, you Libs' ad hominem attacks on theRep are tiresome. You ought to either address his arguments or admit that you have to resort to underhanded tactics to win the debate.

    And regarding "Mike," I'd love to make him sit through 9 weeks at Bob Jones University to see what it feels like to be Conservative at most universities in America. Subjectivism is the key, and most Liberal, relativistic (that may be redundant), tenured professors feel little or no need to honor ethical or professional standards in treating mean-spirited, bigoted, heartless Conservative student.

  8. I don't resort to ad hominem attacks, and I agree with you this respect, powertee. I have always found that logic is the best method of winning a debate.

    Throughout my college career I was a conservative sitting in a college classroom filled with liberals, so don't preach to me about that. I took criticism for my views, but I also appreciated the criticism. That's the problem with most people today, powertee, they can't appreciate challenges. Similarly, I had a very liberal friend in one class that was taught by a conservative professor. She couldn't stand the professor's views, and he probably couldn't stand hers. But she was at least willing to hear his ideas, which is more than I can say for many people of any political affiliation these days.

  9. I actually agree with you on that, Mike. Being challenged by my liberal professors has only reinforced my conservative beliefs and has aided me in being able to debate and articulate them more effectively. The Student Bill of Rights here at MTSU has a clause that calls for a committee comprised of more than just professors to review a student's grievance. This clause was one of the main reasons I was in support of the bill, given that as of right now, grievances tend to simply go through the heirarchy of the buddy/buddy professors and deans. I'm not sure if the legislation on the state level has that provision, though.

  10. PowerTee, I would more then welcome the opportunity to address his arguments. However, Stacey does not provide any argument to back up the reason for the student bill. Have you read Stacey’s reply to Mr. Fish? Stacey’s four arguments for this bill are it does not cost taxpayer dollars; it does not say conservative, liberal, republican or democrat; the bill is compared to the 64’ civil rights law; and the bill promotes free speech. There is no point to rehash the follies of his arguments here as you can just read the conversation yourself. However, on Stacey’s blog cite he goes on to argue that “several students” felt that they would lose a grade if their Profs saw them there. I too can use antidotal evidence to support anything that I want. I even posted my own college experience in regards to this issue. Why are the “several students” opinions more important to the many voices of students and faculty (including myself) that do not see this type of activity happening in the classroom? Is it because they agree with his agenda? Several students out of a student population of 25,000+ is not make a solid argument that there is a problem with bias Professors.
    The next issue I was trying to raise is professionalism. To insult a student because he does not view an issue the same way you do is way past the line of appropriate behavior. Quotes like: “ . . . who knows you might even have time left over to get a life” and “ . . . of course your brain is still mush” are insulting and completely inexcusable for a Representative. Also, Stacey claims to have first hand knowledge even though he got his education though a distance learning environment. Several people have asked, but he will not expose just which School he is talking about because it is clear he has not spent much time in state run universities. Why not?

  11. Kara, I do not have a real problem with SGAs and universities themselves adopting a policy such as this, since it does not actually become *law*. By codifying this set of standards, the state would then have to define exactly what would be relevant, what would not be controversial, etc. Problem visible? You bet. All of that is subjective. What I see as controversial, you may not, and vice versa. This is more easily accomplished at the universities themselves, not at district attorney's offices.

  12. Mike, you thanked pking for bringing up some point (one was not relevant--condescension to a student in another post, and one was ad hominem). But I don't need a sworn affidavit that theRep got 120 credit hours at a large, renowned public university to know that students ought to be able to have recourse when professors allegedly cause them injury for their political ideas. I couldn't care less whether a professor agreed or disagreed with me on a subject and arguably I've been "sharpened" by the free market of ideas, but I DO care when such professors give bad grades or threaten such by espousing their beliefs. DO YOU UNDERSTAND that tenured professors are untouchable? Do you understand how hard it would be to convince a panel of like-minded (like the professor, that is) folks that your subjective grade is not fair? And correct me if I'm wrong, but DA's aren't going to be involved in this at all ("Dateline, Murfreesboro: Prof gets 1-4 for Discomfiting Student").
    But Pking, this is more of an institutional issue than a political issue. (Though it's laughable to say that any Liberal student is paying any consequences for his views on a college campus today) No doubt, Conservatives' oxes are being gored right now, so we want protection for students, but anecdotal evidence coupled with numerous polls about the Liberalness of academia is sufficient justification for providing a way for students to be heard on this...don't you think?
    P.S. It was actually PKING, not Mike that I thought deserved a sentence of 120 undergrad hours at BJU. Sorry.

  13. The purpose of my blog is to communicate as a legislator with taxpayers and citizens. I hope to provide the public with a look inside government through my eyes.

    For those curious bloggers that prefer to focus on me instead of legislation or the workings of government, I will address your comments.

    Regarding my education: I went to Broome Community College in Binghamton (a state school) and received an associate degree. I then transferred to St. John Fisher in Rochester (a private school) for a year but did not like it. I was working and paying for my own education with money I made from my own business. The expensive tuition (14K) was tough to pay.

    As is with many people who work to finance their own education, I went to school part time while running my own business. I furthered my education at SUNY Bighamton and SUNY Cortland (both state schools.)

    In time I amassed around 170 hours. Regents is an accredited university that accepts credits from accredited schools as long as they fit into their program. This university is one of the largest used by businessmen (like myself) and the military who move around frequently or have credits from several places as I did. It was a good fit.

    I never “tested out” of a course, never took a course in the mail, and never took a course over the internet. I have also volunteered over 4,000 hours at the University of Tennessee and therefore have interacted with students almost daily for years.

    Since running for office and being elected, I have had less time to volunteer but still help out where I can.

    ***SPECIAL NOTE: I consider all derogatory comments made regarding internet classes very rude. First of all, whether my constituents have absolutely no education or a Masters Degree, they are all of equal value. I am proud of all efforts to continue education-whether at a local college, a vocational school, or over the internet. A lot of good people in this state take classes this way-working moms trying to further their nursing skills, sales reps learning skills in organization management, paralegals, etc. A lot of our state schools offer these classes-and it doesn't diminish the material or the student.

    Many of you should be ashamed of yourselves for ridiculing these folks who are trying to improve themselves.

    Re: racr: In my campaign I made no promises to pass any bill, only to bring forward and try to get good legislation to the front, and of course, fight to get good legislation passed. Serving Tennesseans is serious business. I consider it both an honor and a duty to not only listen to Tennesseans, but to work my hardest on their behalf. That includes studying the bills, attending all the meetings, doing whatever I can to not just meet expectations, but exceed them.

    I am not motivated to merely pass bills that will personally curry favor with constituents such as bills naming bridges or outhouses (don't laugh-it has been done.)

    Most of my freshman Republican colleagues know that whatever bill they bring forward will probably be killed because of who we are-Republican freshman. Many of my bills are still alive and some have been merged with other bills I have pushed for. I have pushed hard for Meth laws for 3+ years and helped sponsor the final meth legislation that passed a few weeks ago.

    I also am pushing more ethics reform, but I personally am just one vote. I cannot just pass bills that others with long, vested interests in the status quo (i.e. those in power) do not want passed because the bills may effect them. I have worked on and sponsored other bills that have passed-and I will discuss those efforts in a report to my constituents.

    RE: Mike
    Sorry I quoted the wrong day, it was the next post-the 23rd.

  14. Amen. Well done, rep. Keep blogging!

  15. pking, mike tues march 22 top paragraph

  16. I am the blogger formerly known as mike (please, no Prince jokes). I've had to change my name to distinguish myself from another person. I've looked around on this site and I think there's something I need to clarify. I am not the mike who TYPED IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS LIKE THIS. So, just to make sure I won't be confused with him (and hopefully I never was), I've changed to Mike225.

    Several people have made the argument that Campfield shouldn't propose legislation affecting public schools if he didn't go to one himself. I don't think that's a particularly valid argument, though. Throughout life people make decisions affecting others even though they have not walked in that person's shoes. For example, President Bush never served overseas, but he makes decisions affecting overseas troops. That's just part of the job. Here's another example: a girl is approached by a homeless man seeking money. The girl declines to give him cash, but instead takes him to a fast food restaurant and buys him a meal. Even though she's never been in his position, she felt that the food was what he would most need, and that's what she gave him. Stacey is doing the same (even though he has attended public schools... so the argument is nullified regardless and this whole paragraph is obsolete - oh well).

    Now I will address the issue of Rep. Campfield's condescending remarks to a student editorialist at the University of Tennessee. Stacey referred pking and me to the March 22 posting presumably to explain his correspondence with the student. The post Stacey referred to states that he occasionally likes to play the devil's advocate. To quote him:

    At times I like to play devils advocate just to test someone’s theory or philosophy and to see how well thought out there argument is.

    Below is a link to the actual correspondence Rep. Campfield carried out with the student. I understand that many of you will not even bother looking at it, for fear of being proven wrong. However, please remember that Socrates scoured the countryside looking for someone to make him rethink his opinions, and was disappointed when, according to him, no one could. (Of course, they also executed him for, among other things, saying stuff like that!)

    The e-mails

    Now, after reading those, (you did read them, didn't you?) ask yourself a few questions. (This will require some substantive analysis, so be ready.) Does the substance in the e-mails Rep. Campfield wrote resemble what one might call a "devil's advocate" style? If Rep. Campfield had written that to you, or even a family member, would you be upset? Who do you think, between to the student and Stacey, demonstrates the most respect in his writing?

    I, myself, cannot bend my small human mind to see Rep. Campfield's remarks as merely a test of the student's philosophy. A true test of philosophy would be an organized opinion challenging the ideals of the original argument. Instead, Rep. Campfield made degrading remarks directed toward the character of the student. (Listen up, Powertee, your precious "No-ad-hominem" rule should find great cause to jump all over his comments.) Finally, I can hardly believe that the student, himself, actually felt that his philosophy was even remotely tested.

    Please excuse me, but I'm going to jump back to the Student Bill of Rights for a moment. I am sure that Stacey Campfield has good intentions behind this bill. My doubts lie behind the necessity and constitutionality of it, things that I might cover later, but won't right now.

    I have tried to make this comment as light-hearted as possible, in hopes that I can cut through some of the tension on here. It is my hope that these comments can return to this nature and resume the discussions with a spirit of respect and intelligence.

  17. In reply to posts: more about me.

    Yes, I like to “poke the tiger” so to speak. I think if you read the letters posted (some that were sent have not been posted) you will see that my comments were less inflammatory than many of the attacks leveled against me.

    Some of these I have pointed out, others I haven't even bothered.

    I have been patient with the personal attacks concerning me. I don't usually bother to correct people when they do this, and if I do, the same folks usually just seek to find yet another fault.

    I can send form letters out, but they usually say nothing and accomplish even less. Their purpose is basically notification that your comments were received. You know the type: “Thank you so much for contacting me. I hope we can work to find common ground to make Tennessee a better place.”

    In general, form letters are used by people who don't want to listen to different viewpoints. Perhaps my letters seem too up front or combative, but I am passionate about my job and I enjoy dialogue, debate, and banter with my constituents and fellow participants.

    I am sure Mr. fish was enjoying the banter with a conservative (so his notes say). Some people hunt or fish for fun. I enjoy the political process-yet at the same time I fully recognize the importance of the political process.

    If you are looking for a PC legislator or a “go along, get along” kind of person---then you are visiting the wrong blog.

    I truly appreciate all the visitors to this blog-and I offer it all for you. I will be happy to keep dialogue open with you about the legislature, the committees, the bills, the workings of government, etc. But this is the last time I will deal with personal issues that are outside of the topic stream.

    In the future, any comments off subject matter will not be addressed and may be subject to deletion. I take the blame for allowing some of the posts to go up in the first place, but there are too many serious issues and too many futures, as well as tax dollars at stake to waste time.

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