My bill on student rights was supposed to be heard in committee yesterday, but the committee ran long and it was pushed off for at least another week. Hopefully we will be able to hold a hearing on this bill and hear from students across the state. I have also received a call that David Horowitz may be able to come to Tennessee to speak on behalf of the bill. I am eager to hear what he has to say.
Ethics reform is being rushed in the committee to try to get it done by today. I hope we pass a good bill and not a bad one just because we are in a rush to have it done by the weekend.
Our leader spoke to us about what was going on in the committee for about 15 minutes then he had to return to the committee to finish working on it. The fifteen-minute discussion however, left many of us with more questions than when we first walked in. I am really eager to see some real ethics reform-but I also want it to be workable, understandable and functional.
I fear we may lose that in the rush. Felony classification for infractions was one of the provisions removed so far, and instead lowered to a misdemeanor.
Things are finally starting to speed up. For the longest time we moved slowly but now more bills of substance are starting to move. Most legislators wait to see how much money will be in the system before they push a bill that costs money. The finance committee killed many small bills which were not on the “Governor to do list” in order to make sure he and a few others had funds to do what they wanted.
I often hear that the end of legislative session is like trying to get a drink out of a fire hose: way too much, too fast and many times bills pass late because the volume is too great to digest or work to stop some bills. It's not that bad yet but it is speeding up.
Pat Summit visited yesterday. She is the great women's basketball coach from UT. She was very nice and spoke briefly. She just broke Dean Smith's record wins total. I think the only two left for her to go after are Jerry Tarkanian's record and Dick Baldwin's to be the coach with the most wins in college history. (B-ball pros: let me know if this is incorrect!) As impressive as her wins totals is, the graduation rate of her players is better. To me, that is the measure of greatness in her field that is often overlooked by many sports fans.