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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

kill bill vol?

My bill on ethics reform was killed today in house state and local govt. sub committee. It dealt with conflicts of interest, for instance where a member is voting on a bill that would directly benefit the legislator financially, or benefit an immediate family member or business partner. The bill also addressed the use of public funds, time, or personnel for personal gain or political activity except where already provided by law. It also addressed using the state seal on stationary for fund raising purposes.

I knew the Democrat controlled committee would try to kill the bill as quickly as possible in order to create as little attention or “mess” as possible. I asked for a roll call vote on the bill so everyone had to go on record. I also asked to divide the bill into parts to force voting section by section.

Some questions were asked in an attempt to muddy the water on the bill-and those questions were answered and clarified. Next, representative Rinks started to speak and ask questions.

It transpired something like this:

Rinks: What about the use of the state seal on a blog? We have to watch out for them, these blogs can be a problem.

The legal staff responded that the bill had nothing to do with that.But evryone got the point.

A few more comments were made and then there seemed to be agreement by the majority that they would need to study this bill over the summer (a way of killing bills.) I brought up the fact that I had asked to divide the question (so they would have to kill the bill piece by piece showing Tennesseans their insincere desire for accountability in ethics and transparency in government) but Chairman Miller said I was out of order.

The bill was killed--all Republicans voted yes to save it, Democrats voted no. As I was thanking the committee, a State Representative on the committee(I believe it was Rep. Jones) laughed and said something to the effect of “go write that in your little blog.”

Well Representative Jones, I've written it. More obstructionism and stalling on ethics legislation, and possibly as bad, the revelation of a general feeling of disdain, if not antagonism for open government. To criticize a blog-which is only a tool to communicate with Tennesseans-- should speak volumes to Tennessee taxpayers.

It is ironic to hear such antagonism about a means of telling Tennesseans what is going on in Nashville--after all, government belongs to the people. Nashville isn't the personal playground for a privileged few elected officials at least it shouldn't be.


  1. My dearest Rep. Campfield:

    Blogs are legitimate constituent communications and as such are a part of the job. Using your computer to communicate with your people is entirely legal. Rink’s was implying that you are campaigning in your blog, which you are not. Further, the state seal belongs to us all and we may use it in anyway we see fit. He was accusing you of a campaign ethics violation and you had a golden opportunity to put him in his place. I truly wish you had not let him impugn your character like that.

    The Representatives who showed the most contempt for ethics in government were Rinks and Jones. Jones has got to be the most ignorant person on the Hill and that is saying a lot given the low IQ of most legislators. He did not understand your bill nor the one right before yours belonging to Frank Buck. He is so obviously opposed to ethics legislation; I think digging into his personal situation might yield some very interesting things. What is he (and Rinks) so afraid of? Why do they enjoy the darkness of business as usual so much? Hmmmmmmmm.

    The Representatives who are opposed to ethics legislation are Rinks, Jones, Langster, Miller, Moore, West and Yokley. They are on the record as being anti-ethics because of their vote to send this bill to the graveyard. I hope that opposition research takes note of this before the next election. I understand that you cannot name names, but I hope that you will not edit me off your blog. The people have right to know who is for true ethics reform and who is against it. Isn’t that what your blog is all about?

    Thanks for letting me vent. I am just so frustrated and sick of the self serving boobs up there who are just up in it to line their own pockets at the expense of those who sent them there.

  2. Thanks for trying, Stacey. Their days are numbered. Trust me, their days are numbered. Their free skate thus far has been greased by the public's ignorance of their activities/votes. That dark cover is changing, and changing fast. No thanks to The Tennessean, of course.

  3. Thank you very much Stacey Campfield. You are a true statesman in the mold of Davey Crocket and Daniel Boone. Thank you for your courage and integrity. Thank you for leading by example. Because of your courageous leadership these other idiots and cowards like Rinks and Jones will soon be forced to come out of the shadows and show their faces in public in the blogosphere.

    The fact that these slimeball polititians are attempting to avoid blogging for the people at all costs and scheming to think of ways to suppress blogging and scare others from blogging is in fact very telling of their character.

    A true and honest leader of the people would jump at the chance to use such an excellent tool as the blog to keep the people informed and involve the people in the inner workings of the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    Obviously Stacey Campfield is such a man.

    Apparently he is the only such man in the entire state legislature of Tennessee.

    Thank you Stacey Campfield for your courage, integrity, honesty, openess, and stellar leadership.

    Stacey Campfield for Governor!!!

  4. other bloggers pointing out the TN Democrats obstructionism and stalling on ethics legislation.

  5. The way many reps understood the bill found it problematic of a part time legislature. For instance: if you are a farmer, you couldn't vote on any bills regarding the finance of agriculture. Wouldn't that dissolve the whole committee? One thing I didn't understang and perhaps you could clarify: in committee you claimed about personally benefitting me. Do you mean you as an individual or you as a profession. You also failed to mention the questions Rinks had about the hotel/motel tax. He couldn't vote on anything to raise or lower hotel/motel tax.

    Furthermore, what if there was a bill to reduce or lower sales tax. the members couldn't vote on it because it directly affects them financially.

    I understand your point about trying to keep members from pushing bills that benefit them.

    It is not all about Dems tryng duck or hide from ethics. I don't belive Rinks was trying to accuse you of that action puppymommi was mentioning. I think he was trying simply make a joke about the blog.

    The problem some of the members have with the ethics bills Buck has is the double standard of lawyers and everyone else. They don't like that lawyers are either too incompetant or don't want to disclose and divide up their time between working with a client and lobbying.

    The fact that these slimeball polititians are attempting to avoid blogging for the people at all costs and scheming to think of ways to suppress blogging and scare others from blogging is in fact very telling of their character.

    The members that oppose it are doing so of their lack of use of technology and the fact that campfield is an outspoken freshman. I belive if a senior member of either party started a blog, it would recieve more praise.

  6. Rep.

    I appluad you for your efforts to communicate with your constituents. I noticed a back and forth on an earlier topic in which a blogger referred to Rep. Buttry being well liked and being able to get a few thing done in Nashville. Your response was, such as? Are you saying that you have accomplished more or that he was ineffective? I don't know him personally but was always happy with his work.

  7. I was not attacking the former rep. but was more trying to get a reference point to what the person liked or considered success.If you would like to chime in as well please do.

  8. As I said I think he did a great job. It seems you are having trouble passing your bills. I think success is being able to work within the system while trying to change it as you go. It appears Rep. Buttry was able to do this.I know that Knox county sends plenty of tax dollars to Nashville and I know the governor and the powers in Nashville have a huge say in where it goes. Human nature is to help those who you get along with first.

    Success is also helping to get Knox County the most return on it's investment.

  9. 66rustang:many of your objections are covered in the bill. I also asked to devide the question so sections could be voted on individually, good parts yes ,bad parts no and the good parts could move on but I was not allowed to do this common procedure.

  10. Racr: if only it were that easy or the legislature followed that system things would have changed years or decades ago.

  11. Racr: for reference what was your favorite change?

  12. You may be missing my point. My point is trying to change the sysyem is fine. But, why render yourself ineffective in the meantime by not trying to get along with those who you work with.If you would like I could try to contact Mr. Buttry and find out what he was able to do. I think any elected official should be judged on their accomplishments.

  13. Dear 66rustang:

    The bill covers legislator’s professions. For example, Sen. Ford introducing a bill that would put small, low end funeral providers out of business, in order to cut down on competition for his own funeral parlor. This would be a direct conflict of interest.

    If legislators voted on a tax cut, it would benefit them; however, it would benefit every Tennessean who pays taxes. It would not penalize some, in order to benefit others (who happen to be in power).

    There are also limits built into the bill, so small amounts, such those which might be gained by a lower hotel/motel tax would not be included anyway. The amount would not be considered enough to trigger a conflict of interest charge.

    Have you read the entire bill and all of the amendments?

  14. Recr:read previous comments on previous posts.

  15. Puppimommy: thanks, you know it well.

  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. John, Sorry there are limits in the bill. please read the bill as ammended .also please read previous posts on acceptable comments.

  18. Rep.

    Please stop dodging questions and referring to old posts that do not directly answer questions. I have also noticed that you selectively delete comments frequently. Why do this if they are not vulgar or obscene? Participants should be able to share their views with you and others. It appears you only like to debate when you are comfortable with the subject.

    By the way I called Rep. Buttry and he was more than happy to take my call and discuss his career in the legislature. He had nothing derogatory to say about you but encouraged me to judge all elected officials on results and to get opinions from many sources. I was glad to see (hear actually) for myself that what I had heard about him was true. He understands that relationships are important and you don't have to compromise principles to accompish things in Nashville.

  19. racr, I'll let theRep defend himself on answering unclear or repetitive queries, but I can say that there is a fine line between leading (that is honorably influencing others vs. simply having power and having people go along as a result) and "not getting along with everybody." In fact, bringing home the bacon, as I perceive you're commending Buttry for, is typical, but it is hardly a guiding principle for gov't. Legislators should be able to justify their votes on the basis of what is good and right for every Tennessean, not just his/her constituents. For example, just because a powerful legislator has a lot of tobacco farmers in his district does not justify taking money from non-tobacco-farming-taxpayers to subsidize tobacco farmers.

  20. The use of the committee system to block popular legislation is no news to the family law reform group DAD of Tennessee. (www.tndads.org) Once again this session Rep. Jones has thrown her considerable politcal weight in her "SUBCOMMITTEE" to block HB 1729 (with it's 67 House sponsors) and the Senate already having passed the legislation. The bill would change the way family law trial judges approach their initial determination to non cohabiting parent-child, parenting order determinations. By recognizing that Equally Shared Parenting (with an opportunity of rebuttle) is in the Best Interest of the Children, and thus the legislature would stem the tide of rampant growth in absent father child development problems.
    It is certainly OK to disagree with a political point of view.
    However, if the average citizen were aware of Rep. Jones behavior, I think her (stick that in your pipe...) type comment to Representative Campfield would come as very little surprise.
    It is completely refreshing to see that Representative Campfield has had enough with that type of behavior. With so few House seats between Speaker Naifeh and his position as Speaker next legislative session I think he would be well advised to begin to value the needs of our families and our constituents sense of legislative ethics and place a great deals less emphasis on maintaining the lifestyle and behavior of Representative Sherry Jones.
    That is not partisan. That is common sense.
    cc: Naifeh staff Burney Durham

  21. Powertee,

    Who elects each Rep.? There constituents that's who, not the rest of the state.

  22. Oh, racr, don't get me wrong; legislators who are guided by your philosophy will typically get elected, but that doesn't make their philosophy right. Anymore than it makes it right for you and the majority of bozos in your neighborhood to take possession of your neighbor's pool simply because y'all have more votes in the neighborhood association than he does. But EVERY legislator is sworn to defend the TN Constitution which purports to protect individual liberties and prohibits legislation targeted at any single community.

  23. Are you joking? Calling a bill moronic is not a personal attack. It seems more to me that you just do not want other people to see that there are two sides to the story. Hmmm, I thought that is what you were accusing everyone else of doing. Put my post back up.

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