If the dollar has little value, then donate a few.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Listening tour

This weeks stop is at West Hills Baptist Senior Health Center (7009 Kingston Pike) Today at 11:00 AM.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Gov. first to break ethics law

The governor was the first to be caught breaking the new ethics law .

The law now says that the lobbyists can not serve on boards and commissions that oversees or regulates the business they lobby.

Enter "A.J." Starling top lobbyist for the AFL-CIO. "A.J." has just been appointed to the T.H.R. commission who regulate over workplace affairs. More of the same to come? .We will see.

More on this can be found at the Tennessee Center for Policy Research website. The TCPR not only broke this story but also did the research for the original story (put out by the Tennessean) based on a post on this humble little blog.

E.D update

The E.D. bill was rolled 2 weeks .The feedback was not as intended from the first go around.

A.G. correct again

With the term limits decision The A.G. has shown another example of why this needs to pass

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

We are surrounded ....Again.

This time it is the Latino community .They are not blocking all access roads and they did not start the parade until after 5 pm .I bet their are 6 to 9 thousand.

This is huge!!!

This is HUGE! The next few weeks will be crazy in the political world of Knoxville. People who were in Co. Commission are out and may look to go into other races, People who were in other races may jump out of the race they are currently in to go after an open seat (usually they are a much easier win).People at one level of government may take a shot at a different level. Deals will be cut and moves will be made. If you are into politics this is like draft day and trading deadline for an expansion football team in one day.

I am not sure of the process that will happen. I think they may re open the ballot for a week to allow more people to sign up. This bomb shell will change the makeup of elected offices in a bigger way than any combo of elections has in the last 15 years.

Don Bosch say it aint so?!?!?!

Political commentator and hard left Democrat trial lawyer Don Bosch has been a little aggressive against the pro property rights candidates (my self included) on his channel 10 political TV show. Now this comes out and makes people wonder about his true motives and goals.

Is it true ? I do not know. Is Don or one of his partners interested in any property that may be taken in Knoxville by E.D.? I don't know.

Don, care to defend your self?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Another bill stolen

As suspected Donna Rowlands bill ending the illegal driving certificate program was stolen. The bill would have ended the practice of giving driving certificates to undocumented people. The gov. has put a temporary hold on this program but could have put it back in place at any time.

After killing Donna Rowlands bill after weeks of debate the administration brought a bill (carried by Rep. Pinion HB4016) that did the same thing and moved it out in one fell swoop .The only difference was Donna's bill would have been a permanent stop . The pinion bill is just for 1 year (till after election time).

Hate to say I told you so but....

The Gov. gave his speech on health care tonight. Guess what two ideas were brought by the Gov.

Risk pools and

A student health care plan.

Good work. I do like the fact that these ideas are moving forward .I hope that the gov. gives credit where it belongs and lets the original sponsors of these ideas move them forward, but I am not holding my breath.

E.D. War Begins

The Eminent domain battle began on the house floor tonight but was cut short to hear the governors speech on health care.

A few things were made clear tonight.

1. The democrats have the plan of fighting virtually every significant amendment brought by republicans. Tom Dubois had the first amendment giving the people who have been told that there land is to be taken by E.D. a 30 day notice to respond if they plan to fight the taking. As the law and bill is now you can get told on Thursday that the city/ co. / state plans on taking your land and if you do not reply by Tuesday (5 days later) you loose your ability to protest the taking (you can only protest the price)

This amendment is a minor point. A common courtesy given to the land owner to allow them the time to clearly decide what is best for them and their family land. To fight or to let it go. From the fight put up you would think we asked to give all land owners a private office in the state capitol. The bill was rolled before a vote could be taken on this ammendment.


The other point was one I brought up.

As the bill stands now land can be taken from private and given to private for a host of reasons .One is for "corporate parks" . After some research I asked the sponsor a list of questions that went something like this.

Me: I see by your bill land can still be taken by eminent domain for corporate parks ?

Folks: yes

Me: I see by the definition of corporate parks that virtually any business can fit in the definition of a "corporate park" is this true ?

Folks: Yes

Me: So a WAL MART would qualify?

Folks: Yes

Me: A K mart?

Folks: Yes

Me: I would imagine a sharp lawyer like yourself could also make a STARBUCKS fit into the definition of a corporate park is that possible?

Folks: Yes

Neifeh: If this is the type of questions we are going to have I will stop all debate and end questioning now!!

Me: (seeing the point was made) Thank you that is all.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Guest Column on Eminent Domain Legislation

Representative Susan Lynn did a good rundown of the goals to be put forward by the republican party task force and the problems with the existing E.D. bill. I thought you might like a sneak peak at some of the things we will be pushing for tonight on the house floor as well as another reps. view of the bill as it stands.

From Susan Lynn:

This Session the Tennessee General Assembly is at work trying to guarantee and reassure the citizens of their private property rights where eminent domain is concerned. More than 60 bills seeking to protect the public were filed in February. Some of the ideas attempt to change the process; some attempt to amend definitions. Very quickly, one bill known as the Farm Bureau bill rose to the top and passage seems imminent. My great respect for the Farm Bureau is second to none. Like all of us, farmers in particular want protection from seizure of their private property for private economic development.

However, after being worked through committee, this bill essentially guarantees very little protection for Tennesseans when it comes to eminent domain. To quote Sandra Day O'Connor in her decent of the Kelo decision, the "specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

The bill states that 'public use' shall not include either private use or direct public benefits deriving from private economic development or private commercial enterprise, including the benefit of increased tax revenue and increased employment opportunities - except in the case where eminent domain is used for; roads, public utilities, private utilities, housing authorities, community development agencies for urban renewal or redevelopment plans; or for industrial parks. Looking at that list, I really can't think of any exception for private economic development by eminent domain that the bill leaves out.

The bill also sets up a mechanism for taking land for industrial development. One merely makes an offer that is declined and then heads to Nashville to the Department of Economic Development for a certificate of need. Tennesseans with family farms reading this article who hope to hand their land down to their offspring may wonder how well the Department of Economic Development will protect their property from a seizure for private industrial development. One may ask why the certificate shouldn’t come from the Department of Agriculture.

The opening clause of the bill purports to quote Article 1, Section 21 of the Tennessee Constitution by stating there should be no use of eminent domain "unless the taking is for public use and accompanied by just compensation" but this restatement omits one other very important criterion "the consent of his representatives." You see the Tennessee Constitution includes an accountability clause. Elected representatives must guard their constituent’s interests and protect their rights while at the same time balancing the "common good." Faced with such a decision, most representatives would very soberly consider the rights of their voter verses the benefit to the public from such a seizure and therefore vote accordingly.

Another aspect of the bill that remains suspect is a clause that allows for the disposal of previously seized property by resale to a private person or corporation. Certainly fairness would dictate that any land acquired by eminent domain that the government wishes to dispose of should be offered to the previous owner, if living, for the right of first refusal.

Several other areas of the bill cause me to pause and wonder just what this bill is trying to secure or protect for the public. The Kelo decision shocked many of us and shattered our traditional understanding of the government’s eminent-domain powers and the rights of private property owners. Traditionally, public use includes a public highway, public school, or a military base. Public use has also included firms and government entities that offer government regulated services to the public and need property for right of way such as for water, railroads, and power companies.

The legislature must protect the citizens of Tennessee against the potential for abuse at the hand of our own government. Tennesseans should insist that the law require developers purchase private property on the open market. With the process this bill sets up can the use of eminent domain for things such as political favors or for imparting some sort of social justice be far behind?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Gov. gets one of mine

As I mentioned in a past post I suspect that one William Bairds health bills is about to be stolen by the governor for his health care plan. Little did I know that one of my own was under scrutiny as well.

Last week I did a TV show and mentioned how I thought we needed to bring back risk pools to help people who had money and a desire to buy insurance the ability to purchase it.

Mae Beavers and I have a bill to reinstate the program that was killed when Tenncare came onto the scene. We worked it last year but it did not move.We were starting to get the talk going on it this year and guess what happens...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Solid Post

Terry Frank has a great post on the Metro Pulse and their conflicts of interest and past articles on eminent domain. As I expected this site is going to be a great source for info.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bills about to be stolen...

These two bills are about to be stolen by democrats watch as it happens. HB 2903 by Donna Rowland (R)this bill ends the illegal driving certificate program as it now stands. For some reason this bill seems stuck in house transportation committee (I talked about the funny voting in a past post) but fear not the same bill (with a few changes)is being brought by Kim McMillan and seems to be sailing through committee. Donna has been pushing this issue for years. Guess what one will move out?

The other bill is a student health bill brought by William Baird. His bill was rolled (put off) for 2 weeks when an amendment was put on in committee. Amendments are brought in committee all the time and move forward after amended .The committee chair said to the effect that any bill amended in committee automatically gets rolled 2 weeks. Another new rule. Once again don't worry the governor is about to roll out his health plan in a week or so. Care to take a guess what he "comes up with".

We are surrounded ....Again.

A few people got there car out before all exits were cut off. A lot did not.

Dick Armey

Former U.S. house majority leader Dick Armey was in town
to talk about the amendment to the Copeland cap. This would slow growth of
government to match the growth of personal income.

I support this idea and am a proud sponsor on this bill. After the
presentation, I had a great opportunity to talk and spend time with the
former Congressman. We conversed on a few subjects and he was very kind.
Later I was asked if I wanted to go with the speaker on the private plane to
Johnson City to continue discussing limited government. I really wanted to
go, but I had a committee meeting.

I think the chance to talk to with a man with such experience as Dick Armey
would have been of benefit to my constituents, but I couldn't have faced my
constituents knowing I had intentionally missed a committee.

Oh well, such is life.

E.D. Oak Ridge?

There is a
"letter to the editor" entitled : Resident sees eminent domain abuse ignored
in city. It was in the Oak Ridge Observer, Thursday, March 2, 2006.

It discusses a property that was originally acquired by TVA through eminent
domain ostensibly for use in their power and flood control projects. The
property is located on the east end of Oak Ridge just off Melton Lake Dr.
and used to house a Rusty Pelican Restaurant, which is now closed. Somehow,
it has ended up in the hands of a developer and it is currently zoned B-2,
General Business, which permits almost any kind of business use.

bloggin' candidate

Jim Boyd is a new Republican candidate running for the state house his website and blog can be found here.

Monday, March 20, 2006

We are surrounded

All the roads coming into the capital are blocked by wheelchair bound protesters. They are blocking the streets and the police are not doing any thing to move them. Legislators and state employees who park in the capitol and came in before the protestors got here are not allowed to leave. My secretary had a doctor appointment and was not allowed to leave.

I asked an officer what was up and he said he was told by higher ups not to touch them. Some are from as far away as Texas from what I am told.

They are for choice of home health care. The funny thing is I think most legislators are for this.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Things you don't want to hear

When I want something done right I try to find the best people to do it. I think that is the opposite of what happened with the Tennessee Municipal league / Farm bureau bill . Not that the person who drew it up was bad or evil but when the lead person who wrote the bill gets up in front of a committee and says to the effect of " I wrote the bill. I don't practice this type of law or specialize in it . But I wrote it." You have to wonder what was the criteria for his selection?

When I started to work on this issue I contacted the Institute for Justice . They are the people who were fighting the Kelo case for the land owners and have been a great asset for rough ideas for crafting a bill.

In the bill as it stands farm land can now be taken if you get a certificate and say you made an offer to buy. Before this bill, farm land could not be deemed a blight and taken by E.D.

That is the "improvement" the farm bureau got. To me that sounds like a loss. More or less It just sets up a process to take farm land where before none existed.

Another thing is who is the voice for urban land owners? What do they have to say?Who represented them in these negotiations? The farm bureau is worried about farms not homes in cities.The TML is the group who want to take the land any way they can.

The TML some how got the upper hand in the negotiations and got this put forward as a compromise bill. If this is a compromise I wonder what a loss looks like. Also when only one bill gets out that is a bad sign . Fewer bills means fewer choices and the more likely it is that legislators will jump on any bill just so they can go home and say they passed an E.D. bill in an election year. I suspect this was the plan in the committee that killed off all the other bills.

If this bill passes as it is it will be a huge loss for land owners almost as bad as kelo itself. With its passage not only will urban areas be left open for attack but now farms will be also. If you know a farmer let him know that this bill hurts more then it helps. The power is firmly in the Farm bureau hands .The people are with them and think they will do what is best for them and end this problem .This bill needs adjusting.

This is GREAT!!!

News like this makes my day.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Listening tour

This weeks stop is at the Cedar bluff Branch of the Knox. Co. Public Library (9045 Cross Park Dr.)on Friday at 2:00 PM.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

59 in 1 out 5 rolled

Well 59 eminent domain bills went in to judiciary subcommittee at the beginning of the day. Only one came out . Many legislators were flustered and upset when they were told by the chairman that this would probably be the case at the beginning of the sub committee. Some just got up and left. The chairman of the judiciary committee Joe Folkes had his bill up first and it passed. To say this bill has more holes in it then a 1970's football jersey would be kind. Many legislators can not figure out why the farm bureau decided to get behind this bill because of its many problems but many are afraid of upsetting the farm bureau by going against it.

Only a few legislators stayed to present their bill. Frank Nicley rolled his bills to keep them alive. I rolled one of mine and presented two, Frank Buck had his rolled because he was in another committee. Tom Dubois presented his (a much better bill) and had it killed.

An odd thing happened on those votes. Joe Folkes who is on the committee left after his bill passed .Henri Brooks,( who has been an advocate for property rights) was voting in support of changes for more property rights putting the number of property rights advocates in the majority when Folkes left. Ken Coleman, who is not on the sub committee came in and sat down and started voting as if he were on the committee.

Brian Kelsey spoke up and asked what rule allowed him to come into a committee he is not on and vote .No rule could be quoted but the comment was made that it had to be a new rule just implemented at the digression of the chairman at the beginning of the year. Brian just shook his head. All bills heard, died 3 to 3 .

Makin it up as we go along

Wow it just gets worse and worse. Today in transportation committee Donna Rowland had her illegal immigrant driving bill.

On many parts of the bill procedural votes were taken to move the bill. Several times when votes were taken the actual votes called out had the motion passing. But when the vote totals were read out not only did the motion fail but the vote totals did not even match the number of legislators in the room. People were left with their jaw on the ground .David Davis who is leaving the state house to run for congress spoke up and had the understatement of the year when he said to the effect "In the future we need people who are going to do a better job of recording these votes" Yelling went back and forth but it was all for not. In the end Donna had to roll her bill just to keep it alive.

Monday, March 13, 2006

It is here!!

Well the blog I have been hypeing and waiting on with baited breath is finally here . I know Terry Frank as a local wrighter,radio personality, TV personality, political presence, Former party chairwoman and source to many bloggers of much good inside info .No one and I mean no one that I have met in politics keeps better records or does more research then her .She is sharp and knows the players, the game, how it is played and won. If she updates regularly I suspect it will not be long before it is one of the top blogs in the state. Save time, put this site on your blog roll now, check it often and thank me later. Http://www.terryfrank.net

Fun with Finance and Administration

As I have pointed out in other posts some bills get stolen, some get killed in committee, others get out and pass but don't get implemented. One example was abundantly clear in a committee rules review meeting I was on today .

The issue was Tenncare and the smart card. The smart card idea was a bill brought forward last year by Rep. Parky Strader of Knoxville and others .This bill would have set up a credit card type system for Tenncare users where people on Tenncare would have had access to goods and services but would have had to use a Tenncare credit card to receive it. This would stop some of the fraud by keeping people from doctor shopping for drugs as well as other problems.

We passed the bill and funded the project, but guess what ? The bill went through F and A .They striped off the funding for the bill and supposedly gave the money to transportation to do with as they see fit. The bill and its goal more or less dies a quiet death and the gov. spends the money as he sees fit.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

E.D. stuff

I'm sorry I have not posted in a while. All the eminent domain stuff has
kicked into high gear, and with trying to juggle my bills as well as serving
on the Republican Caucus eminent domain task force, I have been covered up.

On the bills:

First, regarding the 120-day moratorium bill,yes, I am still pushing it. I
hope it will stop a mad rush by cities and counties to grab lands through
blight/E.D. before laws can go into effect. I shifted back to pulling it up
through the committee system as an expedited bill. I feel it will put more
people at ease if we go that road instead of a direct floor pull up. That
step can still be taken if all else fails.

Second: the Farm Bureau bill. This is the bill many legislators are jumping
on. One issue or problem however is that when some legislators read the
bill, they are jumping back off. Many legislators feel urban property is
not being protected and some feel though the intent is to help farmers, the
effect may possibly be even WORSE for farmers as it sets up a road map to
take farm land (where one has not existed before).

Our task force met in a marathon meeting and combined the best of a lot of
bills (including the Farm Bureau bill.) The task force is drawing up a
solid bill as an alternative. We may run it on its own or offer it as an
amendment.

I feel so bi partisan

Sometimes Speaker Naifeh is right. With regard to the eminent domain issue,
he said that many of the things I do are for "show." He is correct.

I "show" people where corruption occurs.
I "show" people where government abuse is occurring.
I "show" people solutions to problems.
I "show" why good bills die.
I "show" why bad bills move up.

I "show" where a bill brought for years by one legislator is repeatedly
killed and why the same bill is suddenly moved by another legislator for
"show."

I "show" loopholes in bills that favor legislators.
I "show" hypocrisy.
I "show" the people a lot of things the Speaker does not like and I will
continue to "show" them.

Until you "show" problems and "show" solutions and options, nothing is
changed or achieved. If Naifeh and I share the same definitions of "show",
then this is something we can agree upon.

Rumor

W the President , may be in Knoxville in May (the 19th??)for the opening of the Knoxville family justice center.

Moder out

US senate canidate Jeff Moder has dropped out of the race.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

E.D. Movement

Fifty-nine bills dealing with eminent domain have been filed. I sponsored
the first one to be considered by the Judiciary committee on Tuesday. At
the committee meeting, all the bills related to eminent domain were lumped
together and sent off to a study committee.

The first meeting of the committee will not meet for two weeks at best, and
then could take weeks or months for a consensus bill that could roll out of
committee and then forward towards the House floor. After that the bill could be on hold for the governor to sign it and then on hold for the effective date to come into effect.

In the meantime, land, property, and homes could possibly be taken and
transferred by eminent domain. Many areas may take or sell land quickly in
an effort to avoid a closed door should legislation pass at a later date.

One of my bills (HB 2682) as amended ,would place a 120 day moratorium on any talking of land or
transferring of land taken by eminent domain except as needed for public use
(schools, roads, etc.) This moratorium would take place immediately upon passage.

This bill will not change the law, but will allow government the time needed
to create a good law without the risk of a Tennessee citizen losing their
land or property in the meantime.

Since this bill was lumped in with the rest and might not see the light of
day for months, the point of the bill would be moot. I see no other recourse except to pull the bill directly to the House floor for immediate consideration.

If you agree, please contact your legislator immediately. To do this I will need 2/3 approval from the house members.