Monday, April 30, 2007

Toe to toe

The agriculture committee tomorrow should be fun to watch. Long time friends and fellow conservatives Bill Dunn and the rightwinginsider will be going nose to nose and toe to toe about the smoking ban. Bill on the pro side and RWI on the con side. Both can argue a point very effectively so it could be a barn burner.

The future of elections

I think You Tube is going to change the way people see the next few elections. This story by John Rodgers at the City Paper shows how we are just starting to see the results of more open government via video downstream.

Two things I would like to see on You Tube are when we vote on the house floor, the stream shows video of the final tabulation of votes board but does not show the board that shows how each legislator voted. Really it kills the entire benefit of watching the debate. Most people want to know how their legislator voted on a issue not just the final score. The totals are read out loud on the PA system by Burney Durram any way so showing the total is redundant.

The other thing I would like to see is the video for the following post.....

Name the names!

The Knox News Sentinel has some good stories on the Ford corruption trial yet to come. My favorite part is...

Undercover tapes from the Waltz sting may help Nashville prosecutors. Ford brags of his Doral and OmniCare payments on two different tapes and worries aloud on a third tape about a 2004 bill that would have required more disclosure from lawmakers about any financial arrangements they had with state contractors.


"I ain't gonna have no business 'cause the press is gonna eat me up. They gonna drop me,'' Ford says on the audio recording before leading a couple of unnamed legislators in a chant: "Kill the bill! Kill the bill!''

I wonder who these unnamed legislators are who are complicit to the crime. Is the FBI waiting for a conviction on Ford to press charges of conspiracy on them? It looks like it could be open and shut if they get the Ford conviction.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hey, hey ,hey Mr........... Mr. Jones

Jessica Fender is a quick study on the people of the legislature. This bio piece on Ulysses Jones is about spot on. I could not have described him or his philosophy any better myself. I would say many democrats have the same thoughts. I am sorry to say we are sliding back into old waters.

You have to ask yourself what do these people think was so great about the old way? Don't they remember that the old ways are what brought us to the issues with the Tennessee waltz in the first place?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

ACLU about to sue me?

Last week I started to receive messages in my office that the people from the ACLU had been stopping in my office when I was in committee meetings wanting to see me. I asked my Secretary what they wanted or if they wanted me to call them back, but she said they did not leave a message or want me to call them so I just wrote it off.

On Thursday I was called by a radio station and asked for my comments about what the ACLU was about to do.

I bit.

"What is the ACLU about to do?"

I was told that word on the street is that the ACLU is about to sue the state about an amendment that I put on a bill last year. The bill was making it easier for convicted felons to get their voting rights back. A system was already in place where after a felon did their time they would go to a hearing with a judge and he would make a determination as to their fitness to get their voting rights back.

As I recall (It has been quite a while so most of this is from memory) the new bill would about make it automatic. Do your time and you would get your right to vote back. I did not like the idea of the bill much because it lowered the bar considerably but I figured it was going to pass no matter what , so I tried to make it as palatable as possible. I added an amendment that said they also had to be current on their child support payments. This would be a bit more proof that they truly wanted to be a productive member of society again.

Many of the Democrats were not happy with the idea. They thought it would cut some felons out of their ability to vote. They rolled the bill. They told me not to run the amendment.

I ran it.

Most Dems were not sure how to vote. They wanted the felon vote but didn't want to loose the mom who was chasing the deadbeat dad (or mom) for child support vote. In the end the amendment passed and was added to the bill. As expected the bill passed. I still voted against the bill because I thought the old way was better but such is the way it goes when you are one of 99.

Now, as election year looms closer the ACLU must be looking for ways to pump up their base of deadbeat convicted felons. I guess in this bill they have found their tool.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Down he goes

They got him! John Ford was convicted of accepting bribes. I remember my first ever post and the heat I took for making the allegation that he might be dirty. Little did I know what the future would hold and that I would be proven right a few months later.

Now for the big questions. Will he roll over to get a reduced sentence? Will some of the others awaiting trial take a slightly better offer and accept a guilty plea instead of going to trial because the inevitable is now looking them dead in the eye? I would bet the offers to do so just got a little less sweet.

Maybe Jr. can put in a good word for him before he gets sentenced.

write in vote

As you may remember we made it nearly impossible last year to become a write in candidate. This year we just made it worse. A small provision in a bill that was supposed to mostly do technical changes also had a provision that would have extended the amount of notice given to the election commission necessary to mount a write in campaign. The old notice was 20 days previous to any election and with the new change it would be 50 days. I guess the thought of Senator "low tax" Looper wasn't enough to scare the Democrats away from this piece of incumbent protection.

Gun bills

We passed a version of the Castle doctrine (where you can protect your property from theft and intruders with your gun) and also passed a bill to stop the Governor from being able to grab guns from legal gun owners in a state of emergency as was done after Katrina. Virtual identical copies are being carried in the senate by Republicans but for some reason their version has stalled in the house.

Tax holiday

Don't forget this weekend is the sales tax holiday for clothes and school supplies.

AAHHH....... April, the time of year when a young mans heart turns to the thoughts of school supplies.

Yes, I like the tax holiday but the one before school actually started (in July or early August) would be when it is most useful. That tax holiday that was so helpful last year has been taken off the table so far this year.
Instead we get the end of April when people have just finished paying Income taxes so they are already broke then throw in that it is at the end of the month so most people are extra broke because they paid their bills but haven't gotten the new paycheck yet.

Of course it is April so Fall and winter clothes, such as jackets and coats, will be in short supply on the store shelves. Another issue to worry about is that the children who will not be wearing fall and winter clothes all summer might actually GROW before school starts in the fall making early purchase nearly futile. Could this "Tax holiday" be planned any worse? What is next? a tax holiday on all purchases of Christmas supplies on the fourth of July? It is as if they wanted to make it as useless as possible so no one would really be able to take full advantage of it. Of course now they can still claim the had a "tax holiday" for school kids. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Photo ID for vote

An amendment to make people show a photo ID before voting was killed today on a party line vote. Rs for proof, Ds against. I guess the fraud and dead vote is still a powerful voting block.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ED in Tennessee

Frank Nicley had a Eminent Domain bill up today and brought in a guest speaker. Frank had a professional on the issue from the Institute for Justice (IJ) fly in all the way from DC to talk on the issue. The Institute for Justice was the group that fought the Kelo decision in court.

Usually IJ will not come in to present in a sub committee, but Tennessee is different. All bills are dieing in the small subcommittee and not even being given a chance in the full committee much less on the house floor.

About one minute in to her presentation, as soon as she mentioned how bad the Eminent Domain bill we passed last year was (She said it was the worst bill of all the bills passed in the nation, possibly worse then doing nothing) she was cut off by Rob Briley and made to step aside. Ya got to love open government where all points of view are allowed to be aired. No ED bills are being allowed out again this year. Expect more of the same.

Lotto for the people on government assistance

Well the bill that would prohibit people who are on public assistance from collecting lottery winnings (any one over $600.00) was killed today. As amended it would have checked winners against a registry of people on state assistance and if they were on it or incarcerated at the time of winning then they would be ineligible to receive the winnings. We currently check the winners against the list of people who owe back child support.

The fiscal note, if only one percent of people who won were on public assistance then the money spent on lottery tickets was just under ten million dollars.

Most of the time the people I see who play the lottery look like they don't have the money to spare for food much less to play the lottery. Lottery is not an avenue for pulling yourself out of poverty.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fly in the friendly sky

It must be nice .

They keep attacking

And I will keep swinging back. The same cast of characters seem to always try to stop people from bringing up problems with bills and talking about issues. They like things as they are.

Sorry, It is a new day. With you tube and the Internet people can see and read what is going on in the state house and how legislators really do things. The road may look daunting and the work of exposing what goes on painful but all things worth doing take time and energy.

The speaker is fond of saying "The two things you never want to see made are sausage and laws"

I disagree. I think deep down people want to know, but the bad butcher and the shady politician don't want people to find out for fear of what the repercussions would be.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cheers indeed!

Great news for the Huddleston clan. A new little Vol is on the way and could come in on Christmas . You may want to stop in and offer them your congrats.

Phone or Cable

Rep. Susan Lynn has a good post over at her blog on the money issues with the cable and phone company battle that you may have seen adds on TV about.

Don Quixote?

Well if I am going to be likened to some one I guess that is not bad . One of my more favorite quotes comes from chapter 13.

"Remember that when you attack windmills they might swing round their great arms and cast you down into the mire.......Or lift you up among the stars."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

MIA

Has any one know what happened to Thaddeus Matthews? I thought he would be all over the Ford trial.

Friday, April 20, 2007

listening tour stop

This weeks stop will be on Saturday at the I 75 Expo Center at the corner of Merchants and Clinton Highway from 10 AM till the last person is served.

Feel free to stop by with questions, comments or concerns.

Booze and cruiz

AC Kleinhitler has a good post on why Jimmy Naifeh may be so mad at me lately lately with some new tie in info from the TCPR. The Knox News Sentinel does a editorial on the issue (that you can vote on) as well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Partial birth abortion law holds up

The US supreme court upheld the partial birth abortion ban. My day is made. At last we are finally starting to recognize that life does not begin at birth.

Rob Briley, I hardly know you

OK I had to have had one of the biggest shocks I have had in the legislature when I was sitting in Criminal practice sub committee (No that is not where criminals go to practice) I was waiting for my bill to come up when my good friend and office mate Frank Nicley had a bill up that would allow people to carry a handgun in a state park if they have a licence (think wild bear).

What happened next was mind boggling Rep. Rob Briley amended the bill to allow people to carry any where except where not allowed by federal law(as long as they have a licence). Frank was dumb struck and didn't know what to say.

Where is the Rob Briley we know and hate? I had to applaud I was so in shock. Rob if you keep this up we may have to make you an honorary Republican.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gun bill take 2

You may remember the gun bill that got sent back to committee by Chris Newton and Jimmy Naifeh last session. We were all ready last year and when the bill came up and Naifeh dropped the gavel and said "with out objection!" Of course hands were up and waving. The bill went back and was later killed.

A new year and a new example of abuse.

I had an amendment that would make legislators have to pay for their own alcohol at legislative receptions. As it is now, it is open bar. This is not a good scenario for some legislators. Some don't know when to say when. For some free is too good too pass up. Impaired judgement and the problems that arise from it help no one and could lead to bad commitments and decisions.

Anyway I presented my amendment and practically before I put down my microphone Naifeh dropped the hammer and said "Dies for lack of a second"

Of course I had prepared to present the amendment and had a second, third and forth lined up. They were waving their hands, even in the 16th of a second between the end of my presentation and hammer dropping.

It could have been a quite interesting vote. I am sure he knew it.

New year, same old tricks.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Team GOP cracks a funny

This one made me laugh.

We must protect the children...Unless they are illegal

Donna Rowland had a great amendment to a Joey Hensly bill on the house floor yesterday. The original Dr.Hensley bill had the department of education reporting statistics on the number of homeless children that do not have their immunization shots.

Donna Rowland had an amendment that would track the number of children that do not have a social security number and don't have their immunization shots (Mostly children of illegal aliens). People that are illegal and their children are exempt from providing proof of immunization shots and can admit their children no matter what. Their numbers are not tracked.

The amendment was killed mostly on a party line vote with republicans voting NO (supporting the amendment) and Democrats voting yes (To kill the amendment) with the exceptions listed below.

Amendment #1
Motion to table

Voting YES to table: we lost McDaniel, Overbey
Voting NO to table: we picked up Fincher, West

Bibb was excused.
Favors, Buck, McCord were Present but did Not Vote


The bill on the homeless passed without the "illegal amendment" that was supported by Dr.Hensley. I guess it is more important to protect the illegals from detection then it is to protect the children from disease.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Win the battle loose the war

The more I think of how the tobacco tax bill went the more I think we lost.

It comes out or it does not, that is all that matters. The bill came out of the committee. It will be changed back to its original form in the next committee. The votes were there to kill it originally when the committee started but after it was amended some who may have been on the fence or signed a no new taxes proposal were given an out.

The 20 cent or 40 cent increase is important also because in the next committee if it starts at 20 cents the committee can put on another 20 cent tax "For the schools" and they did not vote to increase the taxes on food. If the bill was 40 cents when it comes in to the committee then to put another 20 cents on "for the schools" they have to first cut the tax break for food (in political terms, a tax increase on food). I think a 20/20 deal may be pushed as the "compromise plan" the ability to dedicate the money and separate the education budget could also be bargaining chips.

The senate will have a big say if that is how it goes and could be considered a litmus test for some to see if they are willing to stand up to the Governor and a tax increase when we have a huge surplus.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why we could not pass illegal alien reform for years

Does it get any better then the former LT Governor admitting on the full senate floor that he can't vote on a illegal immigration reform (SB 1870) because he has used illegals for years and infers that he will continue.

"I need to declare Rule 13, I couldn't run my cotton gin without Mexican help and I've done it for a long time."

(seen on streaming video at 1:05:40 during the 4/09 Senate Floor session)

I can't see how, but I continue to be amazed. This will probably be bigger then the nose dinner on youtube.

Hat Tip Kleinhitler

Something updated

I did not catch it as it was going on but when Neifeh was pushing for a vote when no one knew what was going on Rep. Eric Swafford who made the original motion to call for the question was waving his hand wildly and saying he removes his motion(stopping the vote from taking place). Neifeh and Borchrt would not recognize him to remove his motion.

Well. Something passed.

They passed a tobacco bill but I don't think anyone knows for sure what passed. J M Windle did an oral amendment to make the tax 20 cents and have it all come off food and make it revenue neutral but the amendment was drawn up at 40 cents. Rep. Borchert kept trying to force the vote. Wendell was getting mad saying what was drawn up was not what he wanted. People were forced to vote before anyone knew what they were voting on. Some people liked it as an oral amended by Windle but didn't want to vote for what was drawn up. No one was sure what version they were voting on, oral or what was drawn up. Calls for point of order and parliamentary inquiry to get clarification were ignored. Borchert and Naifeh kept yelling to force the vote. Some who wanted to vote for the oral version voted against the bill because they did not want to vote for something that wasn't wanted. Something passed but no one is sure what was passed. What a mess.

"Its for the children!!"

Well the tax increase that is "dedicated to go to the children" is dedicated all right but not to the children. An amendment brought and passed by rep. Bone dedicates $21 million dollars to go to the winery association and hay storage. I wonder who has a winery in their dist.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The 219 million dollar rumor

The new rumor is that the new rep taking now Senator Marreros place is going to be placed on the agriculture committee to push through the tobacco tax increase. The committee will grow by one and the speaker will also come in and vote (No Marrero was not on the agriculture committee when she was in the house). We will see. The soon to be sworn in reps name is Wilder.

Tax and government

Susan Lynn has a good post on education first and tax increases you can check it out here

Word on the hill

Word on the hill is that Phil now has the votes to get his tax increase out of the agriculture committee and is no longer willing to negotiate on cutting the tax on food. We will see. Some people say the agriculture committee may roll the bill a few weeks to see the new revenue projections. Word is that could reach up to $600 million.

The committee will probably pass the tobacco bans in the morning.

The Fred factor down the ticket

As I have said in the past I am not currently endorsing Fred Thompson in a race he has not entered. I want a candidate who publicly wants to be and will actively seek the presidency. If Fred gets in, then great, we will cross that bridge then. If he does not get in then we have made who ever the party nominee is look like the girl who got asked second to the big dance.

There are other candidates or potential candidates who may have redeeming qualities that will end up being over looked because of all of the Fred fervor and may end up brushed aside because they did not build any mo until it was too late. Some Tennesseans may feel we did not get the one we wanted so why does it matter.

Fred has also teased us in the past and left us hanging on a potential runs for office. He has a reputation (earned or not) of not running hard or coasting to an easy victory over soft competition. Questions are out there of "Does Fred have the fire in the belly to run a long hard race and if he wins will he be able to take the grind of the job?"

Just because the Mo' is with him now does not make it enough to put him over the top. The last time I saw this type of call for someone to run was for a little known tycoon from Texas, his name ......Ross Perot. We all know how that turned out.


That is the downside.

The upside is huge.

Fred is a winner. Lots of people want to win but don't know how. Fred does. He knows how to win and has the ability to turn it on when needed. He is politically savvy, people like him and he has a presence, almost an instant repour with people. I have seen this with other candidates at the top level before. If you have it, it is priceless. If you don't, all the money and talking points in the world won't help you.

Talking points are another solid for Fred. Fred is a conservative with good credentials only matched by a few non front runners. He has huge face ID because of the TV show "law and order" as well as other movies he has been in (The TV/Movie rout has worked out pretty well in the past for Republicans) He can probably pull some of the Hollywood crowd and money in a quick run. He has a party system in place (Unlike Ross), a majority of people in the party are open to another choice and mo' is with him.

If he runs and momentum sticks with him it could quickly turn into a race for second place.

I said in the last election that it was "a perfect storm for Democrats" Nothing at the top of the ticket pumped up the base. The federal races were a mess. In Tennessee, Republicans turned out and voted but not much else. The base did not get involved and help build ticket loyalty. We at the state level were still able to stick with the same number of house seats, but it was not because of any help from the top of the ticket. That could quickly change.

If Fred is the party nominee it could easily push republican numbers in the Tennessee state house up over 50. If the opposition is a polarizing NY liberal Hillary Rodham Clinton It could be one of the biggest beatdowns in state history. The numbers will carry down the ticket as they tend to do and I could see even bigger gains.

This could be the perfect storm for Republicans. Motivated republican candidates or potential candidates who want a good shot at getting into politics and changing some seats down the ticket should start sniffing around. Experience, party connections and big money are not a necessity (some times the less you have the better). If any one is interested I can privately send you to people who you may want to talk to. Comments on potentially running for office will not be posted on this post.

Fred blogs at red blog

Fred Thompson has started to blog over at Red state. You can check it out here

Friday, April 06, 2007

Questions on the pimp test

I had a few questions on the pimp test bill that you may have read about. My question was, in the bill it says that "the victim" will be notified of the results of the aids test. My question was who is the victim of the pimp? The prostitutes? The Johns? The Johns wife or girlfriend?, society?
Who gets notified and who does not? How is that determined and how are they notified?

I never got a straight answer.

Call in Shows

I will be a guest on Lee and Terry Franks radio call in show on AM 850 today (some time between 3 and 6) and will be on Steve Halls Politics Knoxville tonight at 8:30 on Comcast Ch. 12 . Both are call in so feel free to call with questions and comments. I think the numbers are (865)675-8255 for Lee and Terry and (865)215-2288 for Steve Hall.

TCPR takes heat for global warming

The TCPR has caught a lot of flack from the far left after exposing Al Gores hypocrisy. I feel your pain. I took some heat on the blogs, a ton of stuff came in the mail and I got calls from all over for calling Al A hypocrite. I can't imagine what the TCPR went through for exposing it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Jones on Jones

I think post this says all you need to know.

Wrap list

If you want to be added to the wrap list you have to send me your e mail address. Several asked to be added but left that part out.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Points of view from Farr and away

A.C. Kleinhitler has a good wrap and input on some of the comments made by Terry Frank about Regan Farrs comments on the porn not corn tax swap. I couldn't have said it any better myself.

Blogger day on the hill wrap up

I was asked by several legislators and one congressman to get E mail addresses of any bloggers who might want to be put on a legislative wrap list. These lists have info the legislator wants to highlight and news for the session. It is a lot of times inside info you do not see on the MSM.

If you would like to be added to the lists for these people you can post your E mail address as a comment and I will get it to the appropriate people. Your address will not appear as a comment unless you ask for it to be. If you want to be on one list or the other please say so as well.

Abortion bill debate

Well it was supposed to be a debate but they could not find any one credible to debate the topic so it has turned into a presentation and discussion at Business and aerospace building on the MTSU campus tonight at 8PM. Doors are open to all.

Porn goes national

The porn not corn tax swap bill went national today. The AP put out a story and I guess the USA today picked up on it and did a small story on the bill. Later radio stations across the US started to talk about it. I got calls at my office from as far away as LA California who said they heard it on the radio. I wonder what will happen if it passes.

"Incredibly fiscally irresponsible"

This Knox News sentinel story had the quote that seems to be the catch all saying for the administration any time someone talks about any plan to remove the tax on food. Even if it is revenue neutral and can't lose money.

Of course starting and expanding programs when most economists think we are heading toward a recession is sound policy.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

LADY VOLS WIN!!!

Congratulations to Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols on their 7th national title. Three more to match "the wizard of Westwood" John Wooden. With Parker coming back next year #8 could be only 12 months away.

Did you see the movie 300?

Because if you did you would know how the legislators felt walking into the Vanderbilt gym for the other basketball game tonight. The legislators and staff versus the interns.

I was the third legislator to show and there were about 40 or 50 interns already there. By game time we had 7 legislators or staff and were looking at about 70 interns. During warm ups it looked scary. The interns were all business, shooting layups, outside shots and were all over the rim like pros. The legislators.......Not so much.

Then a funny thing happened. The game started.

I don't want to say it was ugly......O.K. I will, it was ugly. John Tidwell was dropping bombs and crashing the boards like he was playing all by himself. Bill Dunn was stealing the ball like he played for the other team. Mike Bell played like the energizer bunny and the rest of us just went out and had fun. We called off the dogs in the second half (really about half way through the first) and started to do our Harlem globetrotters impressions. We still about doubled it up. I guess the interns were more interested in making signs then making shots.

Better luck next year;-)

Porn moves

The porn not corn tax bill came out of the first sub committee but was given a negative recommendation. The sub committee was made up of three people Joe Haynes(D), Douglas Henry(D) and Diane Black(R). The negative vote was given by Haynes and Henry. Diane Black was for the bill.

Reagan Farr the governors commissioner of revenue spoke against the bill. He made a few incorrect statements on what the bill did, said he thought it would be tough to implement and was against the bill. Later, after the committee I had a chance to talk with him on it and he admitted he had not read the bills amendments but no matter what was done to the bill the administration was probably going to be against it. Still I asked him to tell me the administrations major objections and he said he would. More later.............

Porn in motion

The "porn not corn" tax swap bill is up this morning in the senate. I will be giving details on the bill in committee. More later......

Hill Bill

Matthew Hill has a very interesting bill moving forward and creating some waves. The Tennessean has a good story about it.