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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shouldn't that read 3 killed?

The paper hates to show support for the unborn. Here is another example. In this tragic case a good Samaritan and mother were killed by a hit and run driver.

Not so fast.

It wasnt just those two killed. The mother was pregnant. As you may recall we passed the Laci Peterson act last year. That says a person killing a pregnant (At any stage) mother is actually guilty of killing 2 people. The mother and the unborn baby. So in this case the mother, the Samaritan and the unborn baby were all killed. 3 people. Not just the 2 mentioned in the headline.

Question of the day

Seeing as the US house is thinking about banning gender based abortions. Are Democrats supporting a "War on woman" if they vote for an abortion doctor to kill the baby for you if it is a female?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The pending zombie Apocalypse

My friends who are big into guns and survivalist stuff always like to kid about how "You'll be begging for my help when the zombie Apocalypse hits and they are chasing you down the street!" Its sort of a running joke between us. Well after seeing this I think the sales of back up ammo and MREs just jumped in Knox county 20%

Its not the "Aye"s it the Bees.

There seems to bee a real buzz around one hobby for politicos. Shooting? fitness? Motor cycles? Yes, they have their supporters but there is one that I never really saw until I started looking into it myself. Bee hives. No, I do not mean the hair doo. Bee hives and bee keeping. You know the little things that buzz around and produce honey.

Recently I have been looking into getting a hive started of my own. For what reason I am not really sure seeing as I don't eat a lot of honey. Possibly it has something to do with all the fruit trees I planted in my yard a few years ago. I hear bees really help them produce. I don't know. I just think they are interesting and having a hive or two might be fun.

Anyway, after asking around I quickly found out I am not alone in my interest in bees. Other politicos seem to be big on bee keeping as well. First I was told I should call Knox County commissioner Richard Briggs. Then I found Rep. Bill Dunn and his family have been doing it for years. Then I learned Rep. Jeremy Fazon was into keeping bees also. Then I heard tell Rep. Josh Evans has a few hives. Sunday I was watching Hallerin Hilton Hills show "Anything is possible" and learned Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero also has a few hives. Tonight I was on facebook and saw a pic of Rep Tony Shipley smoking some bees. Bee keeping is huge among politicos. Who'da thunk it.

Beelieve it or not, I also found out there is a state regulator for beekeeping. Darn government is in everything!

I keep hearing about all these caucuses (women's, rural, Latino, black, Republican, Democrat, Wrestling) I think I may have to start the Bee caucus. Our office could be called the hive and all of our ideas would be sweet.

Can you win for losing?

Yes, we all know its going to be bad for Democrats in the next election. Obama at the top of the ticket, No credible candidate running for the US senate, Not much hope in any of the the US house races, Redistricting that is fair, big disparities in the campaign coffers between the two parties, overwhelming support for the Republican agenda with solid popular results, Better Republican candidates and nothing for Dems to run on.

But give Democrat party chair Chip forester credit. He is thinking of how to claim wins for losing. In announcing the Democrats non plan, plan he is claiming...

"the party's present strength in the Legislature could be reduced to as few as 24 seats in the House (versus 34 now) and eight in the Senate (versus 14 now). That's "the line" of solidly Democratic seats after retirements, redistricting and such."

While I would love to see it, even I think that is a little grandiose. In the senate, Most Republicans expect to pick up 4 seats this election cycle. 5 would be nice. 6? Well, lets say I wouldn't bet the farm. In the house, 6 new Republican seats would be acceptable. 8 would be nice. 10? Well, it would take a total collapse by the Democrats in Tennessee.

Not to say it cant happen but I think it will take 2 to 4 more years to get there. I think after this election the Republican numbers will be so big (Even with moderate gains) that the fundraising ability will continue to grow for Republicans. The older Democrats will realize they are relegated to total insignificance and a change back to the "bad old days" is not in the cards. A few more Dems will decide to retire. Republicans will really zero in on the few Democrats left in winnable districts and we will wipe them out. Then we will hit those kinds of numbers. Possibly even a few more.

I guess Chip is trying to think about election night as Republican wins roll in and several democrats roll out. I guess he will try to claim a "victory" for not getting as crushed as he predicted but I wouldn't call it much of a victory. More like a stay of execution.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Newspapers no longer public notice

In a case that could be landmark the 6th circuit court has ruled that newspapers are no longer good enough as public circulation notice for meetings and affairs of state.

As loyal readers of mine know this has been an issue with me in that many times cities, counties and the state spend tons of money putting notices in the local papers for what has shown to be a terrible return on investment.

Now, even the courts agree.

Quote of the day

"The Ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy... Cowardice asks the question – Is it safe? Expedience asks the question – Is it Politic? Vanity asks the question – Is it popular? But Conscience asks the question – Is it right? And there comes a time when a man must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is RIGHT!”


Who moves to Tennessee?

It seems like it is a bunch of the liberal states that are having large numbers of their constituents fleeing and moving to Tennessee.

California, Florida , Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Ohio all seemed to be big movers into our fair state.

HAT TIP: Denny Phillips

Wasted time, money and effort.

Remedial classes in college have proven to not be effective costing students time, money and effort that has little result.

The group says the classes are largely failing the nation’s higher education system at a time when student-loan debt has become a presidential campaign issue. Meanwhile, lawmakers in at least two states have pushed through changes and numerous institutions are redesigning the courses.

“Simply putting (students) in three levels of remedial math is really taking their money and time with no hope of success,” said Stan Jones, president of Complete College America....

...The Complete College America report says research shows half or more of remedial students would be better off being placed in required classes and having the schools build in extra help, such as tutors or more frequent class meetings.

I tried to move legislation similar to that a few years ago when the Dems were in power. It died. Possibly the time to make the move has finally come.

Really? Run on it!!

Democrats are planning their fall attack strategy. Their plan seems to be "We aren't as conservative as they are" on a host of issues.

No, really? that's a great plan. They should run on that.

Lets see. They mentioned my classroom protection act as one they hate. OK print the banners. "Democrats want to teach 6 year old about homosexuality in schools!!" That should win you a few seats.

They hate the idea of limiting the possibility of an income tax. OK, print the banners. "Democrats want to be able to push for an income tax!!" A few more like that and they will be back in the majority.

Democrats, Seriously, I love the new plan. Keep it up!!

Dems to push in state tuition for illegals in Tenn

The city paper has an article on the push to give illegal aliens in state tuition in Tennessee.

I am pretty sure the SAVE program we passed this last year would make it a little more difficult as to receive benefits (such as in state tuition rates) you have to provide actual proof of citizenship or legal status.

Even still, Democrats such as Eric Stewart want to look into trying to make changes so illegals can receive in state tuition rates. It still boggles my mind that someone would give an in state rate to someone not even in the country legally but will NOT give that same rate to someone in the country legally (such as someone from Kentucky).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Quote of the day

"The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living
are outnumbered by those who vote for a living."

Dems push felon

Longing for more of the "Good old days" Democrats are pushing convicted Tennessee Waltz felon Ward Crutchfield for a comeback. Will they ever learn?

What it means to...

The words "I want to work on education" has different meanings to different people.

Campaign advisers think....That doesn't mean anything. We can win on it!!

Political opponents think....He wants a tax increase!!

Parents think....Our kids will get smarter!!

School bureaucrats think....I can hire my friends!!

Teachers think....I will get a raise!!

Conservatives think....They want to allow privatization!!

Builders think....They want to build more schools!!

Kids think.....I will get a free I Pad!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Allways willing to help our schools

I usually stay out of local political issues (except as a regular citizen) unless their are issues regarding the state intermingled in the issue. As the push for a local tax increase is bandied about to fulfill the desires from the school superintendent (Jim McIntyre). The county mayor (Tim Burchett) mentioned possible changes to the BEP to get the funding above the 13 million additional the mayor had already added to the schools budget.

I was asked by WATE channel 6 about the state getting more money for our schools.

I mentioned how the Knox county delegation had a sit down meeting with the school superintendent and the school board to talk about issues important to them and to chart a path moving forward.

While the issue of not allowing the people to decide if they want to vote for their schools superintendent was keyed upon, specific changes to the BEP were not mentioned.

I mentioned that the state had a large surplus of funds in the form of lottery surplus funds. The lottery pays for the prizes and scholarships, but after that one of the things they can spend funds on is school infrastructure. Things like computer Internet servers or routers for wireless service may be considered one of those infrastructure products that may be purchased. I told McIntyre I was willing to work with him and put forward legislation to see if some of that money could be drawn down for local schools. When the local school board delegation came to Nashville no specific changes on that issue was mentioned. Nor have I heard from them on adjusting it since the meeting.

The BEP state school funding formula was adjusted by Jammie Woodson a few years ago. When the local school board delegation came to Nashville no specific possible changes to that formula were mentioned. Nor have I heard from them on adjusting it since the meeting.

There is also a law on "maintenance of effort" that requires local communities to continue funding schools at the same or higher levels then the previous year. An adjustment in the law could actually help get more money to schools in that some counties might have a bump of funding in their budget and want to give it to the schools but because of the "Maintenance of effort" law the local community may not want to give the money to the schools in that they would be held to a higher standard forever after. Adjusting the law to allow an exemption in some form or for some time frame could bring more money to our local schools. When the local school board delegation came to Nashville no specific possible changes on that issue were mentioned. Nor have I heard from them on adjusting it since the meeting.

There are alternatives to a local tax increase that could get more money to the schools. As far as the state or local delegation is concerned, no specific changes have ever been brought forward to us that I know of. As I said at the meeting, I still stand ready to work with superintendent McIntyre on these issue if they are wanting to make a change.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My mom would bail her out.

The next issue.

Food stamp fraud and abuse is an issue I have been looking at to see if there is anything that can be done at the state level to fix the problems. Many times you see people selling their food stamp cards, buying junk food or even fine steak and lobster with their EBT cards. It burns people (and me) up.

If I had a dollar for every call I received that said something along the lines of "The person in front of me in the checkout bought a (wedding cake, shrimp, lobster, dry ice, prime rib, other junk food) And then pulled out an EBT card and paid for it with my money! I can't afford to buy those things for myself and I work!" or "As I was walking into the supermarket someone walked up to me and offered me $150.00 worth of food on their EBT if I gave them $75.00 in cash" I would be rich.

Mostly the fed ties the hands of the states. This is similar to trying to get drug testing for unemployment benefits. The fed allows the states to administer the program but the rules and regulations on it are such that we cant do anything to actually improve or fix problems with the program. I am still researching to see if there is a way around the federal regulations on this one. I will keep you updated.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

O in the know

David Oatney did a pretty good job on the "ghost voting" issue here and makes a spirited argument as to why its really not as bad as some people would think in limited situations.

While on the other hand there are some people that abuse the system by showing up for only a vote or two then taking off the rest of the day or not showing up at all and still collecting per diem when their seatmate makes all the judgements and votes for them.

With all the traction this story has gotten I am surprised the story on school board members getting to vote over the Internet didn't get more notice.

Pro life group goes to pro abortion event

Got to love Fletcher Armstrong. When Planned Parenthood has a public event to raise money for abortion he goes and sets up a display right next to them to show the cost and outcomes of the abortion.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Does FCA have a "Death mobile"?

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes has decided to take on Vandy regarding their new religious discrimination rules. And they are hitting them where it hurts the most. In the wallet.

As Vandy starts to turn the corner on athletics the administration finds a way to throw up a barrier to success.

Vanderbilt’s all-comers policy which requires student organizations to allow any member of the student body to join the group and run for leadership, has faced heavy criticism from Christian groups on campus. They say the policy discriminates against religious groups by allowing nonbelievers to run for leadership positions.

Vandy QB Rodgers, was representing the campus chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he made a short speech more than two hours into a meeting on the subject. When Rodgers wasn't afforded a response to a statement, roughly 20 students exited the meeting in a huff.

Does anyone besides me hearken back a similar walk out during a little movie called "Animal house"

Warning: Harsh language.

While I question if the Vandy FCA has a "Death mobile" I hear there has been a sudden run on marbles. There is also a a growing push back where it will hurt Vandy the most. In the wallet.

How is the aggressiveness against religious groups working out for vandy?

The April issue of Commodore Nation magazine, distributed to supporters of Vanderbilt athletics, features a cover story titled “The Rising Cost of Success.” The issue is replete with renderings and fundraising pitches.

Vice Chancellor of University Affairs and Athletics David Williams readily admits that Vanderbilt is far behind in the arms race that is SEC athletics.

In a Q&A with Williams, the magazine asks how another million dollars in annual donations would affect the athletic budget.

“To be truthful, we are so behind our competitors here that while a $1 million would help, we actually need much more!” Williams responds in the article.

According to the magazine, Vanderbilt has the second-largest athletic endowment in the SEC with $45 million. But annual giving is dead last, with only $2.9 million.

And the magazine quotes several “big ticket items” that require an “urgency to identify major gifts”: a new Jumbotron, lights and turf for Vanderbilt Stadium, new turf for Hawkins Field, a new Jumbotron for Memorial Gym and renovations to the McGugin Center, which houses athletic operations. The total need is around $35 million, the magazine said.

Vanderbilt is also in the process of fundraising for a new multipurpose facility that will include a full-length practice field for football. Williams said the school is between $4 million and $6 million away from raising enough to cover the facility, which will include an expansion to the Student Recreation Center.

But when the Vanderbilt Board of Trust met on campus in April, a group called Restore Religious Freedom at Vanderbilt ran roughly 40 attack ads on local cable channels, urging donors to stop contributing to the university. The message: “Not another dime until Vanderbilt respects religious freedom.”

Williams said he, personally, hasn’t witnessed any athletic fundraising blowback from the all-comers discussion.

“I’m not saying that there may not be people who are out there, but we haven’t encountered anybody who has made [all-comers] an issue at all,” Williams said.

At least one donor says that’s just not true.

The City Paper spoke with a longtime supporter, who asked to remain anonymous, who said his family was prepared to make a six-figure donation toward the new multipurpose facility — if Vanderbilt made an exception for religious groups in the nondiscrimination policy. The donor said he met with Franklin and Williams outside of Nashville.

“We expressed ... that we would like to be able to give, we believe in what Coach Franklin’s doing, but we just can’t do that knowing what we know about what’s happening to the religious groups there,” he said.

Similarly, longtime Commodore Club member Tom Singleton has been outspoken about his disdain for the Vanderbilt policy and the school’s enforcement of it. He appears in a video, along with Brentwood’s vice mayor (and a VU alum) Rod Freeman, that denounces the policy’s nondiscrimination mandate for leadership positions.

“The reason this is so objectionable to me is that they are [opening up leadership positions in Christian groups] for non-Christians. But they are allowing fraternities and sororities to discriminate based on gender,” Singleton said. “I can’t, in good conscience, continue to be associated with them.”

Singleton said he didn’t renew his football and basketball season tickets — and that he was cutting all ties with the school.

UPDATE: Link to City paper story quoted added.

Feedom delayed is freedom lost

In an attempt to stifle free speech, dozens of Tennessee colleges have decided people may have free speech rights on campus......Five days after they give the universities notice of what they want to speak on. I am not so sure that will fly. Often, current events do not allow a 5 day window for notice. What if it was exposed on Monday that a tuition increase was suddenly to be put up for a vote on Thursday? Would protest be forbidden? Even if the 5 days was given and a person decided to speak, What if a speaker strayed from the topic mentioned in the notice? Would the not be able to cover it? What if the topic was high taxes and they branched off into high tuition costs? Would campus security slap the cuffs on them? Or how about the speaker gave notice they wanted to talk about the second amendment and then started to say how it was important to the first? Would it be fines and jail time?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Is Tennessee not TEA party enough?

Some think the TEA party is pushing too hard in Tennessee. Others, not hard enough.

In 2010, Republicans wooed the tea party movement, promising them lower taxes and constitutionally limited government — where real power would devolve to the states and the federal government would be restricted to areas like national defense.

In return, tea party activists helped Republicans expand majorities in red states like Tennessee and take the U.S. House of Representatives and 20 state legislative chambers around the country.

These Republican majorities have pushed voter identification and anti-abortion bills, or followed Wisconsin's lead in curtailing public sector workers' collective bargaining rights....

....Their own attempts to pass bills have been less successful, even for groups that have embraced the legislative process. One such group lobbied hard for a Health Care Compact bill, written by the Health Care Compact Alliance and embraced by many tea party activists. Last fall the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council termed it "model" legislation.

Approved in six states so far, the compact is touted nationally as a conservative alternative to President Barack Obama's health reform. Individual U.S. states would control healthcare spending, though many tea party groups oppose any government control of healthcare. To work, the compact needs U.S. congressional approval.

Michael Barnhart of the Health Care Compact Alliance says without grassroots conservative support, the bill generally does not fare well.

Despite more than a year of intense tea party lobbying, the compact failed in Tennessee because many Republican state representatives present simply did not vote on it. Although a majority of votes cast were in favor, it fell short of a required absolute majority in the House.

Higher ed footdragging on transfrerability

We passed legislation encouraging higher ed to speed up the process of making college credits more transferable between state schools. Higher ed is not really a fan of the idea.

Latest reports show inadequate progress. Justin Wilson tells them to get on the ball.

However, through the end of last year, transfer pathways had been created to accommodate only 23 majors.

The report recommends that transfer pathways be created for all available college majors, or else the Tennessee General Assembly may want to consider exempting some particularly challenging majors from the provisions of the law. The report also suggests that colleges and universities should place more emphasis on publicizing the available transfer pathways on their web sites.

The new law also requires funding for colleges and universities to be based on a formula that includes factors such as the number of students who graduate, as opposed to the number of students who enroll.

The report suggests that the Tennessee Higher Education Commission needs to provide more detail about what types of data higher education institutions need to submit in order to take advantage of the funding formula. Also, the report says those institutions should take additional steps to verify that the data they provide is accurate.

The law calls for the elimination of unnecessary redundancies in academic program offerings. The report recommends that the Tennessee Higher Education Commission be vigilant in ensuring redundancies are eliminated. If unneeded programs are not eliminated, the report says the General Assembly may wish to transfer authority for eliminating those programs from the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

"I am pleased that progress has been made, but this report clearly illustrates that there is more work to be done," Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. "I hope the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee Board of Trustees will continue their efforts to implement these recommendations in order to make sure the law is put into practice in the manner in which our state legislators intended it to be."

Governor wants to spend more on failing program

Yes, The governor has said he would like to spend more on the states pre K program.

Bill Dunn lets fly....

The Bredesen administration projected that about 60 percent of children would attend pre-K if the program was open to all, at an increased annual cost of about $150 million. Haslam during the governor's race said his estimate would be closer to $300 million.

Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville and a longtime opponent of expanding pre-K funding, said he expects the actual costs would be closer to $500 million.

"If you make it where every 4-year-old who wants to go can go, it would be voluntary, but 90 percent would send their kids," he said. "You would say, 'I'll pay for daycare or private pre-K, or I can let the taxpayers pay for it.'"

Dunn said he had planned to speak with the governor this summer about why the state shouldn't spend more money on pre-K. "I might have to move that meeting up," he said.

Dunn cites a state comptroller's study that found children who attended pre-K did worse in subsequent years than those who did not. Pre-K supporters dismiss that analysis as flawed and point to other studies that tout the educational benefits of early childhood education.

"I know the governor likes to deal with reality," Dunn said. "Especially when he sees the disappointing returns on our investment in pre-K."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What is an election?

The supreme court has said election means whatever you want it to so selection of judges by a panel of lawyers means election.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "“If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? Four. Calling a tail a leg does not make it so."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thought of the day

"If you don't suffer through some tough times now and again, before too long you are caught sippin lattes wearing capri pants."

On the other hand

Brian Kelsey responds with why he thinks his constitutional amendment is not going to run into issues.

Senate Joint Resolution 710 sets forth the method of selecting judges of the Supreme Court and of any intermediate appellate court. As of today, intermediate appellate courts include only the Court of Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Under this resolution, the Governor has full discretion to appoint judges of the Supreme Court and of any intermediate appellate court. The words “by and at the discretion of the governor” are included to clarify that the Legislature cannot create a nominating commission or bind the governor’s appointment power in any way. The governor may, at his discretion, create a nominating commission to assist him in his appointments, but the Legislature may not. The current Judicial Nominating Commission codified in Tennessee Code Annotated Title 17, Chapter 4, Part 1 will be rendered unconstitutional as applied to judges of the Supreme Court and intermediate appellate courts if this resolution becomes part of the constitution.

After a judge is appointed, he must be confirmed by the Legislature before taking office. Confirmation may occur either by an affirmative act of the Legislature or by default. To affirmatively confirm an appointee, the House and Senate must both adopt a joint resolution of confirmation by a constitutional majority vote in each chamber. Confirmation or rejection may not occur by a joint vote like the ones referenced in Article III, Section 17 and Article VII, Section 3. Confirmation by default occurs if both the House and Senate fail to reject an appointee within sixty calendar days of either the date of appointment, if the appointment is made during the annual legislative session, or the convening date of the next annual legislative session, if the appointment is made out of session. The governor may convene a special session of the Legislature to affirmatively confirm a judicial appointee, but a special session will not affect the running of the sixty-day time limit on confirmation by default.

Affirmative rejection of a judicial appointee must pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives by a constitutional majority vote in each chamber within the 60-day time limit. Rejection of a judicial appointee will be controlled by rules of the Senate and House of Representatives and perhaps also by statute. Such rules or statutes may or may not set forth a process as follows. Rejection may occur through the passage of a joint resolution of rejection by a constitutional majority vote in each chamber, if such votes occur prior to the running of the sixty-day time limit. Rejection may also occur by a constitutional majority vote in each chamber against adoption of a proposed joint resolution of confirmation, if such votes occur prior to the running of the sixty-day time limit.

If a judge is confirmed to fill a vacancy, the judge shall take office immediately upon confirmation. If a judge is confirmed for a full term, the judge shall take office September 1, as set forth in Article VII, Section 5, or immediately upon confirmation if such confirmation occurs after September 1.

The word, "thereafter" is included prior to the mention of a retention election by the qualified voters of the state to show that there is a time lag between confirmation and retention election. Judges appointed and confirmed to a full term shall not be subject to retention election until the end of the eight-year term. No reappointment or reconfirmation is necessary at the end of the term. There are no term limits on judges of the Supreme Court or of intermediate appellate courts. Such judges may run for reelection multiple times.

In the case of a judge appointed and confirmed to fill a vacancy, after the judge has been appointed and confirmed, the retention election occurs at the next biennial August election recurring more than thirty days after the vacancy occurs, in accordance with Article VII, Section 5 of the constitution. If such biennial August election is not the election at the end of the term, then such judge shall also stand for another retention election at the end of the term, if the judge seeks to serve a full eight-year term. All references to "appointment" in Article VII, Section 5, when read in conjunction with the new language of Article VI, Section 3, shall be read to mean "appointment and confirmation" as applied to judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court.

The method of retention election may be set by statute. A retention election may be in the manner of the current "retain/replace" ballot question or the previous "yes/no" ballot question, but a retention election shall not be a contested election with multiple candidates on the ballot. The Legislature may set out in statute notification requirements for running for retention election such as those that exist in statute today. For example, the statute may require a judge seeking another term by retention election on the August ballot to provide notice of such intention by January. Such notice requirements would allow the governor and the Legislature time to appoint and confirm a new judge prior to the beginning of the term beginning September 1, if the incumbent judge did not seek election for another term.

If a judge loses a retention election, he may not continue to serve in office beginning the first day of September next succeeding his election. The governor may not appoint and the Legislature may not confirm the same judge for the same judicial office unless another judge has served in the office in the interim. Instead, a new judge shall be appointed and confirmed for a full term in accordance with this resolution.

The final of the three new sentences being added to the constitution mirrors the current second sentence that is being deleted. The word "rules" in the current constitution is replaced with "provisions" to clarify that the legislative power set forth in the sentence may be exercised either by rule or by statute. Deleting "the provisions of" shortens the sentence without losing meaning. The sentence expands legislative power from carrying out Article VI, Section 2 to carrying out Article VI, Sections 2 and 3. Such legislative rules or statutes, however, must be made merely to carry out the sections and may not conflict with the sections. For example, the creation of a nominating commission or the ability to bind gubernatorial appointment in any way does not fall within the legislative authorization to carry out Sections 2 and 3 of Article VI. The words "is authorized" replace the current "shall have power" to imply such limitation and to shorten the sentence.

The final two sentences currently in Article VI, Section 3 remain in the constitution under this resolution. They continue to control the age requirement, residency requirement, and term length of Judges of the Supreme Court. The age requirement, residency requirement, and term length for judges of the Court of Appeals, the Court of Criminal Appeals, and any other intermediate appellate court created by the Legislature is left to statute under this resolution.

Constitutional can't

As many people know, Senator Brian Kelsey brought a resolution (SJR710) to change the constitution and allow for the appointment of judges (similar to the federal system).

Personally I have long supported an election system but that is an argument for another day.

Anyway, the Kelsey constitutional amendment can't pass. Is it because of my personal preference? No. It wouldn't work even if I did support it.

For the policy wonks out there here is the details on the why not.

The issue begins with the caption: which is limited to amending Article VI Section 3. It needed to amend Article VI Sections 3 & 4 and Article VII Section 5.

The SJR710 resolution, as amended, says:

AMEND Senate Joint Resolution No. 710* by deleting the first resolving clause in its entirety and by substituting instead the following:
REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that a majority of all the members of each house
concurring, as shown by the yeas and nays entered on their journals, that it is proposed:
That Article VI, Section 3, of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by
deleting the first and second sentences and by substituting instead the following:
Judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court
shall be appointed for a full term or to fill a vacancy by and at the
discretion of the governor; shall be confirmed by the Legislature; and
thereafter, shall be elected in a retention election by the qualified voters of
the state. Confirmation by default occurs if the Legislature fails to reject
an appointee within sixty calendar days of either the date of appointment,
if made during the annual legislative session, or the convening date of the
next annual legislative session, if made out of session. The Legislature is
authorized to prescribe such provisions as may be necessary to carry out
sections two and three of this article.

CURRENT: Article VI Section 4 says:

Section 4. The Judges of the Circuit and Chancery Courts, and of other Inferior Courts, shall be elected by the qualified voters of the district or circuit to which they are to be assigned.

These two provision regarding "intermediate appellate courts" and "other inferior courts" are contrary to each other regarding a district or a statewide assignment.
In the Kelsey Resolution, Court of Appeals Judges can all theoretically be elected from one county.

Then in the last sentence of Article VII Section 5

No special election shall be held to fill a vacancy in the office of judge or district attorney, but at the time herein fixed for the biennial election of civil officers, and such vacancy shall be filled at the next biennial election recurring more than thirty days after the vacancy occurs.

The words "judge or" would need to be struck in order for it to comply with the resolution.

The Kelsey SJR 0710, amending the Constitution for appellate judicial selection, is placing in direct conflict, two different sections of the Constitution by failing to caption and amend the provision broadly enough to accomplish his goal at the Court of Appeals' level. Statewide vs District.

This is a disaster and, as the only Republican Senator having voted against it, I figured I should be the one to bring the bad news. Now, because of timing and the rules for changing the constitution, the constitution can not be changed for 6 more years at best and even then, it would not have any real practical effect until 2022 when the next term for judges comes up.

Of course we can still follow the constitution and allow for the election of judges. That can be changed by fixing the definition of election to what it has always meant. Not by changing the constitution.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The tease

Up for tomorrow, Why the Kelsey constitutional amendment on appointment of judges will fail to pass the legislature next year...

Club them like a baby harp seal

It's not social issues that win elections. Its not social issues that win elections. Its not social issues that win elections.

OK we have heard the mantra of the moderates enough. Now lets look at what is going on in the real world.

President Barack Obama's endorsement of gay marriage has put a new wrinkle in the Democrats' battle to retain control of the Senate, with many of the party's candidates in conservative states keeping their distance from the president on the hot-button issue.

Sen. Jon Tester in Montana, Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri and former Gov. Tim Kaine in Virginia have declined to support same-sex marriage, even as Mr. Obama's backing has galvanized the party's liberal wing and activist ranks.

Even senators facing less-competitive races—Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bill Nelson of Florida—have sought distance

Huh. Well what about that? It's not the economy that "moderate" Democrats in swing states are running away from Obama on. Its the social issues. What is it that these professional politicians know that Republicans seem to be oblivious to? Usually when your opponent is on the run you chase them down or double the buy. If you have a club that is working, you keep beating them with it until it breaks then you pick up another and beat them some more. Not moderate Republicans. They just continue to let them off the hook thinking that only one issue will have any effect. The economy.

Elections are not always single issue affairs. We can talk about other things and still win. In fact we might win more. To liberals credit, their 3% have done a good job of screaming so much on social issues that most Republicans wont go there even when they are on the right and winning side.

In swing states though Republicans are missing a golden opportunity. In 5 months the economy will still be there but now its time to swing away with the club at hand.

Movin on up

Tennessee has improved in science education scores over last year. We are now ranked 32. It's a start.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The man who could lead Democrats out of the wasteland

There is one man who could lead Democrats out of the wasteland in Tennessee. That man is Rep. John Deberry.

Hat tip: Fletchers blog

Sunday, May 13, 2012

As long as I dont get them at the same time

I seem to have won two superlative awards for the year. the first was from the subscription only Tennessee Journal. It was...

The Stacey Cup. The inaugural presentation of this award goes to the senator for whom it is named, Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville), for making sure those on government relief get to relieve themselves — in a cup.

The other was from Tom Humphrey it was the....

Against the Wind Award: Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, who cast the sole no vote against Gov. Bill Haslam's legislation authorizing direct cash grants to companies expanding their business in Tennessee, describing the move as "crony capitalism."

While awards are nice I am not sure if I want to remember 2012 as the year I had people relieving themselves against the wind.

To my mom....

Friday, May 11, 2012

The "get a clue" bill.

Guess what? if a parent is involved in a child's education and stresses the need for education to the child, the child does better in school, is more likely to graduate high school and attend college. This year we passed a bill allowing parents to grade themselves on how they are doing in 2 schools. I honestly think self evaluations are close to worthless but I hope it is a step to getting some parental involvement in their child's life.

Hopefully in a few years we can start putting some teeth behind legislation like this by doing things like tying actual parental evaluations to receiving government benefits.

The big change for employers

Probably the biggest change we did all year for employers of Tennessee was fix the rules for unemployment compensation. This was key legislation for Ron Ramsey and something he heard about over and over again on his red tape tour. I too had had several complaints on this issue and was glad to see it passed. This one really slipped under the radar of most media types but will pay big dividends for good employers.

If you are interested in reading the trio of bills the changes they can be found here.



And they would have if

The governor wants Vandy to end their discrimination against religious groups.

Oddly, Vandy was founded because the organizers wanted the religious freedom now banned by the new policy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Road trip!!

As you can imagine the left is all up in arms about North Carolina and their constitutional amendment to keep the definition of marriage the same as it has always been. Liberals are promising a boycott of travel to the state.

That should be fun because the Democrat national convention is in Charlotte, N.C., in September.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

I am for it!

One way the media often distorts an issue is simply in the way it is phrased. The use of "positive" words versus "negative" words. It is always seen as a positive thing to be "for" or to "Allow" something rather then being "against" or to "ban" it. Being "For" an issue is seen as progressive and positive. Being "Against" something is seen as negative and regressive. A perfect example is going on right now with the gay marriage question.

Did you catch that? I bet I just got a lot of you.

You see, that is not right. That is not the question at all. That is a false issue.

The issue is not gay marriage at all. It really is the traditional marriage question. You see, traditional marriage was around first. North Carolina just voted to enshrined that traditional language. They took a positive step to do something. To define what has always been recognized. I doubt there is one sentence in the constitutional amendment that says how they "banned" anything. To ban something they had to be doing it in the first place. Homosexual marriage was never recognised by the state.

What the anti traditional marriage people want to do is to change that definition. To make it into something different then it has ever been. They are against the classic definition. The next time you hear a MSM reporter talking on this issue though, listen for yourself and see if they say North Carolina just voted to "protect" marriage, if Mitt Romney is "for" traditional marriage and Obama is "against" traditional marriage or instead, if they will all say North Carolina just "banned" Gay marriage, Obama is "for" gay marriage and Mitt Romney is "against" gay marriage.

Watch out. It is a psychological game and even conservatives get sucked into this trap of negative speak.

On electing judges

"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress & the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."

Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Pre K vs. Vouchers

An excellent article about the different results between funding Pre K (Head start) and funding voucher programs can be found here. One has shown incredible results for children. One is shown to be a failure. Obama funds one and hates the other. Just take a guess who gets the money.

It's so bad we are in the top 5

Yes, the social issues have really held us back as a business friendly state. It in fact is so bad that Tennessee has been ranked in the top 5 (Number 4) as the most business friendly states in the nation for the second year in a row. Gee, what else changed two years ago? If I could only put my finger on it....Any way, here is a quote from one spurned employer chased away by our radical conservative outlook.

“Recently moved from New York state to Tennessee,” an unnamed CEO is quoted as saying. “Differences in ambience/climate/cost of living/attitude of government towards business are outstanding!”

Boy, with a review like that we better not say anything else. More employers might come here. Possibly we should follow the lead of California with it's least friendly business climate in the nation and its socially liberal values. Then Jon Stewart wouldn't make fun of us. Because that is clearly what really matters to employers.

Drug testing poll

"Action" Andy Sher reports on the ACLU and their attack on my drug testing for government benefits bill. There is also an on line poll. Feel free to drop one in for "YES".

The window to the future

California has often been the window to the future for legislation of the left. Most of it bad.

Seriously. Do we need to go there?

A book detailing an oral sex encounter is no longer required group reading in 2 school districts in the state of Tennessee.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Its optional.

The governor has decided to veto the religious freedom bill that allows equal protection for religious groups as is allowed to fraternities and sororities at an university that receives in excess of 20 million in state dollars. It covered state schools and Vandy (as they get over 20 million dollars from the state) but it was an optional law. No one had to follow it unless they wanted the money.

The governor still vetoed it.

His reason? He did not want the legislature involved in "private business". In my eyes it was optional.

On the other hand, the governor will not veto the bill limiting charter schools from hiring (in most cases) any legal immigrants. Something to me that flies in the face of nondiscrimination on the basis of nation of origin (title VI). A part of the bill of rights.

The governor agrees it has major constitutional issues but his reason for no veto so far? Its optional.

To me if you are going to veto something it should be the one that has serious constitutional questions not the one that allows religious freedom. But that's just my advice. Taking it is optional.

Teaching foreplay is not education

Planned Parenthood has started an e mail blitz trying to stop the new sex education law for schools from going into effect. Why? Well they were one of the providers of that "education" and as you might imagine it was way beyond the type of education you would want for your child. The new bill still talks about the causes of pregnancy and disease but what is being cut out is all the other talk and detail groups like "Planned Parenthood" and "Nashville cares" went into. It was more or less foreplay coaching.

It was ridiculous to think we should give classes on "Foreplay" and somehow think kids would just magically stop after that. The Planned parenthood mass E mail was laughable in that it closed with how we need to give children the "skills they need to act out good decisions." As if kids having sex is a good decision to act out.

It is funny how sex ed was the only area of health where we did not advocate abstinence as the goal. It was always along the lines of "Well they are going to do it so lets show them the best ways how".

By that logic we should show kids the proper way to roll cigarettes or shoot heroine or mix Bacardi with coke. We could hand out fresh needles, drink mixers and Camels with the filter because those are all better for you then the other alternatives. I mean some kids are going to smoke, drink and do drugs any way so we would be helping the ones that do it to know the best ways how. We could have a class, call it drug use 101. What do you think?

Friday, May 04, 2012

He should have gone to the club

UT swim coach John Trembley was fired for what was found to be using drugs and using his computer for on line sex and for "Filthy fantasies". While the drug use is inexcusable for a coach I wonder about the "Filthy fantasies" issue. Who decides what filthy is? I wonder if UT asked the UT gay and lesbian club (that the university staffs, funds, gives its own separate private office and gives awards to) what "filthy" is? I am sure they talk about things that a lot of people consider "filthy" and I doubt it ends at talk. Anyone getting fired for that?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Other states look to classroom protection act

The classroom protection act is starting to gain the momentum I had hoped it would for a long time. This last session it moved out of committees in both houses passing in the senate. Now it looks like other states are starting to see this as a reasonable thing and follow suit. Missouri has just started the process of bill passage. Of course Steven Colbert takes some shots at it but hey, its starting to go national. It's all good.

The highlight reel

Here is my highlight reel/ top 10 for the year in no particular order.

1. This one is a gimme. Passing drug testing for people on government benefits was one of the top things I have wanted to do since joining the legislature. We finally did it.

2. Redistricted in a fair and legal way.

3. Spending and taxes. Cut about $50 million in tax cuts including cuts to the sales tax on food, killed the gift tax and increased the deduction on the inheritance tax. $50 million more in the rainy day fund.

4. The TEAM act changed the way govt employees are hired and fired to a more competency based system instead of a seniority based one.

5. Unemployment reform making sure unemployed people are actually looking for jobs and are willing to take jobs when offered. We also made cuts for unemployed because of seasonal work or because someone was fired for cause. This one was a huge change for employers and slipped under the radar.

6. Life issues. We passed the Lacy Peterson act that will take the life of the murdered unborn back to conception in some cases, we also said abortion doctors have to have ties to a local hospital in case of complications.

7. Passed the SAVE act stopping non citizens from receiving non emergency state services.

8. Education. Pushed higher ed to standardize transferability of credits between state colleges, private colleges and in some cases high school AP courses. We also made it so people with life experience in a particular field, or history as a college professor in good standing, could become a high school teacher.

9. Courts. Reformed the board of judicial conduct.

10. Drugs. Put in place a tracking method for people who doctor shop across state lines or use multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions for illegal drugs from one injury.

Ch 6 on drug testing bill

OK, then do it all.

The governor has said he will veto the Vandy bill because he does not think the state should be involved in private business. I would be great with that if he will change his tune on the tens of millions the state gives to that private business every year or the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars he plans on giving out this year to other private business.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

4000th sine die

What a coincidence. My 4000th blog post is to sine die (close out the session) for the year. We are out of here. This year I can say something I often don't get to say. The old saying is "No mans wallet is safe as long as the legislature is in session." Well this year not only can we say "Your wallet is safe" but we can also add in "And it's a little thicker as well"

National review calls out Vandy

The national review has called out Vandy on not only their discrimination against religious groups but also for their forcing nurses to do abortions against the conscientious objector laws.

Drug testing bill passes

My drug testing bill to test people previous to receiving government benefits has passed the house and is headed to the governor for signature.

Vandy bill passes

The freedom of religion bill has passed the house. So much for "empty right wing pandering that isn't going anywhere". Vandy will still have a right to have the discrimination rule if they want. They just have to follow it in all regards or they can give up state money. Its up to them. Democrats think it will be vetoed. I doubt it. If any bill gets vetoed my money is on the limiting of charter schools as to who their employees can be. I say that will get vetoed after we sine die. That way we can't over ride the veto.