The Legislature Is In Full Swing

Talks are off with Gov. Bill Haslam and the Tennessee State Employees Association. LINK

The Tennessee State Employees Association says it has ended discussions with Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration about legislation that would eliminate most civil service protections for state workers.

Robert O’Connell, the group’s executive director, said Tuesday in prepared statements that several weeks of discussions have ended because the “governor’s people were unwilling to remove or compromise on the provisions most harmful to state employees.”


Sean Braisted writes that state legislators need to learn the fine craft of Google-Fu and study up on who they are hiring for legal expertise. LINK
Has the Tennessee legislature not learned about Google? Well, if so, they probably won’t be reading this blog post, but just in case, might I recommend that the Republicans exercise their rights to use Google’s free services when deciding who to bring as “expert” legal testimony?
Case in point, Van Irion. He served as Rep. Bill Dunn’s legal expert in the House Judiciary Subcommittee as they sought to pass HB2619, which makes it a crime to enforce laws that Republicans don’t like. Basically, Van Irion argued that the bill to criminalize the enforcement of laws without first gaining the permission of a local sheriff is not “nullification,” and even it if was, its necessary in order to challenge federal laws in court. 
It will be interesting to see what other small town newspapers have to say about the case of Sen. Mae Beavers and the Macon County Times. LINK

“Co-plaintiff Mae Beavers delivered said cashier’s check to Defendant Belle for the specific purpose of investing in the venture and to make payment of the May 21, 2010 installment [payment] due to Main Street Media for purchase of the Macon County Chronicle,” the filing says.

It also alleges that Lou Ann Zelnick, a Republican who made a failed 2010 GOP 6th Congressional District primary bid, “invested” $36,000 in the newspaper venture as well.

Former Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mount Juliet, recently contended in a posting on her Facebook page that the loan or investment came around the time the newspaper began attacking her in her bitter, 2010 GOP Senate primary battle with Beavers.

I remember this not working out so well for formerSen. Don McCleary. The problem for Rep. Eddie Bass is the GOP isn’t really that keen on welcoming him into their flock either. LINK

Democratic state Rep. Eddie Bass may be considering a party switch before the candidate filing deadline in April, but Republicans don’t appear overly eager to have him

Bass told The Associated Press on Monday evening that he hasn’t made up his mind about which party to affiliate with in seeking a fourth term.

“We just have to wait and see how things go on qualifying day, I guess,” he said,

I have worked in news a long time and this bill on secrecy is very, very troubling. The public needs to know where there taxes are going and what they are funding. LINK

The Haslam administration’s bill ran into trouble Monday night in the Senate when Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, questioned the administration’s effort to shut off to the public information the state would now seek, raising the specter of potential corruption.

The list of information that would be sought and kept off limits includes “business processes, organizational structure and ownership, financial statements, budgets, cash flow reports or similar materials.”

Herron said “the idea that we’re going to make the records secret where you cannot find, anytime in the future, who the owners were that somebody gave taxpayer dollars to is breathtaking.”

“Quite frankly it seems to me irresponsible,” Herron said. “The temptation for corruption is too great.”

Rep. Steve Cohen and the Postmark Payment Act could save people money just with a postmark on a letter. LINK


“We do not think a company’s success or profitability should be tied to the U.S. Postal Service,” a spokeswoman for the American Financial Services Assn. said Tuesday.

But Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the bill’s chief sponsor, sees a greater need for the bill now as the Postal Service considers cuts to mail service.

“Each month, thousands of Americans are charged late fees and penalties for bills they believed in good faith they had paid on time, through no fault of their own,” he said in a statement.


Quick Hits

  • Early voting begins today. LINK
  • Sen. Tim Barnes is headed to Washington to meet with the First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta about his military spouses bill. LINK
  • Heather Mummert from Huntingdon wants to know where the jobs are and what the heck are her state representative Andy Holt andRep. Stephen Fincher are doing about it. LINK
  • Another west Tennessee blogger from Martin says that teachers need our help right now. LINK
  • What is Occupy Nashville going to do now that for all practical purposes they are being evicted by legislation that will be voted on tomorrow morning? Cara Kumara says their plans are uncertain. LINK

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