Subcommittee Time And Sunshine Week


National political scrutiny and huge activism crowds may have hurt a controversial bill. Lawmakers are backing up and it’s moved back to the end of the calendar. LINK


Tennessee lawmakers backed away from controversial legislation that would have further restricted discussions about homosexuality before high school, presumably ending the two-year battle over how much schoolchildren should be told.

The sponsors of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill agreed Tuesday to put off debating the measure until the end of the legislative session – a procedural move that usually signals they do not intend to pursue it. Backers said they would instead shift their focus to an abstinence education measure that is favored by social conservatives.



The coal fight in Tennessee with a bit of history from Rikki Hall. LINK


To understand the coal industry, you must understand a bit of history. Part of that history goes back millions of years to the time when the Mississippi River Basin was an inland sea bordered by vast swamps. Those swamp beds compacted and petrified into layers of coal, some thick, some thin. As the North American plate lifted above sea level, much of this coal eroded away.
In Tennessee, coal seams tend to be thin, often too thin to be practically nor economically worth extracting. Only 22 of Tennessee’s 95 counties have coal deposits, and only six counties have active mines. Most coal production in the state happens in Claiborne and Campbell counties. Coal played an important role in the history of Chattanooga and Sequatchie Valley, fueling iron production, but no active mines remain in that region. Seams were just a couple feet thick, so miners had to dig in a prone position. Work was slow and dangerous, and mines were abandoned as soon as it was feasible to bring in coal by rail. 
Presently, Tennessee accounts for just 
, and virtually all Tennessee coal is consumed out of state.
Let the sunshine in, as it is Sunshine Week about keeping government in the daylight. LINK


Do you want to know what kind of deal your state is making to attract new businesses? Proposed legislation in Tennessee would keep the identity of the business owners secret until after the state commits to tax breaks and incentives.

Want to know how courts are handling lawsuits? Judges too often seal all records and make the outcomes secret, according to the Judicial

Would you like to know how responsive 911 operators are in dealing with emergencies? There have been efforts nationwide to make 911recordings secret, including a California bill inspired by a call for aid for actress Demi Moore. An LA Times columnist pointed out that the recording showed jurisdictional confusion, a delayed response and a “churlish” response by a 911 operator.



Horse Sausage bill? No, it’s out there. (Tom Humphrey’s headline, not mine.) Only Rep. Johnny Shaw said no in subcommittee.  LINK


Legislation to encourage horse slaughterhouses in Tennessee won approval of a House committee Tuesday, five months after Congress lifted what amounted to a national ban on processing the animals for food.

As introduced by Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden,HB3619 simply called on the state commissioner of agriculture to keep statistics on horses on a website.

As amended before approval by the House Agricuture Committee, it instead erects a legal hurdle for lawsuits against horse slaughterhouses and inserts into law a declaration that “the General Assembly intends to encourage the location of equine slaughter and processing facilities in Tennessee that meet all sanitary, safety and humane slaughter requirements.”

Under the proposed new law, anyone filing a lawsuit to challenge issuance of a permit for horse slaughter would have to post a surety bond equal to 20 percent of the estimated cost of building the facility or, if it is already open, to its operational costs.  

Quick Hits

  • A good road map on a mission statement for democrats and progressives everywhere. LINK
  • I am assuming this is in tongue-in-cheek from Gov. Bill Haslam. Or maybe not as it is Peyton Manning fever in the United States right now. LINK
  • Steve Ross talks about how democratic leadership fought recently about local control of government vs. legislation that wants state control. He has the video. LINK
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars in mailings. LINK
  • Ten years of a 100 percent tax break for Volkswagon. Roane Views has the story and the link. LINK

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