Recent legislation in Tennessee provides a vivid example. ALEC created and provided members its model Virtual Public Schools Act. Two large for-profit corporate providers of virtual education, Connections Academy and K-12 Inc., had heavy involvement with the model bill’s creation. Mickey Revenaugh, a lobbyist for Connections Academy, was the corporate chair of ALEC’s Education Task Force and Lisa Gillis, with K-12 Inc., chaired its special needs education subcommittee that created the bill. Tennessee’s State Rep. Harry Brooks and State Sen. Dolores Gresham, both ALEC Education Task Force members, introduced the bill to their respective houses nearly verbatim, even using the same title. For example, the following passage forms the preamble of the adopted statute. Underlined portions were taken directly from ALEC’s model.
And it has begun. LINK
The political ad wars are coming to Tennessee, courtesy of the big money groups that are dumping millions of dollars into the GOP presidential race.
Restore Our Future, a group backing Mitt Romney‘s campaign, has bought nearly $1 million worth of radio and TV airtime for an ad blasting GOP rival Rick Santorum as “the ultimate Washington insider.” The 30-second spot began running statewide last Tuesday and will continue airing right up to Election Day on March 6.
The ad marks the first spending in Tennessee by so-called “super PACs,” the new breed of political action committees that can raise – and spend – unlimited amounts of money to influence presidential and congressional races.
A little over a year into Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration, it may be time to break out the Windex.
Those windows meant to allow sunlight onto how state officials handle your affairs have become clouded and dingy.
Yes, even though the governor on his first day in office in January 2011 stated that “the rule should be, the more you can be in the open, the better,” in numerous ways the administration is moving to reduce transparency in state government.
It isn’t that Tennesseans were not warned. On the same day as the governor made that statement, he signed an executive order eliminating requirements for him and top aides to disclose how much they earn in outside income.
Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, who said he originally expected to vote for the bill, argued against the bill, saying its language is too broad and subject to on-the-spot interpretation. It might cause a law-abiding citizen – like, for example, a hunter in a duck blind warming up some food to eat on public lands – to unintentionally commit a crime, he said.
Other critics voiced disapproval of the bill on grounds that it restricts the fundamental right to assemble for peaceful protest.
“If it were not for protest in this country, we would not have had a civil rights movement, we would not have had people have the opportunity to gain the rights that should have always been afforded to them, the Vietnam War might still be going on if it weren’t for a certain number of protesters,” said Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis.
It took about three minutes to deftly destroy the latest effort to impose term limits on state legislators. The maneuver, accomplished with bipartisan collaboration, assures that no term limits can be put in place for another decade or so and that there’s really no record of anyone being against the idea.
- Is the Nashville Chamber of Commerce chasing its own tail when it comes to state legislation. LINK
- We Are Stewards Of Tennessee’s Children. I write about recent poverty figures in this state where numbers have grown 100 percent in the past 10 years. LINK
- Cheatham County has three anti-bullying resolutions introduced to their local Board of Education. LINK
- Roane Views has a terrifying picture and a story that will make you wonder what is going on with our water in east Tennessee. LINK
- Jack McElroy on lessons in censorship. LINK