The House and Senate have released the new maps and it’s pretty much what everyone expected with a few new curves. Tom Humphrey has a round-up of the physical maps here for you to see for wherever you may live in Tennessee with stories about what has happened to the House and to the Senate.
For political internet junkies, social media was buzzing about which democrats were safe, and which were not in the next election cycle
Here are some of the reactions from around the state. Because the district lines have changed drastically in some areas across the state, we will look today at those elected officials most effected by yesterday’s news. As for congressional districts, according to WPLN, House speaker Beth Harwell is quoted as saying those will be released sometime this week.
Two of the more progressive house representatives have been put in the same district in Nashville. Jeff Woods talks to both of them. The House Speaker defended that she was trying to create a fight for two well-liked democrats. LINK
House Speaker Beth Harwell denies trying to gerrymander liberal Nashville Democrats Sherry Jones and Mike Stewart out of public office. Meeting with reporters after the unveiling of the GOP House redistricting plan this morning, Harwell said Republicans had no choice but to throw Stewart and Jones into the same district.
In Memphis, Sen. Jim Kyle has been moved into incumbent GOP Sen. Brian Kelsey’s district which means the two will have to run against each other this year. Meanwhile, Rep. Jeanne Richardson will face Rep. Antonio Parkinson while veteran legislators Rep. GA Hardaway has been put in the same district as Rep. Barbara Cooper. LINK
Republicans and Democrats in the House expected the Shelby County delegation would lose two Democratic seats.
Collierville Republican Curry Todd was the coordinator for the Shelby County part of the proposal.
Sen. Andy Berke’s seat in Chattanooga was highly redrawn and he is looking at all options. Andy Sher with the story. LINK
The plan is expected to be acted on in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and could become law by the end of next week.
It reflects the first GOP-crafted redistricting plan in Tennessee history. State Senate, state House and congressional districts are redrawn every 10 years to reflect shifting population according to the latest U.S. census.
Berke is already said to be exploring running for Chattanooga mayor and Republicans believe the plan will give him a firm nudge, although Berke has said he thinks he can win the redrawn district.
Betsy Phillips puts things in perspective at Tiny Cat Pants. (Saucy Language Alert). LINK
So, do the new districts suck for Democrats? Yes. But what is the solution that respects our form of government? The voters put Republicans in charge. If you’re not seeing proof they’re splitting up voting communities-like splitting black neighborhoods to keep them from having black representatives-then it’s just our tough luck that they’re changing districts.
In other news around the state:
The Jackson Sun’s editorial board says to beware of a new bill coming up when session reconvenes next week.LINK
With the second session of Tennessee’s 107th General Assembly set to convene Jan. 10, people already are beginning to consider legislation. A likely proposal we would urge caution on would require drug testing of people who get government assistance or workers’ compensation benefits.
Don’t interpret our reluctance to be acceptance of illegal drug use by people who receive government benefits, or anyone else. Illegal drug use is against the law, and it should be dealt with accordingly by law enforcement.
Rather, our concerns center around the unintended consequences of such a proposal. A similar bill was introduced last year and failed to pass, in part, because it carried a $12 million fiscal review price tag. But cost is only one of the potential pitfalls such a measure could encounter.
The Tennessee Anti-Bullying Law changes have made the national media, this one from the Huffington Post.LINK
Less than one month after a local gay teen took his own life after allegedly being tormented at his high school, a proposed change in a Tennessee lawcould protect students who engage in anti-gay bullying if they do so for religious reasons.
As local news channel WSMV is reporting, the proposed law change by state lawmakers would allow students to speak out against homosexuality without punishment if that’s what their religious beliefs call for. The bill is reportedly a top priority for the conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee – as the Chattanooga Times Free Press notes, the group’s December newsletter says it hopes “to make sure [the law] protects the religious liberty and free speech rights of students who want to express their views on homosexuality.”
- Sen. Lowe Finney’s statement on redistricting released yesterday. Sen. Finney’s district changed significantly in west Tennessee. LINK
- Sen. Bob Corker has a website targeting him over some of his recent votes called OperationCorkscrew. LINK
- Tennessee Talking Points asks why the TNDP is looking to extend the Chair’s position to four years instead of two.LINK
- Sean Braisted, who serves on the Executive Committee responds to TTP about the discussion that will take place this weekend about the proposed extenstion. (Both blogs make lively and intelligent observations on the issue.) LINK