Tuesday, May 3, 2016

SUMMARY : One More Kick Of A Dead Horse

During the month of March, I first introduced (click here) and then updated (click here) my readers about the fantasy sports regulatory bill the Tennessee Legislature was working on. I was, and still am, adamantly opposed to the legislation, because there are much more important things than fantasy sports that the legislature needs to be working on. Unfortunately, today I must report that the bill overwhelmingly passed both the Tennessee State House, hereafter known simply as "House", and State Senate, hereafter known simply as "Senate", and was signed into law by Governor Haslam.

State Seal of Tennessee.
State Seal of Tennessee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, there is more to be told. The Sheepdog has now reviewed the floor votes of both chambers of the Tennessee Legislature as well as the votes taken in the committees and subcommittees during HB 2105 / SB 2109's journey to becoming law (see votes here). Today, I'm revealing who did what with their vote. Before I do, I want to encourage any Tennessean reading this who may not know who their state representative and / or state senator is to click here, and then enter your address and click search to find out who represents you. Then, as you read through the rest of this article, look for your legislators to see how they voted.

I'll start with the House Committees and Subcommittees. Let me say first, though, that the way the House records votes in the committees is .... "interesting". It's not transparent. Only the "NO" or "Present Not Voting" (PNV) votes are listed on the legislature's website for each bill. It appears that the committee member must request to be recorded as voting "NO" or PNV to actually get it on the record. The appearance is that the House is hiding something. Whatever is going on, the following members of the House who voted against HB 2105 in committee or subcommittee are :
  • David Alexander (R) - voted "NO" in House Finance Ways and Means Committee and "NO" in House Finance Ways and Means SubCommittee. He also voted "NO" on House Floor.
  • Mike Carter (R) - voted "NO" in House Finance Ways and Means Committee
  • David Hawk (R) - voted "NO" in House Fiance Ways and Means Committee. He also voted "NO" on House floor.
  • Bill Dunn (R) - "Present Not Voting" ** in House Finance Ways and Means Committee. He voted "NO" on House floor.
  • John Ragan (R) - Voted "NO" in Government Operations Committee, but then voted "Yes" on House floor. Why did he change his vote?
  • Kevin Dunlap (D) - voted "NO" in Business and Utilities Committee. He also voted "NO" on House floor.
These 6 gentlemen were the only 6 members of the house bold enough to attempt to stop the bill in a committee or subcommittee before it made it to the house floor to waste the house's time. Sad isn't it?

When we look at the committee and subcommittee votes in the senate, it gets worse - NOT ONE MEMBER of the state senate voted "NO" in committee. Not one. The bill passed unanimously in every committee hearing. Every. Single. One. Pathetic. Every member of every Tennessee Senate Committee was basically derelict in their duty on this bill.

** - "Present Not Voting" votes are essentially "No" votes, because each bill must receive a majority of "yes" votes to advance to the next committee in line, or to the floor of the House or Senate. So, if there's 8 members on a committee, and the bill gets 4 yes, 3 no's, and 1 present not voting, then it fails. It would've needed at least 5 yes votes to advance.

Let's move on to the House and Senate Floor votes. Here, I will list ONLY the "yes" votes. These are the ones who supported this legislation. I will list the Senate floor votes first and beside them I will list any recorded "yes" votes in Committee or Subcommittee.

Tennessee Senate Chamber
Tennessee Senate Chamber (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Senate Floor "YES" Votes ****
  • Paul Bailey (R) - also in Senate Government Operations Committee
  • Janice Bowling (R) - also in Senate Government Operations Committee
  • Richard Briggs (R)
  • Rusty Crowe (R) - also in Senate Government Operations Committee
  • Steven Dickerson (R) - also in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee
  • Todd Gardenshire (R) - also in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee
  • Mark Green (R)
  • Dolores Gresham (R) - also in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee
  • Ferrelle Haile  (R) - also in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee
  • Thelma Harper (D) - also in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee
  • Lee Harris (D) - also in Senate Government Operations Committee
  • Ed Jackson (R) - also in Senate Government Operations Committee
  • Jack Johnson - (R) also in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee
  • Brian Kelsey (R)
  • Bill Ketron (R) - also in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee
  • Sara Kyle (D)
  • Becky Duncan Massey (R)
  • Randy McNally (R) - also in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee
  • Frank Nicely (R)
  • Mark Norris (R) - also in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee
  • Doug Overbey (R) - also in Senate Finance Ways, and Means Committee
  • Liet. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R)
  • John Stevens (R) - also in Senate Finance Ways, and Means Committee
  • Bo Watson (R) - also in Senate Finance Ways, and Means Committee AND Senate Commerce and Labor Committee
  • Jim Tracy (R) - also in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee
  • Ken Yager - (R) - also in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee
  • Jeff Yarbro (D)
  • Mae Beavers (R) ++ - also in Senate Government Operations Committee - no surprise here. To read about Beavers support for other "nanny state" bills, please click here and then scroll down to the "The Ugly" section.
  • Mike Bell - (R) - also in Senate Government Operations Committee
  • Kerry Roberts (R) - also in Senate Government Operations Committee
  • Steve Southerland (R) - also in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee
  • Reginald Tate (D) - also in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee
**** - Absent from list but voting "yes" in favor of the bill in the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee is Joey Hensley (R).

++ - Beavers actually voted for the bill 2 out of 3 times she had the opportunity. As mentioned above, she voted "yes" in the Senate Government Operations Committee and then "yes" during the first Senate floor vote. However, after the House added an amendment placing an additional 6% tax on the fantasy sports companies, she voted "no" when the amended version of the bill came back to the Senate floor. Why did she change her vote? Afterall, the only change to the bill was the new, additional tax. Did she not approve of the tax? Did she think it was too much?  

Since the version of the bill she supported during the 1st Senate floor vote would levy various fees and taxes on the fantasy sports companies, and she has other pro-tax votes on her resume (read here), could it be that she didn't think 6% was high enough?

House Floor "Yes" Votes
  • Raumesh Akbari (D)
  • Joe Armstrong (D)
  • Harry Brooks (R)
  • Kevin Brooks (R)
  • Kent Calfee (R)
  • Karen Camper (D)
  • Dale Carr (R)
  • Glen Casada (R)
  • John Ray Clemmons (D)
  • Jim Coley (R)
  • Barbara Cooper  (D)
  • Martin Daniel (R)
  • Barry Doss (R)
  • Jeremy Durham (R)
  • Jimmy Eldridge (R)
  • Jeremy Faison (R)
  • Andrew Farmer (R)
  • Craig Fitzhugh (D)
  • John Fogerty (R)
  • Tilman Goins (R)
  • Marc Gravitt (R)
  • Curtis Halford (R)
  • G.A. Hardaway (D)
  • Patsy Hazlewood (R)
  • Gary Hicks (R)
  • Matthew Hill (R)
  • Timothy Hill (R)
  • John B. Holsclaw, Jr. (R)
  • Dan Howell (R)
  • Jamie Jenkins (R)
  • Curtis Johnson (R)
  • Sherry Jones (D)
  • Kelly Keisling (R)
  • Sabi Kumar (R)
  • Ron Lollar (R)
  • Harold M. Love, Jr. (D)
  • Pat Marsh (R)
  • Gerald McCormick (R)
  • Steve McDaniel (R)
  • Larry Miller (D)
  • Bo Mitchell (D)
  • Antonio Parkinson (D)
  • Joe Pitts (D)
  • Jason Powell (D)
  • Jay Reedy (R)
  • Courtney Rogers (R)
  • Bill Sanderson (R)
  • Charles Sargent (R)
  • Cameron Sexton (R)
  • Jerry Sexton (R)
  • Johnny Shaw (D)
  • David Shepard (D)
  • Mike Stewart (D)
  • Art Swann (R)
  • Bryan Terry (R)
  • Curry Todd (R)
  • Joe Towns, Jr. (D)
  • Ron Travis (R)
  • Johnnie Turner (D)
  • James (Micah) Van Huss (D)
  • Terri Lynn Weaver (D)
  • Dawn White (D)
  • Mark White (D)
  • Ryan Williams (D)
  • Tim Wirgau (D)
  • Speaker Beth Harwell (D)
I must thank Wilson Co.'s (TN) two State Representatives, Susan Lynn (west Wilson Co.) and Mark Pody (east Wilson Co.), for voting "NO" during the House floor vote on the bill.

Summary

Combined, the Tennessee House and Senate is made up of 132 individuals. During the fantasy sports regulatory bill's journey to becoming law, each of Tennessee's lawmakers had an opportunity to vote on it. After reviewing the votes from the House and Senate floor and the various committees, I found that only about 12% or 1 out of every 8 of them ever voiced their opposition to the bill. Another way of looking at it is that about 88%, or 7 out of every 8, of Tennessee's lawmakers either voiced their approval of the bill or didn't voice their opposition during floor or committee votes.

Since 2016 is an election year, here's some things to think about in regards to the fantasy sports bill:
  1. The next time you drive I-40 between Nashville and Knoxville and your teeth about get jarred outta your head due to hitting a moon-sized crater of a pothole, just remember that 88% of Tennessee's lawmakers thought it was more important to regulate and tax fantasy football than to provide additional funding for TDOT to keep the roads maintained.
  2. The next time you drop your child off at school and notice how rundown and in need of repair it is, remember that 88% of Tennessee's lawmakers thought it was more important to regulate and tax fantasy football than it was to provide funding to fix your child's school.
  3. Hey gunowners - remember back about 6 years ago when Haslam was running for governor and said he'd support and sign constitutional carry into law if it reached his desk as governor? Guess what? It ain't happened yet. So, the next time you have to renew your carry permit a.k.a. ask permission to carry a gun to defend yourself and your family and pay the associated fee a.k.a. tax, just remember that 88% of Tennessee lawmakers thought it was more important to regulate and tax fantasy football than it was to pass constitutional carry.
  4. If you've been laid off and can't find work, because businesses aren't hiring due to too much government regulation and interference, and you're having to make ends meet on your unemployment benefits, remember that 88% of Tennessee lawmakers thought it was more important to regulate and tax fantasy football instead of helping businesses create jobs.
  5. The next time you want to take an evening stroll in your neighborhood but don't because it's not safe, remember that 88% of Tennessee's lawmakers thought it was more important to regulate and tax fantasy football than it was to provide local communities more funding so they could put more cops on the street.
I could go on all day with more and more examples of what Tennessee's lawmakers should have been doing this legislative session instead of wasting their time, which is actually our time, worrying about fantasy football. However, I think my point is now clearly evident.

Here's one last thing to remember - EVERY member of the Tennessee House of Representatives and much of the Senate is up for re-election this year. Therefore, we have an opportunity to remove many of these "88 percenters" and replace them with people who will do the REAL work that Tennesseans need done.

So, if your Representative or Senator is up for re-election in 2016, and his or her name appears above as having cast a "yes" vote on this nanny state legislation, then they were 1 of the 88% that think regulating and taxing fantasy football and other fantasy sports this year was more important than many other things that affect Tennesseans everyday.

Now, I'm done kicking the dead horse, so, it's YOUR turn to act - go vote the sorry "YES" bums out during the August primaries and then during the general election in November.

Dang. My foot hurts.