Friday, March 25, 2011

Tennessee's Big "Gubmint" Republicans

The 2010 elections featured big wins by Tennessee Republicans. They re-took the governorship, gained more seats in the state legislature, and installed the first ever female Speaker of the House with Beth Harwell (pictured right.) It all happened because Tennesseans, like many Americans, were sick and tired of the Democrats failed economic policies. One of Speaker Harwell's first orders of business was to establish a litmus test for bills coming before the legislature this session. She said (see, January 11, 2011, Republicans Take State House Control, Install Speaker Harwell) that for each bill lawmakers should consider :
Does it (the bill) increase the size of government or not ? Second, does it make it easier to start a business and operate it in Tennessee or not ? And finally, does it keep us moving forward in reforming our educational system to best meet the needs of the next generation or not ?
Speaker Harwell's litmus test led me to believe she was sending a message that if a bill didn't pass these tests, then the sponsor shouldn't even bother bringing it up this session. However, this post will show that there are a number of bills currently before the Tennessee Legislature that don't meet any of these tests. In fact, many of them actually increase the size of government and decrease the freedom of Tennesseans. Below I list some of these bills and their sponsors and tell what they do. You will be surprised at what you see.
  • SB 257 / HB 1822 - Liet. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Rep. Jon Lundberg - DNA and Genetic Testing - Bill would require a DNA sample be taken from all persons arrested on a felony charge - not after you're convicted, but when arrested. The DNA would be entered into a database to be maintained by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). It changes existing law which requires a DNA sample from anyone arrested for a "violent" felony and makes it applicable to all felonies. It would require the TBI to destroy the sample if the charges are dismissed or if the accused is acquitted. This bill stinks of unconstitutionality under both the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and the 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Personally, I don't trust the "gubmint" to destroy the sample after an acquittal or dismissal of charges as required. I suspect that after your DNA goes into that database, it will stay forever. Then, whenever a crime is committed, the first thing law enforcement will do is look for DNA at the scene and then check the database for a match. No more thorough police investigations, and Lord help you if your DNA shows up at the scene and if you're in the database. That'll be the end of the investigation and you're on the hook for the crime whether you're guilty or not. The good thing is that the bill has not gotten anywhere in the legislature and Liet. Gov. Ramsey has taken a lot of heat for the bill. In fact, he's gotten so much heat that in a recent interview he said he may drop the bill because "... it's not worth the hassle." Please notice he didn't say because it's unconstitutional. He said because of the hassle. I guess he would have went full steam ahead if he hadn't been called on it. The scary thing is Ramsey was the preferred pick of many conservatives and Tea Partiers for Tennessee governor. I guess now we know his true nature. Thank God he didn't win the governorship.
  • HB 910 / SB 785 - Rep. Jon Lundberg and Sen. Bill Ketron - Criminal Offense - The bill is known as "The Animal Fighting Enforcement Act" and it increases the penalties for animal fighting. Maybe they should have named it "The Michael Vick Act." What I'd like to know is how does this help with jobs or education ?
  • HB 1112 / SB 1568 - Rep. Frank Niceley and Sen. Bill Ketron - Agriculture - The bill is known as the "White-tailed Deer Breeding and Farming Act." And yes, you read that right. The state of Tennessee wants to regulate deer. Why ? So, they can charge the "deer farmers" fees for such regulating. I promise I'm not making this up. Once again, how does this create jobs ? Oh yeah, that's right. It'll create "gubmint" jobs because they'll have to hire "deer regulators." Thus, it will increase the size of government. Doesn't that mean it fails one of Speaker Harwell's tests ? 
  • HB 427 / SB 418 - Rep. Dale Ford and Sen. Rusty Crowe - Administrative Procedure - The bill would require a state agency to file a report with the Government Operations Committee if they levy any fine over $1000 or suspend or revoke for more than 7 days the license of anyone licensed by that agency. Why does the state legislature need to get involved here ?? Let the licensing agency handle the disciplining of their licensees.
  • HB 428 / SB 416 - Rep. Dale Ford and Sen. Rusty Crowe - General Assembly - The bill sets up a committee to evaluate the fines, suspensions, and revocations reported to the Government Operations Committee due to HB 427 / SB 418 mentioned above. Unbelievable. This is Big "Gubmint" at it's finest.
  • HB 153 / SB 74 - Rep. Bob Ramsey and Sen. Doug Overbey - Motor Vehicles - The bill makes it illegal for a child under 5 to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. Here's an idea - LET THE PARENTS REGULATE WHETHER OR NOT THEIR KID IS ON A MOTORCYCLE. Focus on jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Is Tennessee becoming the Mother of All Nanny States or what ? Abso-freakin'-lutely ridiculous.
  • HB 1537 / SB 1503 - Rep. Dennis Powers and Sen. Ken Yager - Drugs, Over the Counter - The bill says that a pharmacist can only sell you an over-the-counter decongestant after he or she has consulted with and "observed" you in order to determine whether or not you are planning to use the medication to manufacture methamphetamine. Once they are sure you are not gonna make meth with it, they can sell you the medication. I guess this means pharmacists are gonna have to undergo some law enforcement training in profiling techniques if this passes. I bet they're gonna love that. I wonder if they'll have to Mirandize you before questioning ? I can see it now - "You have the right to remain silent." However, if you choose to exercise your right to remain silent and not talk to us, then we will be forced to not sell you the Claritan D." Lovely, huh ?
  • SB 325 / HB 234 - Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep. Debra Maggart - Drugs, Over the Counter - The bill would require sales of over-the-counter decongestants containing pseudoephedrine to be entered into a national registry. A consumer would only be able to purchase a certain allotment within a specified time period before being "cut-off." So, if you have a lot of sinus problems, at some point you could be prohibited from purchasing Claritan D, Zyrtec D, etc. It would work much like the instant check you go through when buying a gun. The pharmacist would enter your identifying information into the registry, and as long as you've not been "bad" and purchased more than your allotment, they would complete the sale. If not, then too bad, so sad for you. The bill is being pushed by law enforcement agencies and others due to the meth problem in Tennessee and the huge costs of cleaning up meth labs. However, just like gun control through the registering of firearms doesn't prevent gun crime, this "meth control" scheme won't work either. Just like bad guys will always find ways to get guns no matter how much gun control is implemented, they will find ways to make meth even if this bill passes. The only people that will be affected are the law-abiding citizens. For years Sen. Beavers has been an opponent of gun control and gun registration schemes because they don't work and only punish the law-abiding. Therefore, she should scrap this worthless bill for the same reasons. Tea Party groups have liked her in the past because she is anti-big "gubmint." Could it be they were wrong and she actually likes Big "Gubmint ?" Or, maybe she's just changed her mind recently and went from anti-Big "Gubmint" to pro-Big "Gubmint ?" If that's the case, I wonder if she's pro-gun control now, too ? However, here's the really screwy part of this bill. Sen. Beavers voted in favor of the bill in committee, but when it got out to the Senate floor she voted against her own bill. What happened ? Did she see the error of her ways and vote against it ? Or, was she just as confused as I was when I saw that she voted for her very own sponsored bill while it was in committee and then against it on the floor ? Maybe this was one of those "she was for it before she was against" kinda deals.
  • SB 756 / HB 1119 by Sen. Mae Beavers / Rep. Curry Todd - SB 477 / HB 1252 by Sen. Mae Beavers / Rep. Bill Dunn - Election Laws - These two bills go hand-in-hand with each other. They tell the county commissions in Tennessee that even though the county election commissions are funded by county tax dollars, the county commissions have no say so in how they are ran. It's been previously established by the courts that the county election commissions are state agencies and their employees are state employees. Now, this bill will tell the county commission that they must fund the budgets of the election commissions and cannot cut or otherwise change their budgets. In other words, "You're gonna fund it, but we're gonna tell you how to run it and there ain't nothing you can do about it." In my opinion, that's crap. That's about like me going out and buying a brand new car and then my neighbor telling me how and when I can drive it. It's another Big "Gubmint" / Nanny State bill sponsored by Sen. Beavers. She's the same Sen. Beavers that railed against ObamaCare and the state taking Federal stimilus dollars. Why ? It was because she felt the Federal government was overstepping it's bounds by telling us how do things in Tennessee, of course. Now, she wants to pass a bill allowing the state to do the same thing to it's 95 counties that she pitched a fit about Obama and the Feds doing to Tennessee. Isn't that a bit hypocritical ? And she's supposedly a small government Conservative, huh ? Perhaps someone should change the definition of small government Conservative.
Some are probably wondering, "Dang Sheepdog. You're being awfully hard on the Republicans. What's up with that ?" It's simple. As I've said before, I considered my a Republican for 30 years. However, recently I've felt just like Ronald Reagan did when he said he didn't leave the Democratic Party, they left him. The Republican Party as a whole has lost it's Conservative roots. It's why I've joined the ranks of the Independents. There's still some good Republicans, but they're getting few and far between. Republicans in Tennessee were hired to do a job. I think Speaker Harwell had it right when she said the priorities should be smaller government, the economy, and education. Every one of the bills I highlighted above fail that test. Every single one. Republicans should take this as constructive criticism. Tennesseans and Americans everywhere are fed up and running out of patience. Republicans in Tennessee and all across the country whined, complained, and criticized the Democrats when they were in power for passing legislation that was intrusive into the lives of the American people, increased the size of government, and spent millions upon millions of dollars. The Republicans promised to put an end to all that if we would elect them. Well, we did and they haven't lived up to their end of the bargain. We can vote you right back out. The problem is that it puts the Democrats back in power, and they are a lost cause. The Democratic Party of today is not the one our fathers and grandfathers knew. Today's Democratic Party has been infected by Socialists. It says so right on the Socialist Party USA website (click here). They are working to pass their agenda through the Democrats. When the American people lose their patience with the Republicans again and vote the Democrats back into office, these are the jokers that will be in power !! Is that what the Republicans want to see happen ? If not, then they need get to work doing the job we hired them you to do which is making job creation easier, helping with the economic recovery, and shrinking the size of government. Knock it off with the Nanny State Bills. They don't create jobs or opportunities. Get it in gear.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: