Thursday, May 10, 2007

How to kill a bill you don't want to vote on

Word seems to have gotten out that outside of Nashville and Memphis, Representative Frank Niceley's bill to expand the number of places where citizens who have handgun carry permits can carry them is a pretty popular one. The vote on this bill will force many people in the legislature (especially those who are members of a certain political formation which presently occupies the majority in the House) who say they favor greater gun rights to go on the record. For those members who are part of that certain political formation, such a bill would be a moment of truth-voting for pro-gun legislation would please many of their constituents, but voting against it would please certain groups that give the Democratic Caucus lots of money.

I understand that certain of our Nashville and Memphis friends may not realize this, but by introducing this bill and others like it, Frank Niceley further solidifies his hold on our district's seat in the House-it is a popular bill here, and I would posit that it is probably popular in the Tennessee outside of urban fearland (it also makes sense). For many Democrats from suburban and rural districts are in favor of this bill-or their constituencies are, but some organizations that support their caucus may not-hence, the bill has to be brought down without members having to go on the record as being in favor of gun restrictions or gun control. The best way to do this is to change the bill so that the fiscal note, which is one of minimal or no impact, becomes exorbitant.

It has been recommended that an amendment be added to post signs at public parks alerting people that they may carry their firearms therein. On its face there is nothing problematic about that, but it would suddenly make the fiscal note on the bill unusually exorbitant-this gives the Democrats an excuse to hill the bill in the Finance Committee and none of them will have to go on record on the floor.

A convenient way to kill a bill and not have to go on record about the whole thing.



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