Saturday, June 05, 2010

Still Going...

Okay, this is ridiculous-just finish and get the Hell out of Nashville, please...:

Now that both Houses of the Tennessee General Assembly have passed the budget, they now must deal with a slew of bills behind the budget, revisions of bills from the other chamber ("messages," or message calendars). Last night, the House of Representatives chose, over the objections of many members (and at first by way of a straw poll), to recess until Tuesday, June 8th at 1:00pm. Representatives could have potentially finished all of their business today since the Senate did meet this morning and both houses could have remained in session for as long as it might have taken to complete all remaining calendars. At most, this might have meant a long recess on Sunday and sine die adjournment on Monday. It is very possible that the Legislature could have concluded all of its business today.

The reality that the General Assembly will be meeting next week may create another problem for those members who show up in Nashville with the intent to do their jobs. A few hotels which are not terribly far from the Capitol in Nashville offer steep discounts to legislators to stay there during the legislative session, and many members take them up on it. This helps keep the hotels full during a time when there are fewer tourists in the Nashville area, and allows those members who tend to pinch pennies and who prefer to keep their living arrangements to themselves to be accommodated. Next week, however, the normal pace of business at the lodging establishments that many legislators frequent could change dramatically because of the arrival of the annual CMA Music Festival, formerly and more popularly known to the country music fan world as "FanFare."

Hotels and motels that have been offering members of the General Assembly rooms at a discount during session (something that usually happens every year) will be far more keen to rent those rooms to out-of-State tourists who come to town for the biggest country music draw of the year. After all, people may know that Nashville is the capital of Tennessee, but it isn't known for that-its nickname is not "Legislative City USA." Given the choice between a steady legislative customer predisposed to minor forms of penury and tourists dropping loads of money, the hotels will take the tourists, and no one can blame them. At a time when Nashville needs the investment and the economic boost as it recovers from the recent floods, local hotels and merchants want a crowd beyond Capitol Hill and that means that those coming for the music festival may get first priority and rooms at places which members of the General Assembly normally stay may be at a premium.

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