Flowers On the Wall
Some very very classic Statler Brothers from the old Porter Wagoner Show.
Both sides are to blame in this case. A long-term TWRA project should not be held hostage over the need of some people to settle political scores. Compared to the amount of money the State is spending in Memphis and West Tennessee in a given month, $16 million for a fish hatchery in the part of our State that is always left behind in the end is but a drop in the bucket. At the same time, the Speaker needs to quit trying to sell the fish hatchery as a major jobs creator and something that is immediately necessary. We know it is needed to dramatically increase East Tennessee's trout supply and has real potential to bring in fishermen and related tourism to Upper East Tennessee, much of which hasn't enjoyed the economic boom that Sevier County has because of tourism. However, there is simply no way to know how deep the economic impact of the hatchery will be because it isn't in operation. We do know it will provide those of us who eat the trout from East Tennessee rivers and streams with a larger and possibly cleaner catch each year.
One thing the Carter County hatchery is not, however, is a pressing necessity. As with many other things in our State budget, it is not a need so urgent that we must move heaven and earth in order to have it. Many of our East Tennessee Representatives are right to argue that they are tired of standing by and watching us get nothing while Middle and West Tennessee get all the candy-there is a lot of truth to that. It is also true, however, that Kent Williams' seeming willingness to shut the State down if need be in order to get a fish hatchery has the look of political desperation. The hatchery an important project for the region and if it is really a part of TWRA's continuing plan for East Tennessee fisheries, TWRA needed to be the primary party pushing for it in this year's budget and the next. For the Speaker to be its primary proponent has all of the wrong kinds of political appearances both for him and the Tennessee General Assembly.
Labels: Tennessee politics
Outgoing Representatives Donna Rowland (R-Murphreesboro) and Joe McCord
(R-Maryville) acted as Speakers of the day. In a moment of comic relief, McCord
accepted a request from Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) to roll a resolution
honoring Rowland to " the 4th of Never." Rowland has long been an
opponent of what she sees as overuse of congratulatory resolutions as a waste of
Under the proposed caucus rule changes, members would be required under
bylaws to support the Republican nominee for Speaker of the House and Speaker
Pro Tempore during the organizational session of the General Assembly.
Failure to do so would result in automatic expulsion from the caucus. The
proposed new rules would also bar any member who voted for anyone for Speaker or Speaker Pro Tempore other than the Republican nominees for those positions from
receiving House Republican Caucus funding for their re-election campaigns, and
would require the approval of an uber-majority of 4/5ths of the GOP Caucus to
readmit a member expelled for voting against the Republican nominees in the
organization of the House.
"The problem with [the fish hatchery project] is that it is being used as a
political football in a year when we can't afford that," said Rep. Stacey
Campfield (R-Knoxville). "We have members who have pledged to hold the line on
spending, but many of these same people are saying that 'if Kent (Williams) gets
his, I want mine.'"
One promenent House member said "if that fish hatchery becomes a part of
the joint budget proposal, we'll be here for some time yet because people will
want to light up the budget like a Christmas tree."During last night's session,
there was even a debate over the adjournment motion during which Rep. Harry
Brooks (R-Knoxville) pointed out that the House could complete a budget this
week "if we commit to stay here until it is done." It is widely believed that
Kent Williams is trying to hold out on the budget in order to get the hatchery
proposal included, while those who are satisfied with the Senate budget proposal
are among those willing to hold fort at the Capitol until the House comes to an
It was clear that the resolution was going to pass when an amendment by
Rep. Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory) to honor the State of Hawaii on its 50th
anniversary in the Union was moved to the table. It was moved to the table after
the original sponsor of the bill, Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas) produced an
identical resolution to honor Hawaii and invited Turner to file it.
Labels: Tennessee politics
This morning I depart for Nashville and the State Capitol for what has become an annual trip to bring you, the reader, in depth coverage of the proceedings of the General Assembly as they surround the Tennessee State budget for the coming year. Whatever other legislation a General Assembly passes during it's existence, it is constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget, and that is the only law that the Tennessee General Assembly is legally required to pass.
Both Houses of the General Assembly are subject to the call of the Chair. The Senate, having already passed its version of a budget, is slated to meet at 1:00pm Central time this afternoon (Senate Floor Calendars) but has no scheduled meetings the rest of the week. The House of Representatives convenes this afternoon at 4:00pm Central time (House Floor Calendars, Regular Amendments, Message Amendments) and is scheduled for sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, times to be determined. The House Finance, Ways and Means Committee is slated to meet tomorrow, along with its Budget Subcommittee and the Calendar and Rules Committee, times to be announced.