Friday, January 14, 2011

Welcome to Bethworld

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell is already getting to work on shrinking the size of government on the legislative side:

Harwell has replaced more than two dozen subcommittees and declared that each House committee will have but one subcommittee-and these subcommittees won't be considering all legislation before their respective committees, but will focus on complicated and specialized bills that need detailed examination. In other words, legislators who are opposed to a certain bill but don't want to go on record as such won't be able to use the labyrinth of subcommittees on the lower chamber to keep a bill from being considered because most of those subcommittees no longer exist. Beth Harwell has done something during her first week of office as Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives that many good conservative elected officials can only talk about-she has actually managed to shrink the size of government, even if in only the way she can directly control.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Guvnah

The Shelby County Schools crisis shows how constitutionally weak any Tennessee Governor actually is:

The real likely reason Bill Haslam is playing political dodge 'em on the Shelby County Schools consolidation matter: He is completely powerless to do much of anything, and the State reaction to the whole affair would be a public display of just how little power a Governor of Tennessee actually has constitutionally-something few Tennesseans are aware of. If Haslam is opposed to the Norris Bill, which would allow for separate votes on consolidation in the City of Memphis and in Shelby County, his opposition is completely meaningless if Norris musters the clear support of majorities in both Houses of the General Assembly. A simple majority in both Houses is all that is needed to override a Governor's veto under the Tennessee Constitution. If Haslam supports the measure privately, but his view ultimately does not effect whether the measure becomes law or not, why would Haslam risk political capital in Memphis or Shelby County by wading into the schools consolidation matter?

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Tennessee State Treasurer David Lillard (R) and Comptroller Justin Wilson (R) were both re-elected by the Tennessee General Assembly today...and the Legislature may get cracking on education a bit early:

Readers in West Tennessee may be aware that a crisis has developed in Shelby County over the issue of consolidation of the Memphis City Schools and the Shelby County schools. Negotiations to merge the two school systems appear to have broken down, and State Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville), Senate Majority Leader, is filing an emergency bill to require voter approval of Shelby County voters who live outside of the City of Memphis, as well as residents of the city in separate referendums.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Harwell's Rules of Order

Republicans are finally fully in control of both Houses of the Tennessee General Assembly:

Republicans do not control the Tennessee House of Representatives today-they dominate that body. Beth Harwell of Nashville was nominated for Speaker by Rep. Steve McDaniel of Parker's Crossroads, and was seconded by the man she defeated in caucus for the position of Speaker, Republican Glen Casada of Franklin. The Democrats' refusal to nominate a candidate for Speaker shows the weakness of their party-they now feel compelled to beg Republicans for favors by saying "see, we voted for you too." Rep. Judd Matheny was unanimously elected Speaker pro Tempore in the House.

Senator Stacey Campfield is officially a member of the upper chamber, with perhaps the biggest fireworks of the Senate session coming when Senator Doug Henry (D-Nashville) rose to second Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey's nomination as Speaker of the Senate and Lieutenant Governor, admitting that he didn't agree with the Senate Democratic Caucus' decision to nominate Sen. Joe Haynes (D-Nashville), because he thought Lieutenant Governor Ramsey was doing a good enough job.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Era

Well, tomorrow should be a major transformative day in Tennessee politics:

This week marks the beginning of what could be a new era in Tennessee politics, as Republicans take real and firm control of the House of Representatives and the State gets used to the words "Senator Campfield." Over the years, Tennesseans have grown to expect the unexpected in the opening week of a legislative session, it is how we ended up with Lieutenant Governor John Wilder in 1987, even though Riley Darnell was the official Majority nominee for that post. Two years ago, the successful plot to install Kent Williams (I-Elizabethton) as Speaker of the House was already in the works long before the First Tuesday in January, with other Republicans indicating that they were contacted by anxious Democrats about filling the role that Kent Williams eventually took.

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Baptism of the Lord

Matthew 3:13-17:

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan, unto John, to be baptized by him. But John stayed him, saying: I ought to be baptized by thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now. For so it becometh us to fulfill all justice. Then he suffered him.

And Jesus being baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened to him: and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him. And behold a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

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