Friday, August 19, 2011

The Will of the Voters...?

If voters reject an attempt to change the Tennessee Constitution to allow for judicial appointment instead of judicial election, will the General Assembly respect that?:

Where Ramsey and other proponents of amending the State Constitution to allow for judicial appointments may err is in the notion that the voters of Tennessee-who must ultimately approve all constitutional amendments-will be keen to give up their constitutional right to approve Supreme and appellate court judges when it is fully explained to them as part of the referendum campaign that-"oops, you have the right to elect your judges, but we haven't let you exercise that right since the 1970's." Something tells this writer that voters will reject what amounts to a repeal of their constitutional rights, and what the Lieutenant Governor and others must answer is this: If the voters reject a change to the State Constitution and thereby demand direct election of appellate judges be restored to them, will the Legislature finally respect that verdict, and the liberal judges who refuse to bend to the State Constitution finally just man-and-woman up and run for election?

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Politics of History

The public should demand history and civics textbooks in our schools which reinforce Tennessee history and State government:

Such is true for no subjects more than for history and civics. Entirely too many Tennessee students-and yes, students around the country as well-graduate school with very little knowledge of where we, as a State and as a Union, came from, how we got to this point in our history, and who the significant contributors were to that history. Entirely too many young people leave high school with very little knowledge of how their local government works or impacts their life. If we are lucky, they all know who the President is-we hope that a majority of them know who the Governor is (although it might be shocking to learn the sizable percentage that does not). How many know who their State Representative is, or their Senator? How many of these students at least know the process by which a bill might become a law in Tennessee (it differs from the federal Congress)? How about who the Governor of the Southwest Territory was, and what was the Southwest Territory? How many of the students in Tennessee can tell us that the first Governor was John Sevier, or give the name of three battles other than Shiloh-and we hope they know Shiloh-that were fought in Tennessee during the War Between the States?

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Boundary Line Fever

Tennessee Legislative redistricting rumors are moving into high gear ahead of the release of the new districts:

While there is still little that can be said with certainty about what the final legislative map will look like, several sources close to the situation on Capitol Hill in Nashville have confirmed to The Examiner that East Tennessee could see some significant changes in legislative representation-which will likely include changes in State Senate representation, with Upper East Tennessee in a position to gain a Senate seat and Memphis poised to lose one. In the Tennessee House of Representatives, the seemingly prevailing view is that changes in population in Greene County will put the entire county under one House member, presumably Representative David Hawk (R-Greeneville) would run for that seat. Making Greene County a single district would cut into freshman Rep. Jeremy Faison's (R-Cosby) district. How would that be resolved? Likely, we are told, by moving into eastern Jefferson County-in a move that would change this writer's legislative representation, Faison seems likely to pick up White Pine, Baneberry, and Chesnut Hill, while Representative Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains), appears as though he may pick up more of Knox County part of Sevier. That move would make Faison's district (still the 11th) more Republican, where it had been a swing district that was long represented by Democrat Eddie Yokley who Faison defeated in 2010.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Double Dip?

The Tennessee House and Senate Finance Committees should get ready, we may be in for it:

There are few East Tennesseans who this writer has spoken to who actually believe that we have ever completely recovered from our previous recession, and still more of us who think that the last recession never truly came to an end except in name. The State has a vested interest in whether there is a recession since our revenues at a State and local level are largely gleaned from sales and use taxes. In recent days we have learned that sales tax collections in July were higher than projected-good news for our fiscal health in the short term. If the economy is taking a southward turn, that news is very liable not to last, and the General Assembly will be obliged to adjust State spending accordingly.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Ron's For Rick

Ahead of this past weekend's Iowa Straw Poll, Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey practically begged Texas Governor Rick Perry to announce he is running for President. Perry did get in the race, but far too late to participate in the test vote in Ames, Iowa Saturday. In spite of that, Perry still got votes:

Despite not having an official presence at the Ames Straw Poll, Governor Perry received 712 votes as a write-in, more raw votes than the so-called national Republican front-runner, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who finished 7th with 587 votes.

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