TENNESSEE REACTIONARY AND RADICAL REPUBLICAN LEGISLATION

The following critique of the Tennessee Republican “Radical Agenda” Legislation was written as a response to examples of National Republican wing-nut laws that will be used by Democrats against Republicans. The following is a close critique of the TNGOP wing-nut legislation by TNDP Chair, Roy Herron.

So, what about Tennessee?

If the national media thinks the above controversial bills

could impact races,

what if they look at what has been happening in Tennessee?

And if voters are disturbed over some of these proposals,

what if we communicate clearly

what the Republicans have been doing in Tennessee?

Here is a quick and only very partial list

of some of the Reactionary and Radical Republican legislation

in Tennessee in recent months.

WAR ON WOMEN.

1. FORCING CHILD RAPE VICTIMS TO BEAR RAPISTS’ CHILDREN. SJR 127, which already has been approved by the Republicans and goes before the voters in 2014, would remove any state constitutional protection for any woman, including child rape victims, allowing these Reactionary and Radical Republicans to force all victims to bear the rapists’ children.

2. FORCING WOMEN WHOSE LIVES ARE ENDANGERED TO DIE. SJR 127 also would remove any state constitutional protection for a woman to choose to end a pregnancy. The Republicans voted down an amendment that would have at least let women whose very lives are endangered to save their own lives.

3. FORCING VICTIMS TO WATCH ULTRASOUNDS. The Republicans have legislation, which they say they are going to delay a bit, which would force women to watch ultrasounds and/or to listen to a doctor describe the ultrasound before ending a pregnancy, no matter the circumstances or need.

4. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. Tennessee’s Republican Congressional Delegation, every Republican, voted “no” on the Violence Against Women Act.

5. WHAT ELSE?

WAR ON WORKERS.

1. HURTING INJURED WORKERS. The Republicans are passing legislation that will drastically slash and in many instances end compensation to injured workers. Another example of their “hurting the hurting.”

2. REFUSING MEDICAID FUNDS AND LEAVING 300,000 TENNESSEANS WITHOUT HEALTH CARE. The Republicans have refused to expand Medicaid, refused to accept billions in federal funds, leaving 300,000 workers and members of working families without health insurance and without health care. Make no mistake: it is the working people who are hurt by this. The politicians and the prisoners, the lawmakers and the law-breakers, have government health care. But the Reactionary and Radical Republicans refuse to let working people have what they have. Eight or so other states with Republican governors have opted to take the federal funds, but our Radical Republicans would rather Tennesseans have to pay for those states and other states to care for their citizens at our expense.

3. DENYING A LIVING WAGE. The Republicans are outlawing and preempting cities like Nashville and Memphis from joining many other cities and states that require a minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.

4. WHAT ELSE?

WAR ON CHILDREN.

1. STARVE THE CHILDREN. Legislation that would slash already minimal support ($185 for a mother with two little ones) for impoverished single parent or no-parent families if children do poorly in school continues to move forward. This “Starve the Children” bill has drawn national attention and would be another instance of Tennessee “leading” the country—in the wrong direction. The legislation is the brain child and the only child of a 44-year-old bachelor.

2. STARVE THE SCHOOLS. Legislation to take funds from public schools and give the tax dollars to private schools, including segregation academies and sectarian schools, this week may have been stopped for this year. Why? Because of strong Democratic opposition and because the out-of-state companies and entities pushing this may have over-played their hand for now by getting even greedier than some Republicans could stomach.

3. STEAL FROM THE SCHOOLS. A company with a major investor who stole millions on Wall Street and went to prison now is stealing millions from Tennessee taxpayers, thanks to a Republican law that gives our tax dollars to K-12, Inc., a “virtual school” company that takes our money but fails to educate our children.

4. ATTACKING OUR CHILDREN’S TEACHERS. The Radical Republicans have attacked our children’s teachers in a host of ways, including taking away their rights to representation in seeking better schools and conditions for the children. When they hurt our children’s teachers, they hurt our children.

5. CHARTERS GONE WILD. The Radical Republicans want to over-ride local school boards and have an ideologically-driven, politically-appointed board or band of Republicans order that local governments turn over tax dollars to out-of-state, for-profit companies who come with their hands out to profit from Tennessee’s taxpayers at the expense of our children.

6. WHAT ELSE?

WAR ON DEMOCRACY.

1-5. MAKING IT HARDER TO VOTE. The Republicans already have made it harder for People to vote by:

1. BIG GOVERNMENT IDENTICATION CARDS. New restrictions requiring big government ID cards.

2. LESS EARLY VOTING. Cutting back days to early vote.

3. FEWER VOTING LOCATIONS. Cutting back voting locations.

4. PURGING VOTERS. Purging law-abiding citizens from voting rolls (e.g., Rep. Lincoln Davis and Rep. Butch Borchert’s wife).

5. YOUR VOTES MAY NOT BE COUNTED. Even doing away with paper verification so you don’t know if your vote is counted.

6. APRIL FOOLISH: REPEALING THE 17TH AMENDMENT AND STEAING THE PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO VOTE. On April 1st, the Senate was about to play an April Fool’s Joke and take away Tennesseans’ right to vote for our nominees to run for the U.S. Senate. This was also the 100th anniversary of Tennessee ratifying the 17th Amendment that gave us the right to elect our U.S. Senators.

Democrats believe that the People should pick the Politicians, instead of the Politicians picking each other. But now the Radical Republicans want to steal the People’s right to vote to nominate our United States Senators.

Senate Bill 471/House Bill 415 came flying out of a Senate Committee on a 7-1 vote and is endorsed and supported by the Republican Speaker of the Senate. It was about to fly through the Senate until we Democrats fought back and demanded to be taken out of the bill. We think we will ultimately prevail, but the bill is not yet dead. In the words of Speaker Lois DeBerry, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

7. WHAT ELSE?

CONCLUSION.

The Reactionary and Radical Republicans

want to take us back a couple of centuries,

to the 1800s when the legislature picked our senators

until corruption and the people finally ended the practice

by Constitutional Amendment in 1913.

This is consistent with the legislation they passed

(with every Republican voting for it)

urging Congress to reject the Constitutional understandings

of the Supreme Court during the middle part of the last century

and to adopt those misunderstandings from the twenties—

citing two cases from the twenties, the eighteen-twenties (1820s).

(And no, I am not making this up.)

These Reactionary Republicans want to go back to a time

when African-Americans were property

and Women could not own property,

when Workers had few rights

and Children had none.

Now we know what Reactionary and Radical Republicans mean

when they claim to be for smaller government:

they want to take power away from the People

and let a small number of Republican politicians grab the power.

They want to make the government smaller

by taking the people’s tax dollars

and giving them away to their friends.

These are some of the worst bills and laws of recent months.

But I bet you also have some favorites.

Please share them.

And then let’s use the worst bills to let Tennesseans know what is happening to them.

And to elect Tennessee Democrats who will do right by the People.

Roy B. Herron, Chair

Tennessee Democratic Party

1900 Church Street, Suite 203

Nashville, TN 37203

roy@tndp.org

O 615.327.9779

F 615.891.7453

www.tndp.org




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