Archive for the ‘beth harwell’ Category

The Battle Over Insure Tennessee

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

The battle over Insure Tennessee wages on and a series of interesting revelations have been uncovered since Governor Haslam unveiled his Insure Tennessee Plan.

In February, records were provided that showed Republicans voting against Haslam’s Insure Tennessee were themselves on the state health plan, which funds 80 percent of employee premiums. These Senators were Health Committee Chairman Rusty, Mike Bell, Sen. Brian Kelsey, Sen. Frank Niceley, and Sen. Kerry Roberts.

In April, the Tennessean continued its investigation of Insure Tennessee and laid out the financial losses to Tennessee because of Republican political games.

If the Tennessee General Assembly had passed the Insure Tennessee plan to extend insurance coverage to the working poor, about $3.1 million would have been spent daily in Tennessee doctor’s offices, pharmacies and hospitals.

Instead, today, thousands of sick Tennesseans do without care or visit emergency rooms at the expense to Tennessee taxpayers. To date, an estimated 800 Tennesseans have died awaiting Health Care Coverage since Tennessee was eligible for ObamaCare coverage.

The Insure Tennessee plan proposed by Haslam, and rejected by a fearful legislature with virtually no debate, would have been one of the best economic stimulus programs for small towns and rural communities in this state.

A University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research study released in January “estimated that the average person who enrolled in Insure Tennessee would “spend” about $5,700 each year on health care and that 200,000 Tennesseans would enroll in the various plans proposed by the governor to help the working poor who make too much for Medicaid insurance and not enough to qualify for the subsidies offered on the federal health insurance exchange”.

The study also projected that expanded insurance coverage would bring about $1.14 billion of spending into the state from the federal funds earmarked for Medicaid expansion when Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

The spending generated from Insure Tennessee would create an economic boom, creating or maintaining about 15,000 jobs, mostly in our rural counties, where the bulk of those eligible live. The $1.14 billion would mostly flow into the paychecks of Tennesseans, adding over $900 million to their income.

Most of that $900 million would be spent in local businesses. And so on … get the picture. Obviously, Republican hatred of President Obama trumped any chances of economic boom for Tennessee. Their fear of being primaried by fellow wing-nuts also trumped economic benefit to Tennessee.

The opposite of an economic boom is what our legislator’s want, a vicious cycle of delaying health care until it becomes a crisis, or an act of charity, and/or paid for by the rest of us. The decision of our legislature has created a living on the edge mentality where financial disaster and ruin, for many, is a simple accident away from destroying a Tennessee family.

It is hard to recall a time when the General Assembly has so ignored the wishes of a business and Tennesseans. A recent Vanderbilt poll showed two out three Tennesseans want/support Insure Tennessee.

Early this month the Tennessee Legislature got excited when the Tennessean exposed the fact that many of the same folks who voted to deny poor Tennesseans health care coverage, are covered by health care, on the backs of Tennessee taxpayers.

Taxpayers have paid almost 6 million for health care for these hypocrites since 2008. Several lawmakers tried to stop the release of how much money the state spends on their individual health premiums. They argued the release of the information would violate privacy laws.
While Republicans have fought to keep expenditures on their health care private, Democrats have been supportive of the release.

“It is the ultimate in hypocrisy,” said state Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus who is enrolled in the health plan. “To refuse to provide for the working poor of Tennessee, while trying to keep the insurance benefits they receive a secret illustrates their [Republicans] contempt for Tennesseans.”

PREMIUM COSTS

Lawmaker – Years on Plan – Lawmakers Contribution – Taxpayer Contribution
Sen. Rusty Crowe – 1992-2015 – $48,162.32 – $202,730.79
Rep. Beth Harwell – 1992-2015 – $49,242.94 – $198,134.99
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey – 1993-2015 – $44,924.74 – $187,796.77

NOTE: Records only go back to 1992. They may have received coverage for a longer period.

As revelations related to Insure Tennessee have been unveiled, activists across the state have taken action to pressure legislatures to support Insure Tennessee. In NETN, activists have purchased ½ page ads in various area newspapers designed to put pressure on Rusty Crowe and Ron Ramsey. This same group of activists engineered a town hall meeting that focused on Medicaid expansion and Insure Tennessee. Over two hundred folks packed Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church in Johnson City in the Town Hall meeting.

The meeting was filled with questions mostly aimed at Rusty Crowe. Why would the legislature vote against a plan that would not cost Tennessee taxpayers a single penny while providing 300,000 Tennesseans with health care? Why don’t working people in Tennessee have health care? Those in attendance hammered Rusty Crowe with those and other questions. Petitions were being signed after the meeting was over.

Tennesseans would prefer their elected representatives act like leaders and support the will of the majority and the best interest for Tennessee. And maybe stand up for what is right; instead of trying to protect their chances in a primary election challenge by a wing-nut. When it comes to the Tennessean legislature doing their job, they prefer to do nothing and blame it on Obama, unless it is one of the wealthy friends or lobbyists who demands special consideration. They will waste a whole week with legislation designed to pander to folks like the NRA.

Insure Tennessee Fails: Rusty Crowe Flip Flops.

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Nashville – Thursday, Tennessee plunged to a new GOP driven low point in our state’s history as healthcare was denied to thousands of Tennesseans.

With a single vote in the Tennessee Senate, seven Republican senators voted to deny healthcare for over a quarter of a million hard working Tennesseans.

The seven Republicans are: Rusty Crowe of Johnson City, Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains, Mike Bell of Riceville, Dr. Joey Hensley of Hohenwald, Brian Kelsey of Germantown and Kerry Roberts of Springfield.

Rusty Crowe of Johnson City said he would vote for the legislation, but he voted against it. He said he changed his mind.

The end of Insure Tennessee (Haslam’s version of Obamacare) is a direct result in the failure of leadership by Republican leaders Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker Beth Harwell. It was their failure to lead, and specifically their failure to stand up to the TNGOP right wing extremists that lead to the defeat of Insure Tennessee. It was also their failure that lead to 7 Republican senators making the wrong decision that will hurt the lives of 250,000 Tennesseans for years to come.

The seven Republican senators showed that they have no compassion or concern for the 800 Tennesseans who have already died waiting for healthcare expansion.

Those same seven Republican senator embarrassed Governor Haslam and proved him wrong when he told President Obama that Republicans could be trusted to care for “the least of these”.

Tennessee’s Republican legislators have shown they are unwilling to put people first, over special interest, and they are not capable of running our state.

Democratic Senator Jeff Yarbro, stood up for Tennesseans by voting for Insure Tennessee and he pointed out that Republicans who deny hardworking Tennesseans the healthcare they need are themselves on government funded healthcare.

Tennesseans will die and hospitals will close as a result of this vote. This is a sadly a low point in our state’s history.

Tennessee’s Backwoods Legislature

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Between the monkey law and gateway sexual activity, backwoods legislation in the Tennessee Legislature has brought shame to Tennessee. Add in an outrageous quote from Sen. Stacey Campfield and a review of the legislation of guns in bars, guns in cars, and guns in schools and you have the winner of the nations worst legislation.

National recognition of ignorance for Tennessee!

Mother Jones magazine, the liberal publication best known lately for unearthing a videotape of Mitt Romney kissing off 47 percent of the nation’s voters, has published a new list of the nation’s worst legislatures and given Tennessee top honors.

Tennessee legislators have set themselves apart by actually passing the abstinence-only bill, the one severely restricting discussion of sexual activity in public schools. The quote from Campfield, in which he traced the origin of AIDS inaccurately to sex between a monkey and an airline pilot, didn’t hurt our entry.

Special honors should have be given to Ron Ramsey and Beth Harwell who led us to this dismal point in legislation. Honorable mention should be given to our governor, Bill Haslam, who allows ignorant legislation to slide into law without actually signing it.

You also have proposed bills that sanction bullying of kids in schools and a legislation focused on serving the special interest groups. The backwoods boys of NETN have managed to disgrace Tennessee with their ignorance and arrogance. Americans are laughing coast to coast at the expense of the Tennessee Legislature and its moran based legislation. Wonder why folks talk about barefoot Tennesseans? Ask our backwoods ignorance based Legislators where their ignorance is celebrated with acts of stupidy every open session!

Tennessee Legislation Passed in 2012: No Jobs!

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Here is a list of some of the legislation that has been approved by the Tennessee Legislature in 2012. The wing-nuts continue to embarrass Tennesseans and have failed to pass one act of legislation producing one job or job bill. Take a look at what backwoods mentality brings in the form of legislation.

WAR AGAINST WOMEN – RESTRICTIONS FOR ABORTION DOCTORS: Requires physicians to have hospital privileges in the home or adjacent county of woman seeking abortion. HB3808.

AMAZON SALES TAX INCREASE: Requires Amazon.com to begin collecting Tennessee sales taxes in 2014. HB2370.

BATH SALTS FELONY: Makes it a felony to sell synthetic drugs known as bath salts. HB2286.

POLITICAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS APPOINTMENTS: Allows governor to appoint heads of boards, including Tennessee Higher Education Commission. HB2387.

CORPORATE WELFARE CASH GRANT GIVEAWAY: Creates more ways for state to give cash grants to companies investing in Tennessee. HB2344.

CHARTER SCHOOLS ANTI-FOREIGNERS: Limits number of foreign workers allowed to be employed at charter schools. SB3345.

STRIP CIVIL SERVICE PROTECTION: Revises state civil service laws to make it easier to hire and fire state employees. SB2246.

DOMESTIC ABUSE: Requires mandatory jail time for repeat domestic abuse convictions. SB2251.

DUI BLOOD TESTS: Allows judges to compel blood tests from people arrested on drunken driving charges. HB2752.

DUI MINORS: Increases penalties for drunken driving when child under 18 is in car. HB2751.

EMBRYO ASSAULT PROTECTION: Includes embryo as victim protection in assaults on pregnant women. SB3412.

FOOD TAX: Reduces the state sales tax on groceries from 5.5 percent to 5.25 percent. HB3761.

GANG BANGER BILL: Increases penalties for violent crimes committed by three or more people. SB2252.

GATEWAY TO SEXUAL ACTIVITY PROHIBITION: Prohibits teachers from promoting or condoning “gateway sexual activity.” Includes kissing? HB3621.

HASLAM BUDGET: Enacts Tennessee’s more than $31 billion annual spending plan. HB3835.

IMMIGRATION DISCRIMINATION CHECK: Requires state agencies to verify immigration status before approving public benefits. SB1325.

BAN STATE INCOME TAX: Proposed constitutional amendment to ban a state income tax in Tennessee. SJR0221.

INHERITANCE TAX BREAK FOR THE RICH: Begins phase-out of Tennessee’s inheritance tax. HB3760.

FACISM LAW FOR OCCUPY NASHVILLE: Bans unauthorized camping on Legislative Plaza. HB2638.

CENSORSHIP OF SAGGY PANTS: Prohibits students from wearing saggy pants or other indecent clothing on school grounds. HB3679.

ANTI-INTELLIGENCE SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: Allows parents to keep their children from joining extracurricular groups at school. HB2548.

DESTRUCTION OF SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Allows school personnel to participate in student-initiated religious activities. HB3266.

SCHOOL SAFETY: Gives teachers more authority to act against students who pose a safety risk. SB3116.

POLITICAL SELECTING OF JUDGES-CONFIRMATION: Proposed constitutional amendment to allow Legislature to reject gubernatorial appointments to Supreme Court. SJR0710.

STUDENT LOANS-DEFAULT: Penalizes teachers and lobbyists for defaulting on student loans. HB0740.

MONKEY LAW: Grants legal protections for teachers who allow students to question theory of evolution. SB0893.

DESTRUCTION OF SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Allows public buildings to display “historically significant documents,” such as Ten Commandments. HB2658.

ANTI-UNITED NATIONS-GOP IGNORANCE BILL: Recognizes the “insidious nature” of the United Nations ‘ Agenda 21 on sustainable development. HJR0587.

WELFARE DISCRIMINATION DRUG TESTING: Creates discrimination of the poor by allowing suspicion-based drug testing for welfare recipients. SB2580.

HOG WILD BILL: Makes it a crime to release wild-appearing swine without proper documentation. SB2879.

Yeah it true. Two years of legislation and not one job bill passed by the Tennessee legislation. In 2010, Tennessee Republicans promised to focus on job creation and education. Since, their capturing of the Tennessee Legislation, not one job creation bill has passed.

Ron Ramsey, Bill Haslam & Beth Harwell have lead Tennessee to the bottom with job loses as reported by Out of the Blue. Only Wisconsin has more job losses last month. More republican lies… in the 2010 election they promised jobs & all we have received is radical extremist legislation and GOP failure! The GOP can’t govern but they can sure lie!

Tennessee’s Failed Legislation for 2012: No Jobs?

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Much has been said about the Tennessee “wing-nuts” legislative agenda. It has been laughable and a disgrace to the people of the great state of Tennessee. It has also been the nucleus of many jokes across the nation. What happens when backwoods mentality is adapted into law? Here is a list of some of the wing-nut’s legislation that failed in this year’s legislative session:

BAN-DISCRIMINATION LAWS: Repealing a ban on local governments from enacting stricter anti-discrimination standards than the state. SB2762.

MAKE ATTORNEY GENERAL A POLITICAL APPOINTMENT: Proposed amendment to constitution to have governor appoint the attorney general. SJR0693.

REDUCE LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS: Holding legislative sessions only every other year. HB2785.

CUT FOOD TAX TO HELP TENNESSEE FAMILIES: Requiring state to make cuts in sales tax on groceries if state has surplus revenues. SB3666.

REMOVE LIMIT ON CLASS SIZE: Lifting the cap on average class sizes at public schools. SB2210.

RESTRICT COLLEGE RIGHTS TO INACT NONDISCRIMINATION ON RELIGIOUS GROUPS: Banning colleges from enacting nondiscrimination policies on student religious groups. SB3597. (Vetoed by Gov. Bill Haslam)

ALLOW UNLIMITED CONTRIBUTIONS TO STATE LEGISLATORS: Lifting total amount of campaign contributions legislative candidates can accept from political action committees. HB3281.

DON’T SAY GAY: IT’S A BAD WORD: Banning teaching about gay issues to elementary and middle school students. HB0229.

MAKING JUDGES POLITICALLY APPOINTED HACKS: Holding popular elections for Supreme Court justices in August 2014. HB0173.

NO GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS NECESSARY: Exempting handgun carry permit holders from background checks for firearms purchases. SB0306.

EVERYONE NEEDS A GUN IN PARKING LOTS: Guaranteeing employees the right to store firearms in vehicles parked at work. SB3002.

RESTRICT PUBLIC ACCESS TO RECORDS: Blocking public access to names of owners of businesses receiving grants from state. HB2345.

HEALTH CARE COMPACT: Adding Tennessee to an interstate health care compact. HB0369.

HORSE SLAUGHTER: Encouraging horse slaughter facilities to locate in Tennessee. HB3619.

NO JUDICIAL REVIEW: Stripping state courts of the power to block laws enacted by the Legislature. SB2348.

LOBBYIST TO SERVE LAWMAKER’S FREE MEALS: Allowing employers of lobbyists to host receptions for standing legislative committees. HB3025.

ATTACKS ON STATE WORKERS – LAWMAKER-DRUG TESTING: Requiring drug tests for state lawmakers. HB2411.

BAN A LIVING WAGE: Banning cities and counties from establishing a living wage. HB3386.

RESTRICT LOTTERY SCHOLARSHIPS: Making it more difficult to earn lottery scholarships. SB2514.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee. HB0294.

DISCLOSURE OF MODEL LEGISLATION: Requiring bill sponsors to disclose if their measure is based on model legislation. HB2301.

NO MOTORCYCLE HELMETS NEEDED: Allowing adults to ride motorcycles without safety helmets. HB1673.

MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL: Banning mountaintop removal coal mining in Tennessee. SB0577.

NURSES ASSAULT: Increasing penalties for assaults on health care workers. SB2658.

ORAL CHEMOTHERAPY: Requiring insurers to cover oral chemotherapy treatments. HB1087.

FREEZE PER DIEM FOR STATE WORKERS: Freezing the per diem expense allowance for state lawmakers. SB1372.

SELECTING JUDGES-TENNESSEE PLAN: Proposed constitutional amendment to underscore current state system for selecting Supreme Court justices. SJR0183.

STRIPPER TAX: Taxing adult businesses and strippers to pay for reduction in tax on coins and bullion. HB0469.

TEACHER TENURE: Allowing teachers who receive average evaluations to qualify for tenure. HB2447.

TRUCK STOP BAN: Banning truck stops from within a half-mile of Nashville and Memphis. HB3683.

REPEAL VOTER SUPPRESSION LAW: Repealing Tennessee’s voter ID requirements. HB2176.

NO WINE IN SUPERMARKETS: Allowing wine to be sold in supermarkets. HB2874.

The saddest aspect of this legislative year is the fact that not one job bill was proposed by the Republican controlled legislation. The legislators felt it was more important to draft legislation drafted for “GOP” special interest (lobbyists, corporations, and the wealthy).

Welcome to Crazytown

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

CrazytownRemember “Dollar” Bill Ketron and his plan to set up a Tennessee state currency? [Tennessean, March 1]

How about the Tennessee GOP’s new spokesman? Disgraced actor Charlie Sheen, a known abuser of drugs and women. [Nashville Scene, April 29]

Welcome to Crazytown.

Since the beginning of the year, Republican politicians have made no secret of their plans to hand over our state and our democracy to big corporations while sending working- and middle-class families down the Tennessee River.

Sadly, you could overlook the extreme agenda and Tennessee’s Republican politicians would still give you plenty of reasons to scratch your head.

From desk carvers and communist lovers to lunch dates with radical governors and allegations of political corruption, the Tennessee GOP has got it all:

  • GOPer Speaker Beth Harwell giddy for radical Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Walker attacked the rights of Wisconsin workers and families, passed an undemocratic voter ID bill, and gave tax breaks to the rich and big corporations. Considering Beth Harwell accomplished many of the same things, no wonder, in a tweet, she called him “one of our best Republican governors.” [Beth Harwell Twitter, June 29]
  • Tennessee GOP gaga for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels at big, corporate fundraiser. How do you get Tennessee Republicans to fawn over you? Write a budget plan that crashes the U.S. economy, voice your strong support of privatizing Social Security and slash millions in funding for public schools. Naturally, Republican lawmakers lauded Daniels’ destructive record at a high-dollar fundraiser last week. [TN Report, May 18]
  • State representatives caught in TBI investigation with naughty nurses. The Kingsport Times News reported three suspended nurse practitioners accused of contributing to two patients’ deaths somehow got their licenses restored. State Rep. Tony Shipley told the paper, he’s the “rascal behind the scenes that made it happen.” [WPLN, July 20]
  • Desk-carving GOPer grabs national headlines. Back in Nashville, state Rep. Julia Hurley carved her initials in her desk on the floor of the state House. She said she was bored during a late session and said, “I wasn’t thinking straight.” Unfortunately, her voting record against teachers and Tennessee families showed us that all year. [News Sentinel, July 11]
  • Out-of-touch Obion County Republican praises communist China’s government-run economy within a day of 1,900 factory workers in his hometown losing their jobs through no fault of their own. Rep. Bill Sanderson, on a trip to China, marveled at the “smooth and efficient” Chinese government. Impressed by the government-run economy, the Republican said China has “taken what we do and are now doing it better.” Yes, Mr. Sanderson, the Chinese are taking what we are doing, like the 1,900 jobs at the Goodyear plant in Union City. But Mr. Sanderson, they will never do it better than Americans. [Bill Sanderson Blog, July 11]

Republican politicians may be proud of their party’s scandals, embarrassing gaffes and out-of-touch policies, but Tennesseans aren’t laughing.

We are looking to add 100 new grassroots donors for the month of July.  Click here to help today with a gift of $5 and show your support for returning to common sense and effective leadership in Tennessee.

It’s time to shutdown Crazytown.  With your help, we can do it.

Thanks for all you do,

Chip Forrester
Chairman, Tennessee Democratic Party