Archive for the ‘bill haslam’ 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.

Bill Haslam’s Crusade Against the Middle Class

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

tndp logoBrandon Puttbrese was the Communications Director for the TNDP. Our families should be working their way into the middle class, not falling out of it. Tennesseans used to know that if they worked hard and played by the rules, they’d be able to care of their families, send their kids to college, and have a secure retirement, but today, the rules have been rewritten by lobbyists for the wealthy and well connected.
We have to reclaim security for working families and we can do it by restoring Tennessee values. To make progress for all Tennesseans, we must: put an end to the extremism and corruption in the government; invest in our future by rewarding hard work, expanding quality health care to all Tennesseans; and make sure everyone, from CEOs to working families, does their fair share and plays by the rules.

We’re not going to cut our way to prosperity or build a stronger middle class by giving more tax breaks to big corporations and millionaires. To expand the middle class, we must encourage and support our innovators, educators and builders. We need an economy that creates jobs of the future and rewards all hard-working Tennesseans — not one built on inside deals for well-connected CEOs and risky handouts for big special interests that threaten our entire economy and shortchange working and middle class families.

We need to restore security for the middle class and create an economy that rewards hard-working families. Instead, Bill Haslam has rubberstamped an extreme agenda that doesn’t create jobs and pushed top-down economic policies that pad his own pockets, reward his wealthy friends and damage the middle class.
Haslam’s tax plan will rack up $1 billion worth of massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, while he’s made big cuts to children’s services, higher education, health care, public safety and programs that help Tennesseans find work.

Bill Haslam has doubled-down on extreme policies that hurt working and middle class Tennesseans — denying 400,000 citizens fully funded Medicaid coverage, letting big business and lobbyists write their own rules, cutting programs that invest in workers and their families, and eliminating rules and oversight that hold government officials accountable.

Haslam’s anti-public school policies fail our students and threaten our state economy—cutting teacher salaries, over-relying on expensive standardized testing, and diverting funds away from public schools to an out-of-state, for-profit corporation that streams classes on the internet.

Not only did Haslam pass the biggest budget in Tennessee history, Haslam’s corrupt inside dealing outsourced hundreds of Tennessee jobs and directed hundreds of millions worth of state contracts to business partners and wealthy campaign contributors.

Haslam made his fortune at Pilot Oil, where he and his family have made millions from a scheme that preyed on their own customers. Pilot Oil executives have admitted stealing from truck drivers and even targeting honest, hard-working new Americans.

Haslam has rubberstamped an extreme tea party agenda that doesn’t create jobs and, worse yet, harms security working and middle class families; from Haslam’s discriminatory voter ID law and guns in parking lots (even when business owners don’t want them) to defunding Planned Parenthood and eliminating workplace protections for LGBT Tennesseans.
Bill Haslam’s special interest dealing and constant secrecy proves he can’t be trusted. He won’t come clean about his secret relationships with high-powered lobbyists and he’s still hiding his income tax returns because he pays a lower rate than working Tennesseans. If we can’t trust him to be honest about his dealings, how can he be trusted to build a stronger middle class?

WEAKENING MIDDLE CLASS SECURITYRebuilding a fair economy that strengthens the middle class by attracting good American jobs investing in education, and expanding access to affordable health care should be our top priority. But Bill Haslam has a different view. Haslam slashed security for working families, rigged the rules to favor big special interests, and cut programs that strengthen the middle class. Instead of asking everyone to do their fair share, Haslam gave the wealthy and big corporations massive new tax breaks and hopes that job growth will trickle down from the top.

Hurt Working Families to Pad Profits for Corporate Special InterestsIf we’re going to build a fair economy, big corporations and wealthy CEOs have to play by the same rules as working families and the middle class. Bill Haslam and lobbyists have re-written the rules to put profits for special interests ahead of working families.

• Good-paying jobs are key for middle class security, but Haslam has signed multiple laws that drive down the wages of working men and women.

o Haslam eliminated prevailing wage rules on state contracts, which allows wealthy contractors to pad their profits by slashing the wages of workers.

o Haslam repealed local wage ordinances, boosting profits by cutting worker pay back to $7.25 an hour.

• One of Bill Haslam’s signature laws doesn’t put one more Tennessean back on the job, but it does cut payments to workers who get hurt on the job — by a third.

o It’s already difficult to make ends meet when a family member is out of work. Haslam’s new law not only increases bureaucratic red tape and burdens working families, it gives businesses a new financial incentive to fire injured workers.

• In Bill Haslam’s world, special interests don’t have to play by the same rules as the hard-working middle class. Haslam’s cap on damages law shields irresponsible and reckless businesses that injure and kill Tennesseans from being held fully accountable in court.

o By putting a price tag on Tennesseans, the law protects profits for businesses and corporations that harm our families. Haslam signed the measure into law even while his multi-billion dollar company Pilot Flying J faced lawsuits for negligence.

Eliminated Programs that Put Tennesseans Back to Work
With more than a quarter million Tennesseans looking for jobs, we need to build an economy that rewards responsibility and increases opportunity for our families. Bill Haslam’s top-down agenda has boosted profits for his business friends and out-of-state corporations while cutting programs that help hard-working families find jobs. As a result, there are more Tennesseans looking for good jobs today than there was a year ago.

• To date, Bill Haslam has blocked Medicaid expansion, a move that would create 18,000 good-paying jobs and provide a billion dollar boost to Tennessee’s health care economy.

• Instead of bolstering efforts to get Tennesseans back work, Bill Haslam shut down 34 career centers that helped citizens find and apply for jobs. The change in priorities means residents in 34 counties will have to drive elsewhere to get help with creating and posting resumes, skills training and other job-finding services.

• With unemployment rising in the state, the Haslam administration eliminated a rapid-response team that helped workers caught in mass lay-offs prepare for new jobs.

• Haslam fired 71 Economic and Community Development workers who assisted city and county leaders in planning for new growth. The move passed planning expenses onto local taxpayers.

Destabilizing Public Schools, Shortchanging StudentsThere is nothing more important to our economy than educating our children, and that’s not going to happen if we overcrowd our classrooms and divert money away from public schools. Preparing the next generation of leaders and innovators begins at home, but our public schoolteachers play a vital role in equipping our kids with the skills and knowledge they need to compete for the good-paying jobs of tomorrow. Bill Haslam’s top-down privatization agenda threatens our students’ economic future by driving away high-quality teachers and leaving our public schools less secure.

• Bill Haslam’s first education decision put a commissioner with only three years of classroom experience — Kevin Huffman — in charge of a $6 billion education budget.

o This shortsighted experiment has been a costly and abject failure for students. The top-down management style of Haslam’s education commissioner has drawn the ire of school superintendents, educators and parents, crashed morale, and driven away high-quality teachers.

o In September 2013, nearly half of the superintendents in the state signed a letter to Haslam saying educators did not “feel respected or valued” by his administration and that teachers felt “voiceless and powerless.”

• Our kids need great teachers, and we’re not going to recruit and retain those teachers if Haslam’s administration keeps attacking them. In 2011, Haslam signed a law taking away teachers’ right to negotiate together for decent wages and benefits, small class sizes and the kind of things only teachers know about like what works best in the classroom.

o The next year, Haslam proposed increasing classroom sizes — meaning your kids would get less one-on-one time with their teachers.

o While Haslam gave tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, his administration cut teaching salaries and financial incentives for teachers who earn advanced degrees.

o Haslam instituted a flawed teacher evaluation system that scores more than half of educators on the test scores of kids they don’t even teach; Haslam’s new mandates put less focus on student learning and more focus on bureaucratic paperwork.

o Rather than attracting great educators, Haslam’s top-down orders are costing us great teachers. In 2010, the year preceding Bill Haslam and Commissioner Kevin Huffman taking office, 1,524 teachers retired; by 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 2,197 teachers retired — a stunning 44 percent increase. In 2012, one in five teachers who were eligible for retirement did so, approximately double the rate in 2010.

• Even though a standardized test never taught a child anything, Haslam’s administration has doubled down on high-stakes testing — at a cost of nearly $200 million year. Haslam’s top-down education policies are robbing students of critical thinking and forcing schools to “teach to the test.” Too many of our tax dollars are going to investors when they should be spent on students.

• Bill Haslam put corporate profits ahead of our children’s education. Instead of investing in small class sizes or expanding pre-K, Haslam diverted millions of tax dollars from public schools to a for-profit corporation that streams lessons to students over the internet.

o Last year students enrolled in Haslam’s for-profit school showed less growth than students in every other public school in the state.

o Haslam’s for-profit school scheme has failed students two years in a row. News reporters even caught the company deleting the bad test grades of students.

o Haslam’s own education commissioner called the for-profit school’s performance “unacceptable.” But instead of holding the for-profit school accountable for failing students, Haslam signed a new law protecting their multi-million dollar contract.
• When we should be strengthening public schools, Bill Haslam has proposed privatization schemes — like private school vouchers — that divert money away from public schools and have failed to deliver on the results that were promised wherever they were tried.

• Bill Haslam punished students by cutting $3.4 million from Nashville schools because the elected school board refused the application of a well-connected charter school. In retaliation, his administration then supported efforts to strip local school boards of the authority to approve charter school applications.

• On top of diverting money from public schools and undermining the educators who are shaping our students, Haslam’s top-down approach ignores the harsh realities facing Tennessee families:

o We will improve education by improving the lives of children. One out of four children in Tennessee live in poverty and Haslam signed a law to cut benefits for the children of Tennesseans who are out of work.

o More than 40 percent of expecting mothers in Tennessee don’t receive adequate pre-natal care. And while healthy mothers raise healthy children, Haslam has blocked funding to expand Medicaid, which could extend quality health coverage to 191,000 women in Tennessee.

• If Tennessee is going to win the good-paying jobs of the future and strengthen our economy, we must increase graduation rates at our colleges and community colleges. Unfortunately, Haslam’s plans are putting a good education out of reach thousands of Tennesseans.
o Under Bill Haslam, tuition rates have increased on working and middle class families in Tennessee every year, saddling students with more debt that hurts our economy.

o While tuition rates in Tennessee are increasing faster than most of the country, Haslam has slashed funding for higher education.

o Instead of investing in Tennessee colleges or in students by lowering tuition costs, Bill Haslam spent $5 million to advertise for an out-of-state, online college.

Blocking Health Care Security
Instead of working to strengthen Medicaid and improve access to affordable health care for all families, Bill Haslam has cut funding for important health care programs. Access to affordable, quality health care is key to building a stronger middle class, but Bill Haslam has made it harder for Tennessee families to get the care they need.

• Haslam opposed the Affordable Care Act and has blocked federal funds to expand Medicaid, an expansion that could extend quality health coverage to more than 330,000 working Tennesseans and invest billions in Tennessee’s economy.
o If Haslam continues blocking Medicaid expansion, more Tennesseans will die because they lack health coverage. Studies show Medicaid expansion would save lives; health coverage especially helps poor women and children in rural counties, the elderly, and black Tennesseans.

o Bill Haslam’s decision to deny working families Medicaid coverage has already caused hospitals to shut down programs and fire thousands of workers, which has costs our economy millions. Haslam’s continued indifference puts more than 50 hospitals at risk of closing, a shameful scenario that threatens to make health care less accessible to the rural families who need it.

o Haslam’s inaction on Medicaid is punishing the poor. 161,000 Tennesseans in working poor families who would qualify for Medicaid coverage will have nowhere to turn but emergency rooms, which hurts our hospitals and our economy.

• After spending $10 million of taxpayer money to study health exchanges, Bill Haslam evaded his responsibility to Tennesseans when he decided against building a locally operated health insurance marketplace that would help our families get insured.

• Instead of working to solve health care problems facing Tennesseans, Haslam opposed the Affordable Care Act and would:
o allow insurance companies to deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition, putting as many as 2.8 million Tennesseans at risk;

o re-institute lifetime caps on coverage, meaning those with long-term and life threatening illnesses may be cut off from their coverage;

o take away free preventive health care screenings like mammograms for women;

o no longer allow young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26;
o charge women up to 50 percent more for their coverage than men.

• As governor, Haslam cut funding for a program to aid Tennesseans with disabilities.

Slashing the Safety Net for Seniors
Tennesseans who’ve worked their whole lives deserve dignity in their golden years — they’ve earned it, and they deserve it. But to pay for his massive tax giveaways for corporations and the wealthy, Haslam slashed vital programs that Tennessee seniors rely on for a secure retirement.

• Bill Haslam cut millions from in-home care for seniors, forcing elderly Tennesseans out of the home they have lived in for years and into nursing homes.

• Haslam supports repealing the health reform law that has strengthened Medicare and saved Tennessee seniors $109 million on life-saving prescription drugs.

Wing Nut Legislation from Nashville

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

One can only be amazed at the break neck speed with which the wing nut legislation is moving through Nashville. There is no longer need for debate or logic, ignorance based bills are passed in record time, most recently, one bill passed in six minutes, there is no longer need for intelligent discussion.

After two years of working hard for lobbyists, the Tennessee legislator has moved Tennessee into the national lime light of ignorance. The race to the bottom by the backwoods boys of the Tennessee legislator has paid off; Tennessee has become the blunt of jokes on a weekly basis on late night sitcoms. The wealth of ignorance by the legislation has produced a wind fall of material for late night comedians and national news networks.

Legislators like Marsh Blackburn have become regulars on news stations, as she insists the good people of Tennessee love the Sequester, the Sequester what will eventually give Tennesseans 40,000 lay off slips.

After four years of struggle, while unemployment moves upward across the state, the Tennessee House of Representatives capped off four years of foolishness with their signature bill that would let handgun owners with permits carry their weapons in their cars anywhere they go, putting an apparent end to a four-year fight between business owners and gun rights advocates.

Other bills like “don’t say gay” have gained even more national recognition and laughter. The more Tennessee is associated with bigotry, intolerance and ignorance, the more we are dragged down, economically and socially. What employer wants to relocate to a state that guts education and condemns science and technology?

Sadly, the current work of the legislature is focused on gutting workers compensation. Basis protection to workers who become injured at work will likely be dismantled when this legislation is rushed through without discussion or regret.

Other legislation moves toward gutting public education in the state. TNGOP touted K12 “virtual schools”, the savior of education, even as administrators of these schools were instructing teachers to delete and hide the falling grades of the students involved in this “voodoo” education option.

If you don’t like the K12 option, you can always go with the school voucher scam. Lobbyists are lining up to get their hands on tax payer education dollars in Tennessee. They want to pilfer, plunder, and profit from the privatization of public schools and the pickpocketing of public funds.

On another note, in the coming weeks, Gov. Bill Haslam and the state legislature will be making a decision on whether to fully implement the Affordable Care Act by expanding TennCare, our Medicaid program. It’s a decision that will have long-term effects on health care for working families and a huge impact on our state economy.

The legislation from Nashville affects every aspect of your life, from your education to your job, from your standard of living to your wellbeing as a senior citizen. If you don’t pay attention to laws that affect you, you will find yourselves with no “safety net” protection.

Exchange We Can Believe In

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Wade Munday is a writer in Nashville. Governor Bill Haslam caved to the far right wing of his party over the decision for Tennessee to set up a state-based health insurance exchange. He says federal government can’t do for Tennesseans that which we can do for ourselves, and yet he’s going to allow the federal government to set up our exchange for us anyways. He is becoming a case study in self-contradiction. It is no more comforting that the ones making up his mind antagonize the same government that encourages free market principles by creating this health exchange. During a holiday season of giving, they bemoan the idea of limited government that helps the most vulnerable, and expensive, people in society. If you want government out of YOUR life, then couldn’t you achieve that by having government involved in the lives of others less fortunate? But that’s more about Medicaid expansion.

The federal government is willing to set up a health exchange for us, and we should be thrilled to accept it. If left to the legislature in this state, then the health insurance exchange could just as easily serve as the list of companies who contributed the most to Republican candidates in the last election.

Not so long ago Tennessee was a land of barefoot farmers and outhouses, and then Tennesseans’ lives were transformed by a federal project that brought rural electricity. That big government project saved a lot of lives, improved our prospects for lengthened life, and improved the lives of future generations. There’s a statue in downtown Nashville that shows a TVA man standing watch over an impoverished family, a single mother and her children. In those days, the federal government was concerned with the quaint notion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of indoor plumbing because, let’s face it, dysentery isn’t a way to happiness.

The decision not to set up a state-based health exchange for Republican Bill Haslam was a political calculation, another weak response to an established conservative legislature that doesn’t need to respond to the interests of the supermajority of Tennesseans that elected them. Instead, they and their governor are content to divine what’s best for their careers by sticking their thumbs in the political winds to see which way it blows. Unfortunately, most of us in this state are standing downwind.

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!

GOP LAW CRUSHES OCCUPY NASHVILLE

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Tennessee Republican lawmakers voted today to remove Occupy Nashville encampment from the state Capitol. The House vote imposes long jail sentences for violators of the law.

Republican dominated Committees in the state Senate and House of Representatives recently approved a ban on unauthorized camping on public grounds. The vote by the House today ends the Occupy Nashville occupation of the War Memorial and strike a blow against the Constitution and Tennesseans rights.

The Republican minions of the 1%ers in Tennessee will do everything in their power to crush any effort to expose the injustice to those whom make up the 99%. In Tennessee, the defender of the 1% is Ron Ramsey and the GOP.

The bill’s sponsors claim in both committee hearings that the protesters have been a source of trouble.

Representatives for Occupy Nashville responded that they have asked police to arrest lawbreakers but have instead seen the presence of law enforcement disappear. They said their camp was form of free speech.

The bill bans camping in areas that have not been designated for it. The measure will also allow authorities to confiscate items such as sleeping bags, cooking equipment, tents and tarps if they believe they are being used in violation of the law.

The bill includes penalties that are a Class A misdemeanor, which carries the toughest penalties short of a felony — up to a $2,500 fine or 11 months, 29 days in jail.

Representatives for Occupy Nashville said the measure effectively allows jailing the homeless for nearly a year.

Haslam’s office had remained neutral on the bill but his administration attempted to oust the encampment in October, when he sent in hundreds of State Troopers to deal with 50 protesters. A federal judge intervened, saying authorities had not followed proper rule-making procedures and risked violating protesters’ rights. The administration backed down.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the Senate speaker, said in a statement that he hoped the bill would hasten an end to the occupation. “Liberal judges here in Nashville and on the federal bench can try and twist the law however they want but the reality is clear: this occupation has gone beyond speech and assembly and become an embarrassment — both to causes Occupy purports to support and the state of Tennessee at large.”

Nationally, Ron Ramsey continues to be a total embarrassment to the state of Tennessee with his backwoods views on fascist style laws and beliefs.

Under Ramsey’s leadership you can now carry a gun anywhere in Tennessee but you can’t camp!

FASCISM: TNGOP STYLE

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Tennesseans have reason to be concerned by recent statements by state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey about open government, loss of freedoms and the state’s open meetings law.

Ramsey said in an interview with The Associated Press in December that he thinks elected officials should have more freedom to have some discussions “in secret” outside of official public meetings.

Ramsey said he is in favor of open government and added, “But there’s got to be some kind of little something to allow people to talk without the fear that they’re going to be prosecuted.”

This last statement is void of logic and is a backwoods scare tactic to generate excuses to weaken Tennessee’s Sunshine law. Ramsey and his cronies want secret meetings void of any ethical oversight. One must ask why Tennessee Republicans want secret meetings. What is it they have to hide?

Ramsey’s comments come in the shadows of recent discussion by the Tennessee County Commissioners Association that would allow elected officials to meet privately and hold secret meetings void of any disclosure to the public about the public’s business.

It is expected that Republicans will submit a proposal in the form of a bill for consideration by the state legislature this year. Ramsey plans promise 2012 will get even darker for Tennesseans.

It is obvious that Ramsey’s comments, and the proposal itself, represent a danger to open government, ethics, accountability and the public trust.

The fear of prosecution that Ramsey brings up is not based in fact. It is simply based on lies.

Tennessee’s open meetings law applies specifically to meetings during which public officials deliberate about the people’s business. The Sunshine law was created in 1974, by the Democratic Legislature, to insure officials are, conducting the people’s business, making decisions on how to spend our taxpayer money and directing policy that will govern publicly funding employees and agencies in an open ethical manner.

Governor Bill Haslam said that he opposes the proposed change to the Sunshine law. Without this law, small groups of elected officials can meet privately “in secret” to debate an issue(s), with no regard to public interest and open honest government.

Commissioners in several counties have approved resolutions backing the changes. Similar resolutions have failed in other counties including Unicoi County.

On two recent occasions, Tennessee has been in the national spotlight on MSNBC. Sadly, under the actions of Ron Ramsey, Bill Haslam and the Republican Legislature, Tennessee is now the number 1 state in loss of freedoms in the United States.

The Tennessee GOP has attacked Teachers right to collective bargaining; enacted voter suppression laws that discriminate against senior citizens, college students, minorities and the handicapped, cut out early voting; restricted legal remedy for injury in the work place or because of unsafe products; capped damages for injury or death because of unsafe products, and they are currently gerrymandering voting districts by redistricting that will discriminate against minorities.

The Tennessee Republicans overreach and attack on Tennesseans brings a whole new meaning to living in a “red” state.

Occupy Bill Haslam

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Wade Munday is a writer in Nashville. When Bill Haslam was elected the 52nd Governor of Tennessee, he was chided quite often for running a vacuous campaign. It can be argued he is either a prop of the Republican political machine in the state or he is bland. Television ads are designed to say as little as possible in 30 seconds or less, but Haslam’s ads weren’t as educational as a pillow fight with Kim Kardashian. One ad showed the former Macy’s executive talking about bringing down healthcare costs-something he failed to do during his first legislative session and something he has no answer for. In his ubiquitous gray suit and black backdrop, the Governor looks downright affable even if he doesn’t seem to have much substance. He’s a nice guy one assumes. A very wealthy, nice guy.

But now amidst the Occupy Nashville protests/ encampments/ Southern Festival of Books patrons, Bill Haslam has verified that no matter how friendly he is he is not that smart. Sending 75 State Troopers to arrest a handful of tame protesters takes Zach Wamp’s statement, “I’ll meet President Obama at the border,” to an entirely different level. If this weren’t a group of “ordinary-looking” Tennesseans but let’s say a group of Muslims protesting the state’s overzealous approach in attempting to impinge upon their inherent rights as citizens, what would Haslam do? I would like to think state-funded evangelists would be deployed to save souls, but in reality I think he’d send in the National Guard. He’d do that because he doesn’t know what else to do.

In his first term in office he was manhandled by the National Rifle Association and others. He might be Governor of Tennessee, but he has no more authority than Kim Kardashian armed with a pillow. (She’s really taking a beating in this post.) By presiding over a nationally-mocked Legislative session with bills such as “Guns in Bars,” he’s proven that he can be little more than a puppet. By cowering in front of 54 protesters and ordering their arrest, he’s shown a lack of understanding of basic human rights and freedoms of speech. In this episode where he threatens and arrests protesters in a public space, the means defile the end. He ignited a fire under the rumps of Tennesseans concerned with their right to protest, and he lost this first political battle among citizens, not legislators, of Tennessee. Not a smart move for someone called Governor.