Archive for the ‘caps on damages’ Category

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.

Haslam Signed Law That Places Price on Life

Thursday, June 16th, 2011
job counter

Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law today his pet project to take away a jury's power in cases where citizens are harmed by businesses. He says it will create jobs. We're keeping track.

The Republican-dominated legislature passed and Gov. Bill Haslam signed into a law a measure that caps damages awarded to victims of horrific accidents, medical malpractice and other life-changing injuries. Mr. Haslam said perverting the justice system would “create jobs” — we’re holding him to it. 

Republicans said their plan to protect insurance companies profits and reckless corporations will increase business prospects in Tennessee, despite the fact that after eight years of Democratic leadership, Tennessee is already continually ranked one of the best states to do business.

An Associated Press story noted that last year in Tennessee, only 14 trials exceeded the proposed caps, meaning there would be no radical change to the state’s job creation climate, as supporters claim. There is no evidence that Tennessee juries have been tossing about outrageous awards, however, or that businesses were afraid to move here because of it.

So instead, Republicans put a price on life. $29 a day for the lifetime of a 20-year-old girl who had suffered just such an injury, Democratic state Sen. Roy Herron pointed out.

“Today state lawmakers put a price on the life of our children. They put a price on the life of our parents and grandparents. They put a price on the life of the weak, the paralyzed, the neglected — all under the guise of economic development,” Senator Eric Stewart of Belvidere said.

FACTS:

Caps on jury awards was Haslam’s pet project, perhaps because his multi-million dollar business is tied up in a lawsuit stemming from a citizen being killed at a Pilot gas station owned by the governor. [WSMV.com, 3/2/11]

Under Haslam leadership, the unemployment rate jumped in June for a third straight month. [wrcbtv.com, 6/16/11]