Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tennessee Delegation Elects Convention Chair & Committee Members

TNGOP Press Release, NASHVILLE, Tenn.-April 28, 2016— The Republican delegation from Tennessee met today to elect the Convention Chairman for the delegation as well as elect committee members for the four standing committees of the Republican National Convention.

The results are as follows:
  • Chairman - State Senator Mae Beavers
  • Credential Committee - Linda Buckles and Chris Hughes
  • Permanent Organization Committee - Beth Campbell and Chad Blackburn
  • Platform Committee - Connie Hunter and Ambassador Victor Ashe
  • Rules Committee - Betty Cannon and John Ryder
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes remarked, "I am so pleased to serve alongside all of our delegates at the 2016 Republican National Convention. I'd like to personally congratulate Senator Beavers and the rest of our newly-elected committee members."
The responsibilities of the committees are:
Committee on Credentials
The Credentials Committee will receive the credentials of each delegate filed in accordance with the Rules and submit the temporary roll of the convention, which will have been previously reviewed by the RNC.  The Credentials Committee may hear and resolve appeals to the ruling of any contest adjudicated by the RNC Committee on Contests as to the seating of delegates to the convention.

Committee on Permanent Organization
The RNC Chairman recommends a number of convention officers, including the Permanent and Temporary Chairmen, the Secretary and the Sergeant-at-Arms.  The Permanent Organization Committee will meet at the beginning of the convention to review the slate and make its recommendation to the convention.
Committee on the Platform
The Committee on the Platform submits resolutions to the full convention body to be voted on as the official platform.  The Republican Platform is a formal declaration of the principles of the Republican Party.
Committee on Rules and Order of Business
The Convention Rules Committee will draft the rules for the 2016 Republican National Convention, which must be adopted by a majority vote of the full convention body.

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Mayor Barry Promotes “Growth with Intention” Budget

Mayor Barry’s first State of Metro focuses on key priorities of education, transportation, and affordable housing to promote equitable growth and development
 
Press Release, 4/29/2016, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Megan Barry delivered her first State of Metro Address today at Ascend Amphitheater before a crowd of more than 1,500 people, pledging to use $121 million in new revenue to make key investments in education, transportation, affordable housing and Metro employees.

Citing Nashville’s record-breaking economic growth as the reason she could introduce a budget that includes no new taxes and grows our fund balance, Mayor Barry said the city needs to strive for “growth with intention, growth with purpose, growth with design and direction.”

“I believe that growth can be equitable, that it can be sustainable, that it can be about people as much as buildings, that it can truly touch the entire community – but only if we guide it and manage it,” Mayor Barry said. “And that’s what we are doing here, with this budget. We are investing new revenues into our people. We are addressing those areas that success has often left behind.
“This budget is about growing the city we want Nashville to be.”

Topping $2 billion for the first time and representing a 6.1 percent increase over the current fiscal year, the budget Mayor Barry is recommending to the Metro Council calls for:
  • $33 million in new revenues for Metro Nashville Public Schools, including funding for teacher pay increases to make the school district more competitive with peer cities; additional investments in literacy programs, and resources for English Language Learners.
  • $2.6 million to fund youth employment opportunities, additional after-school programs, and juvenile justice initiatives.
  • A $10 million increase in the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, which is by far the largest investment in the fund since its creation in 2013 and will increase its balance to $16 million.
  • A 3.1 percent across-the-board salary increase for Metro employees, combined with adjustments to the city’s pay plan to bring pay grades to market rate.
  • Opening more Nashville Public Library branches on Fridays.
Mayor Barry also highlighted the need to move toward a bold, comprehensive transit plan that will help people move around the growing Nashville region efficiently and build on the city’s recent economic gains.

“The good news is we’re a vibrant, growing community,” she said. “But people need to be able to move about our region, and laying down more asphalt is not a viable option in most places. Cars aren’t going away, but we need to provide better alternatives to cars, so that more people will choose to move about Middle Tennessee without one.”

The Mayor’s capital spending plan, which will be released in May, will include investments to:
  • Spend $40 million to start work on a new Hillsboro High School.
  • Spend $60 million on sidewalks and road paving.
  • Expand our network of greenways.
  • Construct a new library in Donelson.
  • Build the Smith Springs Community Center in Southeast Nashville.
Metro Finance Director Talia Lomax-O’dneal will deliver a more in-depth presentation of the budget proposal to the Metro Council at 1:30PM today in the David Scobey Council Chamber in the Historic Metro Courthouse. Following delivery of the Mayor’s budget proposal, the Council and the Budget & Finance Committee will conduct public hearings as well as hearings with each individual department. The Council is required to pass a balanced budget by June 30, or the Mayor’s recommended budget proposal goes into effect by default. 

The State of Metro ceremony featured Grammy-winning guitarist Peter Frampton, a Nashville resident who remains one of the most celebrated artists and guitarists in rock history. At 16, he was lead singer and guitarist for British band the Herd. His session work includes collaborations with such legendary artists as George Harrison, Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, John Entwistle and many others. His fifth solo album, the electrifying “Frampton Comes Alive!” is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and remains one of the top-selling live records of all time. Frampton’s latest release, “Acoustic Classics,” features stripped-down versions of his classic hits such as “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Lines On My Face,” “Do You Feel Like I Do,” “Show Me The Way” and many more.

Nashville’s 2016 Youth Poet Laureate, Cassidy Martin, read her poem “Nashvillian,” which details her route through Nashville, pointing out the beauty and security she finds within the city’s hidden treasures. Cassidy has been writing since early middle school. She is a graduate of Jere Baxter Middle School and a sophomore at Nashville Big Picture High School. 

The marching bands from Antioch, Hunters Lane and McGavock high schools also performed, and four faith leaders read blessings for the city in English, Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Not “Red” but “ROTTEN to the Roots” says Rocky Top Politics. Beth Campbell called out for her support of Walker Ferrell.

Rocky Top Politics is continuing to milk the TNGOP Ferrell scandal for all it is worth but they really haven't turned up anything new. They have called out SEC member Beth Campbell for her defense of Walker Ferrell. To summarize what the scandal is all about, Waller Ferrell is the Political Director of the TNGOP and he is married to Taylor Ferrell.  Taylor Ferrell has a contract with the Party to provide logistics support for the Party, having to do with the upcoming convention, things like arranging travel and such.  Taylor Ferrell also has a political consulting business called Southland Advantage that raises money for candidates seeking office.  Some of her clients are running in the primary against incumbent Republican office holders. A bunch of Republican office holders signed a letter calling for Walter Ferrell's resignation. To see who signed the letter and for more on this follow this link.


Beth Campbell is a member of the SEC and she has pointing out that Taylor Ferrell is not a Party employee but a contract employee and that she can have what ever clients she wants.  RTP has taken her to task for that position (link).  I consider Beth Campbell my friend but I think she is wrong on this count. I agree with RTP.   The difference between being a contract service provider and an employee is a distinction without a difference. In my view even if Taylor Ferrell did not have a contract with the Party, I still think what she is doing is wrong.  When a couple are married they share information and income. If  Walker Ferrell's wife is earning money representing clients seeking to defeat incumbent Republican office holders, that is a conflict.  It may not technically violate a rule, but it ought to.  I am not buying the argument that who Taylor Ferrell has as her clients is her business.

As distasteful as this situation is, I am equally concerned about a current member of the Executive Committee who has actually been a paid campaigner working to elect a Democrat to office while serving as a member of the Party and who had access to Party strategy and had a vote in determining how much money to appropriate to fund the Republican he was working to defeat. I am speaking of Mark Winslow.

To me, it does not matter which faction of the party one identifies with or who you are trying to oust.  It does not matter if you are part of the "establishment"  or the insurgent conservative faction, the principle should be the same.  If you are a County Chairman, or a member of the Executive Committee or an employee of the Party you should not engage in primary campaigns and you should certainly not be working to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans.  And your spouse should not be doing so either. I know people have to earn a living, but if you earn your living helping people get elected to office and that conflicts with your position with the Party, you should resign your position with the Party.  One cannot serve two masters. That is the same principle whether you are Mark Winslow or Walter Ferrell.

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Governor Haslam's wrap-up of this legislative session. Main accomplishments are education and fiscal strength.

From Governor Bill Haslam:
The General Assembly adjourned this month, and for Tennesseans who don’t follow news out of the State Capitol every day, I think you can take away two main things from this session: education and fiscal strength.

First, we’re making the largest investment in K-12 without a tax increase in Tennessee’s history and reorganizing our higher ed structure in Tennessee in the best way to increase student success and the number of Tennesseans with a degree or certificate.

Second, as I spend time with other governors I’m reminded how fortunate we are as a state to be passing a balanced budget this early in the year, to be taking on no new debt, to have no transportation debt, to be in a position to fund priorities and add to our savings account to prepare for uncertain times down the road. We can’t take any of that for granted. 

Click here to see our end of session press conference and here to read about our legislative agenda and budget highlights.

***

Our jobs momentum continued in a strong way this month. You’ve probably heard me say that today more Tennesseans have a job than at any point in state history. We’re no. 1 in the Southeast and no. 2 in the United States for job growth over the last year. We also learned this month that our March unemployment rate of 4.5 percent is below the national average (5 percent) and the lowest it’s been in Tennessee since June 2007.  We had several significant economic announcements and events in April, including:


April 13: Hankook Tire America Corp announced it will locate its North American headquarters in Nashville, investing $5 million and creating up to 200 jobs in Davidson County.

April 15: We celebrated the opening of Beretta’s state-of-the-art facility in Gallatin.

April 18: Wacker Chemie AG officially opened its new polysilicon production site in Charleston, Tenn.

April 26: Academy Sports + Outdoors opened its 1.6 million square foot facility in Cookeville.

April 27: General Motors announced it will invest $788 million and create 780 new jobs at its Spring Hill manufacturing plant.
These companies could go anywhere, and were incredibly grateful they have chosen to invest and create jobs in Tennessee. The reason? We’re a low-tax, low-debt, strategically located state that is the first in the nation to offer high school graduates last dollar scholarships to attend community or technical college free of tuition and fees.

And along those lines, we got very encouraging news this month as it relates to our Drive to 55 to equip 55 percent of Tennesseans with a degree or certificate:

Eighty-one percent of the 2015-16 class of Tennessee Promise students returned for the spring semester after beginning classes last fall. (Read more: http://www.tn.gov/governor/news/39429)

And, Tennessee is again no. 1 in the nation for FAFSA filings – a great indication that we are expanding college access in Tennessee.   (Read more: http://aheadoftheheard.org/2016-fafsa-completion-rates-by-state/)

***
A few other highlights from the month:
April 4: We welcomed the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women to the State Capitol
April 6: We broke ground on the new Tennessee State Museum on the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville (Click here for video highlights from the ceremony featuring Pulitzer-prize winning author and historian Jon Meacham)
April 25: We announced Decatur County, Dyer County, Jackson-Madison County and Germantown as “Healthier Tennessee Communities,” and I administered Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Roger Page’s oath of office at a packed ceremony in Mifflin
Crissy has continued to work hard promoting our statewide Read to be Ready literacy campaign. This month she visited schools and read to students in Chester, Henderson, Decatur, McNairy, DeKalb, White, Clay and Overton counties with a goal of promoting literacy in all 95 counties by the end of the year.
Thanks for your interest and feel free to let me know any feedback at bill.haslam@tn.gov
Bill

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

About the shooting at the MTA downtown bus terminal

Gun control advocates such as Mayor Barry have not let the opportunity to blame the downtown shooting at the MTA bus terminal on guns, saying the incident is a"tragic reminder of the plague of gun violence in our society." The gun did not fire itself'; someone had to pick it up and pull the trigger.

I think the shooting at the MTA bus terminal is a reminder of the consequences of the welfare state which produced a generation of alienated kids born to unwed mothers.  This is what happens when we promote policies that destroy the family. We can each draw our own "reminder" but in any case we can agree that what happened is a tragedy.

If one thinks the problem is unwed mothers and the welfare stare or it one thinks it is guns, there is no short-term solution to either problem. Even if we agreed on the problem, the solution would be long-term. We cannot however wait long-term and we cannot pretend the problem is not real.  A report on the problem of youth violence in Nashville states that over the past five years, 16,955 violent incidents in Nashville involved youth. Last year, among the country's 50 largest cities, Nashville ranked second in the highest percentage increase in homicides — from 41 in 2014 to 78 in 2015. Of those, 55 percent of the perpetrators were 25 years old or younger, and half those killed were younger than 25. African-American males are disproportionately involved in the crimes,  both in terms of victims and those arrested.

The report refers to youth violence as an “epidemic” with a range of root causes: joblessness and poverty; poor educational opportunities; a lack of adult role models; barriers to re-entry for those who have been incarcerated; and a cycle of trauma and violence. (link)

Barry has proposed a series of steps to address the issue of youth violence.  "By 2017, I want 10,000 of our youth to have an engaged opportunity that includes a paid internship," Barry has said (link). I don't know that this or any other part of her plan will make a difference, but it might and I hope it does.  Maybe if a kid born in poverty to a single mother has a job they will, if only for that crucial period of their teen years, have hope and maybe they will have influences other than their peers who are urging them to deal dope and commit robberies.

I don't think government can replace the function of that most basic building block of society, the family. I don't think government can build character and instill values that the family should be doing,  but in looking for short-term solutions maybe providing internship to youth will help. I think we could get more impact by rapidly expanding charter schools.  Charter schools have had remarkable success in producing successful college-bound graduates where that demographic would predict school drop outs and criminals.

Maybe, also increasing policing would help and paying for youth informants would help. I don't know the solution but think a multi-prong approach which includes charter schools is what is needed. I agree we should be doing something. 

One thing the mayor is doing that I think is actually counter productive is hosting a "Stand Against Racism" rally. She should not be fanning the flames of racial animosity and telling Black young people that they are victims. The mayor should cancel the "Stand Against Racism" rally and host a "Stand Against Violence" rally.


 Below is more on the recent shooting at the MTA bus terminal.

It could have been my kids. 

 Press Release Jackson Miller- There was a shooting this afternoon at the downtown bus station. It happened at a time when many Nashville students transfer from the MTA bus that picked them up from school... onto the MTA bus that will take them home. I know, because 3 of my sons were there.

They're there everyday, at that time... Many kids are. Thankfully, my sons are ok. Public school students ride MTA for free each day thanks to a program called STRIDE. I advocated hard for this program as a member of the Education Report Card Committee. It is an important program that gives Nashville's kids an opportunity to attend the school they choose. It is critical to participation in after-school programs -- especially for kids with working parents. I am still a strong believer in the STRIDE program, and will continue to advocate for it.

I also recognize why riding MTA is a tough option for many families. Several parents have told me that they are uncomfortable with their kids riding MTA busses, and today we see why that is a valid concern.


As I hug my family a little tighter tonight, I can't help but think of two takeaways from today's events: Parents weigh many costs when choosing where to send their child to school. We need great schools in every neighborhood.

Rod, even if you did not have a child at the bus station today... if you're getting this email -- I know this story will impact you. This story is why I am running for school board. I know we can make a difference and I know that together we can give EVERY neighborhood a great school to be proud of. For students,

Barry Statement on Shooting at Music City Central

Metro Press Release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 25, 2016) – Mayor Megan Barry has released the following statement regarding the shooting at MTA’s Music City Central station that has resulted in four shooting victims, one with critical injuries:
The shooting today at Music City Central is a tragic reminder of the plague of gun violence in our society, where one person with a gun can devastate lives and bring a city to a halt in a moment’s notice. My heart sank when I heard that youth were the victims in this shooting, and my hope and prayer for those victims and their families is that they have a full and speedy recovery.
Metro Police will be assigning additional officers to the terminal in the coming days, and as a clearer picture of the shooting today comes into view, I will be meeting with Police and MTA officials to see what we can do better to improve security at Music City Central and prevent incidents like this in the future.
As Mayor, as a Nashvillian, and as a mother, I will never accept a status quo where our children fear being victims of violence when getting on a bus, going to school, or walking in their neighborhoods. I remain committed to working with our entire community to implement recommendations from the Youth Violence Summit Report and create better outcomes for all of our children.
Metro Police will continue to update the public and media with details related to the shooting as they are made available.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Haslam signs therapist protection bill.

Today Governor Haslam signed the bill that says no therapist or counselor must provide services to a client who has a lifestyle or engages in practices that conflict with the counselor's sincerely held principles. So, I guess this means that if you are a counselor who believes murder is wrong and a mafia hit man comes to you who is having guilt feeling about all the people he has killed and wants to be cured of his guilt so he can sleep well at night, that you can refuse him service and not be sued. Or, if you are not comfortable counseling a pedophile, or providing marriage counseling to a polygamist man and his three wives, or a mother and son in a incestuous relationship, or a women having her third abortion, or a gay couple, you can refuse to counsel them and not be in jeopardy of being sued.

I support the basic premise of this law.  I think counselors should be able to refuse service to those who have a lifestyle that the counselor finds abhorrent.  I do question however how often this law is really necessary. Assume a gay couple goes to a counselor and the counselor says, "I appreciate you seeking me out and I wish I could serve you, but I am a Christian and believe homosexuality is a sin and I don't think we would really be a good match; I really don't know that I could be objective enough to provide you with the service you seek, however if you absolutely insist I will serve you anyway, knowing I probably can't help you."  How many gay couples are going to demand this person be their counselor and take their money?  Probably none.

I don't fault Governor Haslam for signing the bill. He needs to use the veto sparingly.  However, I wonder if this bill is really necessary. Sort of like the bathroom bill, some things could  be worked out without passing a state law. Of course, I did not sit thorough the legislative hearings and hear the arguments, but this bill looks like a solution in search of a problem simply in order to make a point.

For more on this see Haslam signs bill giving therapists protections.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Franklin Graham in Nashville May 3 for Decision America Tour Prayer Rally

Join Franklin Graham on

May 3, 2016
12:00 p.m.
Capitol Legislative Plaza
600 Charlotte Ave
Nashville, TN 37243
Get Directions
Get Tennessee Prayer Calendar
Watch Prayer Rally Invite                                
Volunteer at Prayer Rally

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Monday, April 25, 2016

The mess at state GOP HQs just got worse.

Rocky Top Politics, April 24, 2016 - Political consultant/wife of state GOP political director working to defeat incumbent conservative GOP legislators while working out of office in GOP HQs. Posed as an official representative of the Tennessee Republican Party to reporter covering the delegate controversy. 


RTP has learned that party officials Brent Leatherwood and Walker Ferrell were repeatedly warned about the appearance and ethics of contracting with Ferrell’s wife.  That arrangement on its face was highly questionable, but exploded into the public view when it was learned she was also under contract to defeat several Republican officeholders. This unethical “backdoor” attempt to circumvent party by-laws was exposed in a letter delivered by over two dozen GOP legislators last week.

In a new development RTP has learned Taylor Ferrell, the wife of state party political director Walker Ferrell, has been working out of state party HQs, acting like an employee and enjoying the HQ’s facilities event to the point where she felt comfortable representing herself to the media as a spokesperson of sorts for the state party  — all while being paid to defeat incumbent Republicans.

.... Pretending that Taylor Ferrell is not an actual employee, but an independent contractor is a disingenuous attempt to provide cover for the Ferrells and perhaps others to enrich themselves while playing both sides of the street.(link)

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Mayor Barry to host "Stand Aganist Racism" rally.

A "Stand Against Racism" rally will do nothing but stroke the fires of  racial animosity. Of course, that is the goal of Democrat politicians, is it not?  They stay in power by keeping people divided and angry and feeling like victims in need of government solutions. The Metro Human Relations Commission serves no purpose except to promote a liberal agenda and should be abolished. Thankfully, the rally is only 30 minutes long; not enough time to get people riled to the point of rioting and trashing the city.

Recently the Nashville Black Lives Matter group was kicked out of holding their meetings at the public library because the group bans white people from attending their meetings. I bet that won't be the kind of racism this rally stands against.



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Conscious Conversation: How does Gentrification Impact Local Youth.

FYI

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

U.S. District Judge orders a recount of Amendment 1 vote.

On Thursday April 21st, Williamson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley upheld Tennessee's method of counting ballots on the Amendment 1 constitutional amendment question which was passed by the voters in 2014.  Unfortunately that victory was short lived, because on Friday April 22nd U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp ruled that the method of counting of votes on Amendment 1 was fundamentally unfair to the plaintiffs and ordered a recount using a different methodology.

Amendment 1 was the amendment to the Tennessee constitution that inserted  language empowering the legislature to enact, amend or repeal state statutes regarding abortion. The amendment did not outlaw abortions but allowed the state to impose reasonable limitations on abortion such as licensing requirements and waiting periods. It gave Tennessee the same right to regulate abortions as every other state. The language of the amendment was this: "Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother."

Due to a Tennessee Supreme Court decision in 2000 it was determined that the State constitution provided greater rights to abortion than did the Federal constitution and the State was prohibited from regulating the abortion industry.  As a result, Tennessee had become an abortion destination and one in four abortions in Tennessee in 2010 was sought by out-of-state women. This was a result of surrounding states being able to regulate abortions and Tennessee not being able to do so. To correct this and to restore to the legislature the power to regulate abortions which they had done prior to the 2000 State Supreme Court ruling, Amendment 1 was presented to the voters who approved the measure by 53 percent of the votes cast.


When abortion supporters lost the referendum, they challenged the method used to approve the measure. At issue is how to count the votes.  Article XI, Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution says, "And if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of all the citizens of the state voting for Governor, voting in their favor, such amendment or amendments shall become part of this Constitution."

Ever since the adoption of the Tennessee constitution, the way an amendment was approved is that  the amendment, not only had to win a majority of the votes but it had to have as many people vote on the amendment as voted for governor.  So, in order for an amendment to be approved, if 100,000 people voted for governor, then it did not matter if an amendment got 90,000 votes in favor and 9,999 in opposition it was not adopted.  It had to reach the threshold of  the same number as those who voted for governor had to vote on the amendment question.  Those challenging the approval of Amendment 1 are saying that, that method and reasoning is incorrect; that only those who actually voted for governor get to have their vote counted in the constitutional amendment referendum. 

At this time, Judge Sharp has only ruled that the vote be retabulated to exclude those who did not vote in the Governors race. That means my vote won't be counted. I purposely did not vote for governor in order to lower the threshold for Amendment 1. Judge Sharp did not set aside the result or order a new election. He also did not order that the other amendment on the ballot be recalculated. There is still hope that he will not sit aside the result of the amendment referendum.

In the November 2014 election, 1,353,728 people voted for governor and 1,386,355 voted on Amendment One; 729,163 voted in favor of Amendment 1 and 657,192 voted in opposition. So that means 32,627 voted on the Amendment 1 question, who did not vote in the Governors race and yet Amendment 1 won by 71,771 votes. If every person who voted on Amendment 1 but did not vote in the governors race voted for Amendment 1 and their vote is thrown out, Amendment 1 still wins by 38,344 votes.

For more on this issue see the following:

Federal judge orders recount of Amendment 1 voting
Federal judge orders recount of 2014 abortion ballot vote
For background see the following:
Vote Yes on 1. End Tennessee as an abortion destination state.
Amendment 1 lawsuit has no merit and is "absurd."
Why I am not voting for Bill Haslam

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Tennessee will soon really be income tax-free. Hall tax repeal awaits Govenor's signature.

The following is from Senator Mark Green's Facebook page. Senator Green was the sponsor the the repeal legislation.



We have passed a full repeal of the Hall Income Tax! SHARE the good news! I am honored to carry this monumental tax cut, the largest in state history. Thanks to those who helped to get this done. The tax rate will be reduced from 6% to 5%, a seventeen percent cut from the total dollars collected by the state for fiscal year 2016. The intent of the General Assembly in successive years is that the tax on investment and dividend income will be cut 1% annually, but is not bound to any specific rate reduction being charged to respond according to the economic health of each fiscal year. Furthermore, by January 1, 2022, the Hall Income Tax will no longer be collected and eliminated as a legal means of taxation in Tennessee. Meaning, it is set to sunset in as the year 2021 sunsets.















 The Beacon Center made repealing the Hall Income Tax one of their top priorities.  Here is their press release:

Beacon Statement on Elimination of the Hall Tax

April 22, 2016 - Today, Tennesseans from all walks of life can celebrate a major victory as the Tennessee legislature voted to eliminate the Hall Income Tax over the next 6 years. The Beacon Center was the major factor in the elimination of this unfair tax with a public awareness effort that led to over 1.8 million video views, a new anti-Hall Tax website, and over 75,000 emails sent to legislators against the Hall Tax. Beacon also testified in support of repeal in the last stages of debate on the bill.
“The vote to phase out the Hall Tax is the biggest victory for Tennessee taxpayers this session,” said Beacon CEO Justin Owen. “After spending much time and energy educating the public and legislators about the pitfalls of the Hall Tax, we are ecstatic that this day has finally come. We applaud legislators for their leadership, especially the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Mark Green and Rep. Charles Sargent. They realized that this tax unfairly hurts senior citizens and job creators and did the right thing to repeal it. We can now celebrate a major reduction to the tax bills of many Tennesseans who are in desperate need of tax relief.”

Owen concluded, “More than half of the people who paid the Hall Tax make less than $75,000 per year and that just isn’t fair. We are proud that Tennessee has finally lived up to its reputation as a truly income tax-free state.”

The bill will now go to the Governor to be signed into law.
Congratulations to Senator Green, House sponsor Jay D. Reedy, The Beacon Center and all who voted for the legislation and had a hand in advancing the cause. I hope the Governor signs it.  I don't suspect Governor Haslam would veto it, but would be very disappointed if he were to do so. 


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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Earth Day Special, 50% off on Carbon off-sets today only!

Buy your Carbon Off-Sets Here!
Earth Day Special


Live Guilt Free, Get Your Certificate Suitable For Framing.
Show your friends how responsible you are.
Makes great Gifts!

$5.50 per Ton, this week only !

For only $5.50, I will give you a certificate saying that you have my permission to spew one ton of carbon into the air and not have a dirty conscience.

Projects funded by purchase of offsets, include the following:
  • Preservation of the tree in my front yard
  • Forgoing auto trips from Nashville to Knoxville. I can forgo up to 3 trips a day
  • For $42,000 worth of offsets, I will trade my low gas-mileage car for a high mileage hybrid.

  • Forgoing owning a dog. One of the worst things you can do for the environment is own a dog. A look around the Centennial Park Earth Day celebration shows many attendees own dogs. A dog has a larger environmental impact than an SUV.  I will forgo getting a dog, you can pay me for doing so, and you can own your dog guilt free.  Price negotiable.

Purchase our “Green Elephant Special”: 2 tons of carbon off-set for only $9.50.

If you purchase before midnight Earth Day 2016 you will get Earth Day special price of only $3.50 per ton! 


Disgruntled Republican Enterprises also has a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Also we have clients in Nigeria who are looking for Americans who will help them dispose of millions of dollars by putting the funds in their checking account. Disgruntled Republican Ministries also has miracle prayer cloths for sale. We accept cash, checks, money orders, paypal and forever postage stamps.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Breitbart picks up TN GOP controversy story: Growing Grassroots Anger at GOP Establishment in Tennessee

Growing Grassroots Anger at GOP Establishment in Tennessee

by Michael Patrick Leahy, Breitbart News, April 21,2016 - Controversy is threatening to bring an early end to the regime of thirty-year-old Ryan Haynes, who was named chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party in April 2015.

.. Breitbart News asked Tennessee Republican Party executive director Brent Leatherwood if Chairman Haynes had received the April 18 letter and whether he was going to terminate Walker Ferrell.

“Chairman Haynes considers all these individuals good friends and he would in no way allow his staff to be involved in their legislative primaries. In fact, TNGOP bylaws prohibit that from occurring. It hasn’t happened and it never will,” Leatherwood responded by email.
“Voters decide who the nominees are and we work with those individuals to beat Democrats,” he added.

Leatherwood said Haynes would not terminate Ferrell.  “Mr. Ferrell is a valuable member of our staff. Per our bylaws, no staff member is involved in any legislative primary, therefore no action is necessary,” Leatherwood subsequently told Breitbart News. (link)

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The 27 GOP State Representatives who signed the letter wanting Walker Ferrell fired

27 GOP lawmakers want Tennessee party official fired over wife's work

The Tennessean, by Joey Garrison and Dave Boucher, April 20, 2016 - Twenty-seven Tennessee state House Republicans have called for the firing of a high-ranking state Republican Party official whose wife leads a political consulting firm they say is working for candidates challenging GOP incumbents in this year’s primary.

Lawmakers also want any GOP party superiors who knew about or condoned the "engagement" of the consultant to resign.

The group, which includes House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada....

The 27 lawmakers who signed the letter are from all over Tennessee. Here's a list of those who signed the letter; names in bold have primary challengers. 
Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver
Rep. Jeremy Faison
Rep. Courtney Rogers
Rep. Judd Matheny

Rep. Curtis Halford
Rep. Bill Sanderson
Rep. Jimmy Eldridge
Rep. Timothy Hill
Rep. Mark Pody
Rep. Bryan Terry
Rep. Jay Reedy
Rep. Dawn White
Rep. Mary Littleton
Rep. Mike Sparks
Rep. Gary Hicks

Rep. Micah Van Huss
Rep. Jimmy Matlock
Rep. Billy Spivey
Rep. Glen Casada
Rep. David Byrd
Rep. Dennis Powers
Rep. Matthew Hill
Rep. Sheila Butt
Rep. Rick Womick
Rep. Susan Lynn
Rep. David Hawk
Rep. Ron Lollar 


(link)

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Siding With Governor, Tennessee Lawmakers Decide Not To Make Bible The State Book

Siding With Governor, Tennessee Lawmakers Decide Not To Make Bible The State Book  

 House fails to override Haslam's Bible bill veto 
The Tennessean - Tennessee will not become the first state in the nation to make the Holy Bible its official book after an effort to override Gov. Bill Haslam's veto failed to receive enough support in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. With a 43-50 vote, the House failed to give the Senate a chance to vote to override Haslam’s veto

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Scandal at the TNGOP. Republican legislators demand Walker Ferrell be terminated.


There is a scandal brewing at the Tennessee Republican Party. TNGOP political director Walker

Walker Ferrell
Ferrell is married to Taylor Ferrell and Taylor Ferrell is the sole proprietor of Southland Advantage and Southland Advantage is seeking clients who are challenging incumbent Republican political office holders.  This is clearly a conflict of interest and certainly appears a violation of Party bylaws. Several member of the state legislature have signed a letter to Chairman Ryan Haynes demanding the termination of Walker Ferrell.

If this is all true, and I have no reason to believe it is not, this is an outrage. I agree that Mr. Ferrell should be terminated.  This is not the first time something like this has happened at the TNGOP. The Party has a history of this sort of thing. There is a current member of the TNGOP Executive Committee who has provided his professional campaign services to serves Democrat Party clients and who works to defeat Republican candidates yet has access to Republican strategy and has a vote on how much money will be appropriated to fund the Republican candidates he is working to defeat, and yet the Party allows him to continue to hold his seat. I am very disappointing that the Party allows this situation to continue. I am disappointing that there is a climate of corruption at the TNGOP that makes anyone think that financially benefiting from a position with the Party is appropriate.

The bylaws should be enforced and people who are serving the Party to enrich themselves should be terminated or purged.




Southland Advantage | Meet Taylor Ferrell
Taylor Ferrell


Below is the letter signed by various members of the state legislature.  The quality of this copy is poor but with effort one can read it.  If someone will send me a clearer copy I will replace this poor quality copy with one easier to read.

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Davidson County GOP Carnival Party, May 22nd


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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What happened at the 4-19-16 council meeting: Farmers market funded but gets close scrutiny, $2.1M wage dispute settled.


Council meetings are less boring if you know what the Council is voting on.  To access my analysis of the council agenda and to link to the council agenda and the council staff analysis follow this link.

The video of the council meeting of last night's meeting is not yet available.  As soon as it is, I will post it.

The most important work of the council is done in committee and the most important committee of the Council is Budget and Finance. Discussion takes place at committee meetings and you gain a lot more insight by watching B&F meetings than you do Council meetings. If something passes B & F it is almost certain to pass the Council. Below is the meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee.



The first item of business at the B&F meeting is the discussion of RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-172  which appropriates $3,347,400 split between different departments to provide money to those departments that was not originally in their budget.  Part of this is understandable.  Departments do not know all of their revenue or expenses when projecting for the coming year.  As an example, Courts do not know how many trials there will be so they can only give a good guess at how much jury pay expense they will incur.  They do not, not have a trial because they have exceeded their budget. One can understand that. Some of these request however show poor management or perhaps indicate major changes need to be made in how a service is delivered or even if it is needed. I am not exactly sure what the consequence is if the Council fails to approve these supplemental appropriations.  The money has already been spend so there is no getting it back. What this bill really does is move money from reserve funds to the ledger of the department in order to close out the books for the year for the various departments. The council is under considerable pressure to do that and not doing it does not save any money.

The most controversial supplemental request is  $837,900 for Farmers Market.  This bill was on the agenda last council meeting also and at that time there were a lot of hard questions asked of Farmers Market and B&F recommended a deferral of one meeting, so at the last council meeting it was deferred "by rule."  At this meeting of B&F there is also good questioning and lame explanations.  A couple of the Black council members allege there has been a effort to drive off Black vendors from the market. The Farmers Market head takes strong offense to that suggestion and gives an emotional response. Council Glover ask the FM to look into the process for early termination of the lease. Good suggestion! If Farmers Market cannot break even, then maybe Farmers Market needs to be closed and moved to a different location. In my view, a farmers market at the Fairgrounds would be a good location. There is plenty of available parking and the overhead could be lower. 

As part of RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-172  there is a request for an additional  $422,200 to fund Municipal Auditorium.  Municipal Auditorium seems like another operation that should be able to fund itself buy can't. Advocates of Municipal Auditorium would argue that, that venue is needed because it fits a niche between larger facilities and smaller facilities.  I am not buying it.  We have numerous venues in town now. If Municipal Auditorium cannot cover its operating cost, I think we should close it and sell the property. It sits on some of the most valuable property downtown. Members of B&F question and Municipal defends the request.

The resolution passes on a voice vote of the Committee so I assume it passes at the Council meeting. 

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-205  is the settlement of a wage dispute.  It passes B&F and Council. Below is The Tennessean explanation. 

The Tennessean- The Metro Council has approved a $2.1 million settlement, the largest in recent council history, to end a four-year legal dispute about how corrections officers are paid.

Only Councilman Russ Pulley voted against approval, ... ...Pulley's concerns prompted brief discussion of delaying the vote one week, but that failed by an 18-19 vote and the council then approved the settlement.

This is a draft of a work in progress. Check back.  

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Monday, April 18, 2016

It's only money: $1.3 million to remodel the Mayor's office!


In case you missed it in the The Tennessean yesterday, Mayor Barry has had the mayor's office remodeled.  I know everything wears out and furniture has to be reupholstered, cleaned or replaced from time to time, and ever so often things need a new coat of paint. Now, I don't want the mayor's office to look shabby.  When out of town business people or dignitaries visit our city, I don't want the mayor to feel embarrassed, but $1,300,000.00!  That is lot of nice carpet, and new lamps! How many units of affordable housing could that have bought?  From what I see in the pictures, I don't even like it.

Mayor Megan Barry's office gets $1.3M renovation

Furniture is contemporary. Lighting is brighter. And offices of aides now have sliding glass doors that let visitors walking through see government in action.

In a facelift billed as a shift to a "more modern, open and transparent working environment,.....(link)

To get a feel of what you can buy for $1.3 million dollars in Nashville, here are a couple homes in that price range.

$1,295,000

406 Westview Ave Nashville, TN 37205

  • Single-Family Home
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 3 full, 1 partial Bathrooms
  • 4,640 sqft
  • $279/sqft
  • Lot size: 1.74 acres
$1,345,000

5742 Laura Hill Dr Nashville, TN 37215

  • Single-Family Home
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 3 full, 1 partial Bathrooms
  • 3,987 sqft
  • $337/sqft
  • Lot size: 4.04 acres









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Saturday, April 16, 2016

What's on the Council agenda for 4-19-16: $ for Farmers Market, reinning in MDHA.

The Metro Council meets Tuesday night April 19th at 6:30PM.  Council meetings are televised live on Comcast Channel 3 if one wants to watch it live.  The next day one can catch it on the Metro YouTube channel and I repost it  here. I watch it so you don't have to and summarize it and call attentions to any portions that may be worth watching.

Council meetings are not quite as boring if you know what the council is voting on. Here is a link to the agenda and the staff analysis.

I am only listing those items that I think are significant or are important to me and you may have an interest in some other item on the agenda, so it you really care, you may want to read the agenda for yourself.

There are ten appointments to Boards and Commissions on the agenda for Council confirmation.  Some of these positions are coveted and powerful.  If you follow local politics carefully, you may want to see who is getting appointments in the new administration. The council routinely rubber stamps whomever the mayor appoints. I suspect that even under the liberal Barry administration there is not a lot of diversity in appointments to boards and commissions, not that I think diversity for the sake of diversity is desirable goal.  I would be curious to know however, who is getting appointed.  I would like to see a breakdown by profession, race, gender, council district, and to whom the appointee to has made political contributions. If I had unlimted time, I would do such an analysis.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-172  appropriates $3,347,400 split between different departments to provide money to those departments that was not originally in their budget. This happens every year and some of this is understandable. When drawing up a budget the State Trail Courts, as an example, will not know how many trials they will have so they will not know how much to budget for jury pay so all they can do is estimate. At the end of the year, their expenditure and income must balance, so if they come up short this is where they get the money to make the accounts balance. On the other hand, some of this is just unjustified subsidy to a department. I like Farmers Market, but it has never been able to break even. When I say "break even," that does not include capital cost; they cannot cover their operating cost.  This resolution contains an additional $837,900 for Farmers Market. Maybe it is time to privatize Farmers Market or turn it over to the Parks Department or change their mission or change management.  Farmers Market is a money pit. I am not opposed to a modest subsidy, but they should not have an open unlimited line of credit.  I do not know the full financial picture of Farmers Market, but it seems they are always needing more money.  At the last Budget and Finance Committee meeting there were a lot of hard questions asked of Farmers Market and B&F recommended this be deferred one meeting, so at the last council meeting it was deferred "by rule."  It will be interesting to see what happens in B&F on Monday.

 RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-205   authorizes "the Metropolitan Department of Law to compromise and settle the two distinct wage and hour class action claims brought by Vonda Noel on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated Davidson County Sheriff's Office employees against the Metropolitan Government in the amount of $199,936.25 for the Fair Labor Standards Act class; and in the amount of $1,900,000.00 for the Rule 23 unpaid wages class; for a total of $2,099,936.25 to be paid out of the Judgment and Losses Fund." The staff analysis devotes five pages to explaining this. For more information see the analysis at this link, starting on page seven.

BILL NO. BL2016-123  on second reading would establish than any proceeds from the sale of land owned by MDHA in the Rutledge Hill redevelopment district will be re-invested in the Rutledge Hill redevelopment district or returned to the General Fund. It would also require MDHA to report to the council the status of  indebtedness obligations owed by MDHA related to the Rutledge Hill Redevelopment Plan. This is a positive development. MDHA has had too much authority and TIF has been abused. Too little money from downtown development flows into the General Fund. I am pleased to see the Council take this and similar steps. The staff analysis devotes two pages to explaining this bill. For more information see page 13 of the staff analysis and read the bill.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Governor Haslam vetoes the bill making the Bible the official book of Tennessee.

Today Governor Haslam vetoed the bill making the Bible the official book of Tennessee.  I support that decision and his reasoning for that decision. Below is his letter explaining his veto.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I just don't see the need for the 'bathroom bill.'

While I agree in the abstract that men should use men’s bathrooms and women should use women’s bathrooms, I cannot work up much passion for the pending bathroom bill. I just don’t see the need for it. It is not as if there are hordes of transsexuals, transgendered people and cross dressers trying to use the bathroom that corresponds to their outward appearance. I question if this is a response to a real problem or an attempt to make a statement.

I have never in my life encountered a transgender person using the restroom at the same time as I. Of course there are very few transgendered men and more transgendered women so it would not be surprising that I would never encounter a transgender man. There are very few transgender women either however but I bet most women have never encountered a transgendered women in their restroom. ( I am sure most know, but for clarification a transgender “man” is person who is biologically a women but acts like and dresses as a man such as Chaz Bono, and a transgender “women” is a person who is really a man but identifies and dresses as a women such as Caitlyn Jenner.)

If the bill should pass, it would have no impact in practise on anything. The rare transgendered person would most likely ignore it. The transgendered women would go to the women’s bathroom and go in a stall and do her business, maybe primp at the mirror a little and leave and no one would be the wiser. How would this law be enforced? How could it be enforced! Would we have to have a genital inspector at the door of each restroom comparing birth certificates to genitalia? What would be the procedure for enforcement?

Ignoring this “problem” would probably cause much less disruption than trying to fix it. If this proposed legislation was law and a chick-with-a-dick goes into the men’s room and does “her” business at the men’s urinal there would be more disruption than if she went into the women’s room undetected and did her business in the women’s restroom. One of the stupidest arguments I have heard about this bill is that parents want to protect their daughters from boys being in the girls restrooms. I think your daughters have much more to fear from aggressive lesbians in the girls restrooms, which is probably none at all, than they do from transgendered women. I don’t think transgendered women want to molest your daughters.

This bill would only apply to public schools and colleges. I think if there is a problem at any of those institutions, the local administrators should try to resolve it, and if that fails, the local policy making body should address it. If it then becomes a problem that can’t be solved at that level, then maybe it would be time for a law.  More than likely the way this would ever become an issue is if some junior high guy starts dressing as a girl. If this happens, maybe "she" can be escorted to the restroom by a teacher and other students can leave the restroom while he does "her" business or maybe "she" can use the faculty restroom until he or she sorts this out.  The rare occurrence of this ever happening hardly justifies a state law.

According to this proposed law, even if a person had had a complete sex change, they would still have to use the restroom that corresponded to the sex on their original birth certificate. I don’t know if there is really such a thing as a person born in the body of the wrong sex or if people who undergo a sex change are people with severe mental issues, but in any event, if they have had a sex change and now have all of the physical attributes of a women, in my view it would be wrong to force them to use the men’s bathroom.

There are issues about loss of Title X funds if this passes and there are threats of boycotts and loss of business. How much of that threat is real I don’t know. I hate to see the State be bullied and I don’t want to let Hollywood and rock star celebrities dictate our policy. It does appear PayPal pulled out of North Carolina due to passing a similar bill, so there could be some loss of business opportunity. The loss of business opportunity and federal funds are factors, but my main concern with the bill is that this is a solution in search of a problem, is another unnecessary law, and to a degree it is simply mean-spirited. I think the State legislature should send it to a summer study committee.

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FACT President Blasts Attorney General's 'Bathroom Bill' Opinion

Press release, FRANKLIN, Tenn. (April 11, 2016) – The following statement regarding Attorney General Slatery’s opinion of House Bill 2414, the “bathroom bill,” can be attributed to FACT President David Fowler:

Attorney General Slatery’s opinion regarding the risk to the state of losing Title IX funding if House Bill 2414 passes puts forth a carefully worded legal position that only the trained lawyer can decode to deconstruct the fear of the federal government it engenders.

It essentially regurgitates legal arguments made by the Obama administration that were flatly and unequivocally rejected by the only two courts to actually rule on them. A first-year law student would get in trouble for writing a brief that ignored relevant persuasive authority as if it did not exist!

The misleading nature of these omissions is compounded by the fact that the attorney general instead cites settlement agreements, not court decisions, entered into with the U.S. Department of Education. A settlement agreement only means that the school districts decided not to litigate the clear meaning of the word “sex” in Title IX and just go along with what the Obama administration wanted. Settlement agreements have no persuasive value as a matter of law, unlike the court decisions that have actually ruled in favor of sex-designated bathrooms.

Thankfully, the attorney general did mention that, by law, no money can be withheld from a state until the state loses its legal arguments, and then only if it doesn’t come into compliance with that ruling within 30 days. By law, no money can be withheld during this process, and no money can be withheld retroactively.

In other words, contrary to the general impression the opinion tends to create, legislators need to understand that there is little risk that the state will lose any Title IX money so long as it complies with whatever the U.S. Supreme Court might someday say the word “sex” means. No one needs to run around like their pants are on fire as if there is some immediate, real threat to Tennessee losing Title IX funds.

But the bottom line is that Tennessee cannot be held hostage by what the Supreme Court might possibly say at some point about the meaning of the word “sex” when the law, as it exists right now, is clearly in support of House Bill 2414.

The people of Tennessee are tired of having their public policies being dictated to them by the various branches of the federal government, and they sure don’t want the state surrendering without a fight to the Obama administration on whether boys can choose to use a girl’s bathroom or locker room.
The Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), which Fowler heads, was formed in 2006 by a group of citizens concerned about the growing negative impact of public policies on marriage, families, life, and religious liberty. FACT’s mission is to equip Tennesseans and their elected officials to effectively promote and defend a culture that values God’s design for the family, for the sake of the common good. For more information, visit FACTn.org.

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Tennessee Pastors Network Challenges Lawmakers on "Bathroom Bill."

Petition Effort Gaining Momentum

Press release, NASHVILLE, TN -The Tennessee Pastors Network today announced that it has made great strides in bringing the concerns of thousands of Tennessee voters to Legislative Plaza.  These actions stem from legislation being considered this week by several Committees on SB2387 by Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and HB2414 by Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet).

The bill would require students in Tennessee schools to use bathrooms and lockers rooms that correspond to their determined sex noted on their birth certificates.  Opposition has arisen from LGBT groups demanding students be able to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the student’s “feelings” about which sex he/she is.

“People across Tennessee are enraged that our elected officials have to spend valuable time debating such a subject,” said Tennessee Pastors Network President Dale Walker of Sparta.  “In addition, they cannot believe that any Tennessee lawmaker would consider placing the vast majority of students at risk.”

Pastor Walker has led a delegation of concerned ministers and concerned citizens to meet with lawmakers ever since this legislation was brought forward.  This issue is engaging the citizens to sign petitions in support of this bill in large numbers.

Pastor Walker continued, “Tennessee lawmakers may need to be reminded that it’s the citizens that go to the polls to vote their values and not corporations bullying our state. Our lawmakers need to know beyond a reasonable doubt that that Tennessee citizens will not tolerate this kind of dangerous situation for our children.”

He concluded, “Lawmakers are on the record as saying that they are not hearing anything from constituents. Tennesseans need to be reaching out by phone, email and text to their elected Representatives and Senators and letting them know their individual concerns about these dangerous encroachments into our state.”

For more information, visit www.tnpastors.net.

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