Thursday, April 29, 2021

PRENATAL LIFE AND LIBERTY ACT PASSES BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE

Tennessee Right to Life - Today, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the Unborn Life and Liberty Act in both the House and Senate. This bill, which is now headed to Governor Bill Lee to sign, has a two-part purpose. 

In Tennessee law, a person can be charged with fetal homicide for killing a woman and her unborn child regardless of the child’s gestational age. This would mean they would face criminal charges and face those penalties if convicted. However, for a civil lawsuit, Tennessee law currently only allows for wrongful death claims for unborn children past the point of viability. 

The first part of this bill would allow wrongful death claims to be litigated against someone who kills a mother and her unborn child at any stage of development, matching the criminal and civil elements across the state law. The second part of this legislation would also prohibit lawsuits against doctors who fail to discover or disclose a child's medical condition prior to the child's birth. These "wrongful birth" and "wrongful life" lawsuits occur when the parents argue that abortion would have been preferable to birth and life and then seek monetary damages claiming the doctor's breach of duty and omission. 

\“This has been a tremendous year for further defining the humanity of unborn children,” said Will Brewer, lobbyist for Tennessee Right to Life. “Pro-life legislators voted to require the burial or cremation of unborn children, expand the definition of wrongful death victim to include all unborn children and prohibit lawsuits against doctors when parents claim they would have rather aborted their child than give birth,” said Brewer. 

In addition to passing the Life and Liberty Act today, the Tennessee General Assembly also passed the Unborn Child Dignity Act a few weeks ago. 

“We continue to move the needle forward on recognizing unborn children as human beings with these types of bills,” said Stacy Dunn, President of Tennessee Right to Life. “Futhermore, discussion of these bills allowed for educational debate and powerful testimony on the dignity and humanity of unborn children,” said Dunn. “We are grateful to the elected representatives of this State who once again made strong pro-life stands with common sense, effective and constitutional legislation,” said Brewer. 

“We are especially grateful to the bills’ sponsors: Senator Mike Bell, Senator Janice Bowling, Representative Tim Rudd and Representative Jeremy Faison as well as all the co-sponsors and supporters of these bills,” said Brewer.

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Final Passage of Right-to-Work Resolution (SJR 2). Right-to-Work Constitutional Amendment will be on the Nov. 2022 ballot.

By Rod Williams - SJR 2 passed the House today by a vote of 67-24-1. It passed the Senate earlier in the legislative session. 

Tennessee has had a right-to-work law on the books since 1947. This act protects workers from being forced to join a labor union. However, this protection is not secure.  If Democrats ever regain control of State government, our right-to-work law could be repealed.  Also, it is under attack in Congress with the U.S. House’s recent passage of the PRO Act. 

Among other things The PRO Act would reclassify gig workers, with such firms like Lyft, Uber and DoorDash, as employees rather than contractors and would give them the right organize as unions.  

SJR2 will now be on the November 2022 General Election ballot as a proposed amendment to the State Constitution. I am pleased our State legislature passed this resolution and support passage of the proposed constitutional amendment.

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Mayor Cooper Delivers 58th State of Metro Address. Spending money like there is no tommorow.



Mayor Shares Plans to Make Nashville’s Teachers the State’s Highest-Paid, Invest in Affordable Housing, Transportation and First Responders

Metro Nashville press release, 4/29/2021 -  Mayor John Cooper today announced plans to make Nashville’s teachers the state’s highest-paid, triple the city’s dollars for affordable housing and build up Metro’s transportation capacity. 

The mayor called for investments in the Metro employees who served the city through a year of crisis and pledged to implement every-other-week recycling at his State of Metro address, delivered at the Music City Center in a nod to Nashville’s rebound.  That location - once eyed for 1,600 pandemic-time beds - is now a bustling vaccination site as public health restrictions approach a May 14 end.

“Last year’s budget was a crisis budget. This year’s budget is an investment budget,” Mayor Cooper said. “Nashville is on the rise. A city on the rise must rise to the occasion. And, for a city to really work, it must work for everyone – and every neighborhood.” 

Those neighborhood investments include restoring funding for WeGo bus service and hiring 80 additional emergency responders to serve the city.

“It’s a new day in Nashville,” Mayor Cooper said. “We’ve weathered the storm. And we have a new opportunity to rise, together.” 

A “Golden Moment” for Education 
Under Mayor Cooper’s plan, the average Metro teacher’s salary will jump by $6,924. Educators with 8 to 15 years’ experience will receive a $10,880 increase. “A city on the rise must give everyone the opportunity to rise with it. Opportunity starts with education, and an excellent education starts with well-funded schools,” Mayor Cooper said. “We owe it to every child to make investments that match their potential.” Today’s proposed $81 million marks Nashville’s largest operating investment in education. It follows the mayor’s recent, record capital investment for schools and fully funds the School Board’s request for the first time in years. 

“Throughout my career at Metro Schools, I’ve never seen such a strong commitment and support from a Mayor for our public schools and the teaching profession,” said Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle. “Mayor Cooper’s proposed record investment will allow the district to retain and recruit great teachers who want to make a difference in the lives and academic success of students and who simply want their compensation to reflect the value they bring to our city and the residents who call Nashville home,” she added. 

Building Up Metro’s Transportation Workforce Capacity 
Four months after Metro Council adopted the mayor’s transportation plan, Nashville has secured upward of $15 million in state and federal funding to pay for it. With more potential funding on the way, a local Department of Transportation (DoT) is now as essential in Nashville as it has been in peer cities. A proposed $3.5 million will operationalize a local DoT – including a new traffic management center – doubling the number of Metro employees who are focused on calming traffic, timing traffic signals more efficiently, building bike lanes and meeting the mayor’s directive to cut sidewalk-construction times in half. Meanwhile, another $25 million will restore funding for WeGo bus service, which Metro subsidized last year using one-time federal relief dollars. 

Sharpening Nashville’s Affordable Housing Tools 
After convening an Affordable Housing Task Force, the mayor today proposed immediate action on five of their recommendations: His proposal triples the city’s affordable housing dollars: 
  • $2.5 million more to the Barnes Fund 
  • $20 million in American Rescue Plan dollars to develop affordable units – including $10 million for the Barnes Fund and $10 million to seed a Catalyst Housing Fund 
Mayor Cooper also announced plans to build affordable housing on Metro-owned property located on 24th Ave. N. in a process that will include robust community input. Meanwhile, a payment in lieu of taxes program will encourage affordable housing participation from the private sector in an increasingly expensive building environment. And Courtney Pogue, named after a national search as the mayor’s Economic Development chief, will chart a master plan for tying economic development to affordable housing – as well as education, workforce development and small business growth. 

A Community Response to Community Safety 
  • After a year that proved how much Nashville relies on its first responders, Mayor Cooper proposed: $460,000 to increase the Office of Emergency Management’s operating budget by 49 percent 
  • $9.8 million to hire 40 new firefighters and 20 new emergency medical technicians (EMTs) 
  • $12.2 million to hire 48 new law enforcement officers for Nashville’s new Southeast police precinct, including 8 sergeants for body camera evaluation 
Another $1.1 million will increase funding for Metro’s Office of Family Safety by 62 percent. Nashville is one of only two cities in the U.S. with its own, dedicated department to serve victims of interpersonal violence. Last year, client visits to this office jumped by 29 percent. Meanwhile, Ron Johnson, Metro’s first community safety coordinator, will oversee a recently allocated $2 million in community safety innovation and partnership grants for neighborhood groups working to prevent gun and other violent crimes. Johnson, known as a lifelong coalition builder, will support these groups. 

Meeting Nashville’s Growing Needs: 
Investing in Metro’s Workforce The mayor proposed funding Metro’s employee pay plan with an investment of more than $30.4 million. As a percentage of Nashville’s population, Metro General Government has fewer employees than it did a decade ago. Nonetheless, city employees are efficiently delivering neighborhood services – for example, speeding up 9-1-1 answer times by 26 percent, filling potholes in 3.3 days and picking up 99.75 percent of the city’s trash and recycling on time. 

Protecting Our Climate and Environment 
Mayor Cooper proposed increasing Metro’s residential recycling from once to twice a month – another step toward cutting the city’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, generating 35 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025 and reaching 100 percent renewable energy in 20 years. “Last year’s budget crisis prevented us from being able to act on this initiative,” he said. “But it’s time to commit to more frequent recycling service to divert waste from our landfills. Sustainability is more than a priority for Metro – it is a promise to create a future that is worthy of our children.” 

Next Steps 
The mayor will submit his operating budget plan for Fiscal Year 2022 on Friday, April 30. It goes before Metro Council for consideration and approval.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Farmer Williams at work in his urban homestead.

 I have been to Farmers Co-op and I've got the cap to prove it.

Since retiring I have upped by gardening game.  Today, I went to the Farmers Co-op for the very first time in my life since I was a child and I also bought my first pair of overalls. 

I  really like Farmers Co-op.  For those just buying ornamental flowers, Home Depo has them beat, but for seeds, sets, and 6-pack of veggie plants, Farmer's has them beat.  Plus, it is fun to see what all is to be had, including tools and overalls, at the Co-op.

The Davison County Farmers Co-op is on Dickerson Road.  If you are a back yard gardener, I highly recommend at trip to the Co-op. 

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

"How President Joe Biden’s policies are contributing to the immigration crisis." Tennessean Op-ed by Raul Lopez.

Raul Lopez is the executive director for Latinos for Tennessee, a group committed to promoting faith, family, freedom and fiscal responsibility to the Latino community living in Tennessee. 


 How President Joe Biden’s policies are contributing to the immigration crisis 

Raul Lopez
by Raul Lopez -
The images from the U.S.-Mexico border are heartbreaking. As a father of six, it pains me to see images of families with small children filled with fear and uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring. 

As a refugee from Communist Cuba, the crisis at the border brings back memories of what my family and I faced when we first got to the U.S. But unlike the situation my family and I faced, the current immigration situation we are seeing at the border is completely predictable. 

... According to one estimate, the U.S. Border Patrol has seen a sharp increase of unaccompanied children from 5,858 in January of this year, to 9,457 in February — or a 61% increase. According to the same analysis, this was the largest one-month percentage increase since 2010! ... Under Trump’s leadership, the U.S. demanded that migrants seeking asylum into our country wait in Mexico while their case was being considered. ... Rather than keep in places policies that were deterring would be immigrants from making the long treacherous journey north, President Joe Biden rescinded former President Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy. Predictably, word spread. Migrants knew that with the change in administration, once again all they needed do was to make it to the U.S. (link)

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Conservative Groups of Middle Tennessee to sponsor an event, "Let's have a conversation."

Conservative Groups of Middle Tennessee will host an event, "Let's have a conversation."  

What: A conversation among conservatives on the strong points of the last election and how conservatives can unite to win elections.
When:  April 29, 2021, 5:30-7:30pm.
Where: Pies by Gigi, 330 Franklin Ste. 906D, Brentwood, TN. 37027
Who: Representatives from different conservative entities. 
  • Dr. David Black representing the Bible Project, 
  • Leader Gilbert Ramirez representing the Pilipino Chamber and the brave work actions of the Police Department, 
  • Michelle Forman from Tennessee Republican Assembly, 
  • Bobbie Partray from Eagle Forum,
Please RSVP to Tony Roberts (Chylon549@gmail.com) Dan Davis (DDD18247@gmail.com) Sandy Wells (wells46@lecorp.com)

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Join The Bastiat Society of Nashville on April 29th | "Where Have All the Capitalists Gone?" with Richard Salsman



Dear Rod,

AIER's Bastiat Society of Nashville invites you to join us on April 29th at 6:00pm for an in-person event with AIER Senior Fellow Richard Salsman

The past two decades have seen a widening, intensifying hostility toward capitalism, even though few people can even define it. Capitalism has become a scapegoat for a range of personal displeasures and societal ills. Not long ago, in the 1980s and 1990s, respect for capitalism was increasing and spreading; in the middle of those decades (1989-1991), the U.S.S.R. collapsed and the Cold War ended peacefully, with freer systems (U.S. and U.K.) the obvious winners. Yet this victory for liberty has been derided by so-called intellectuals as "neo-liberalism." 

The last two decades have seen a tragic revival of anti-capitalist ideologies and practices, including Marxism, Keynesianism protectionism, nationalism, and racism. What explains this? How can it be fixed? Who were the pro-capitalist champions that created the 1980s and 1990s? Do they exist today? Where have they gone? Dr. Salsman answers these important questions. The key point: capitalism requires a moral defense, not merely an economic one. 

The Bastiat Society of Nashville's speaker series is co-sponsored by The Beacon Center of Tennessee & The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) (affiliated with Middle Tennessee State University). This co-sponsorship does not necessarily constitute endorsement of the speakers' positions on the issues discussed. 

Ticket Prices: 
$0 for Founding Members 
$10 for Annual Members 
$20 for Non-Members $0 for Actively enrolled university students who register with a .edu email address. Those who register with a non- .edu email address will be unregistered and asked to purchase tickets at full price. 

Registration Required. Let us know if you're coming.
More about the speaker: 
Dr. Richard M. Salsman is an assistant professor of political economy at Duke University, founder and president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., a senior fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, and a senior scholar at The Atlas Society. In the 1980s and 1990s he was a banker at the Bank of New York and Citibank and an economist at Wainwright Economics, Inc. Dr. Salsman has authored three books: Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions (1990), Gold and Liberty (1995), and The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence (2017). His next book, Where Have all the Capitalists Gone? (2021) will be published by the American Institute for Economic Research. Dr. Salsman has authored a dozen chapters and scores of articles. His work has appeared in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, Reason Papers, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Forbes, the Economist, the Financial Post, the Intellectual Activist, and The Objective Standard. Dr. Salsman earned his B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College (1981), his M.A. in economics from New York University (1988), and his Ph.D. in political economy from Duke University (2012).

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These Are the 25 Most Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. #6 Memphis, #9 Knoxville and #11 Jackson.

1. Buffalo, New York 


2. Harlingen, Texas 

3. Kalamazoo, Michigan 

4. Joplin, Missouri 

5. Amarillo, Texas
 
6. Memphis, Tennessee   
If you’re walking in Memphis, you may notice just how inexpensive their housing market is. The average home price is around $261,000 and apartments go for rent for around $350 less than the national average. According to Rent Cafe, the national average rent hit $1,468 in February 2020.

Unemployment rates in Memphis are pretty high (about 11.9 percent) though there are a decent amount of job opportunities nearby. A 2020 study by Property Shark found that $250K, about the average home price in Memphis, can buy about 3,324 square feet. Comparatively, that’s 10 times the space the same amount of money can buy you in San Francisco. According to information pulled by Updater, Memphis (along with Oklahoma City and Knoxville, too), gained more residents than it lost residents during the pandemic and most of the increase of move-ins happened between June and August 2020. Updater adds that this trend is in line with other cities that gained a lot of residents this year, too, including Denver, Austin, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. 

Another pro? Tennessee also has no income taxes, though it does have a 7 percent sales tax and a 6 percent hall tax on interest and dividends.

7. Conway, Arkansas 

8. Fayetteville, Arkansas 

9. Knoxville, Tennessee 
Tennessee ranks high when it comes to getting the best bang for your buck in terms of cost of living and Knoxville is no exception. Transportation, groceries, housing-related expenses, and amenities are just a few of the things that are significantly more affordable here than in other cities. Knoxville has a median home value of $139,900 and in general, the city’s cost of living is 16.8 percent below the national average. Those who live in Tennessee already (Knoxville included) will tell you that one of the great benefits to living there is the scenery, wildlife, and access to the great outdoors. After all, Knoxville is located in the Great Smoky Mountains. 

10. Anniston, Alabama 

11. Jackson, Tennessee 
If you’re looking at other cities in Tennessee, Jackson, TN is not far from Memphis and also makes the list of cheapest cities to live in the U.S. With an average cost of living that’s 15.6 percent less than the national average, the key reasons to consider Jackson are its relatively low health care expenses and housing-related expenses. In terms of entertainment and things to do, there are plenty of museums nearby as well as distilleries and wineries, parks, and even farmer’s markets just a stone’s throw away.

To read the article, follow this link.

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Tennessee Senate Passes Bill to Prohibit “No-Knock” raids, ban choke-holds and other reforms.

by Rod Williams - Last  Monday, the Tennessee Senate passed SB1380, a bill that would prohibit “no-knock” warrants, and in the House the bill has advanced and is on the Criminal Justice Committee calendar for April 26th. The full Senate voted in favor, 33-0.


I am pleased with this development.  The House should pass the bill and the governor should sign it.  With the police shooting and BLM riots, it seems most people have retreated to their respective corners and are either waving the "defund the police," banner or the "support the police" banner.  If I had to choose, I would be in the "support the police" camp but we don't have to fall in line with one camp or the other. There are reasonable reforms that need to be enacted. Reasonable people should be willing to admit that policing can be improved and not afraid to pass legislation that addresses legitimate concerns.  

If I was sitting at home and someone knocked down my door and ran in screaming, even if they were screaming "police," I would shoot to kill if I had the opportunity.  It seems that in reaction to the demands of the left, that many on the right have become advocates of police state tactics and defenders of any actions taken by the police.   Remember Ruby Ridge and Waco?  A few years ago conservatives were skeptical of police power and were not afraid to question police actions.  Now, it seems the default position of many conservatives is to assume the police are always right and to support a more powerful and intrusive police presence and to deny there is any need for reform.  

SB1380 would make several reforms in addition to banning "no-knock" warrants.  Among the other things in the bill, the proposed law would also ban choke-holds, require police to develop de-escalation policies and training, protect police who file complaints against other officers or who cooperate with investigations of other police or who intervene to stop a fellow officer from using excessive force.   The new law also requires police to develop new policies that curtail incidents or police shooting from or at moving cars or bicycles. 

I am proud of our Republican dominated Senate for taking this action.  There are more that should be done.  Qualified immunity should be examined and civil asset forfeiture should be banned.  Supporting the police should not blind one to the need for reform.  Advocating for law and order is not the same as supporting policies that curtail civil liberties and support for police-state policies.  

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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Metro Trustee Erica Gilmore explains the reappraisal process and property taxes. "Will I Get My Refund?"

 




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Friday, April 23, 2021

Lee's criminal justice reform focuses on re-entry, imprisonment alternatives

By Jon Styf, (The Center Square)  April 16, 2021- Gov. Bill Lee has promised criminal justice reform in Tennessee, and several of his proposed bills that are set to move forward in coming weeks could have a significant effect on those in the state’s prison system. 


“I've been thinking about it for 20 years,” Lee said recently during a roundtable he held on the subject last week. “Now, we're in spot in Tennessee to really make substantive change.” 

Many of the changes proposed in the bills and in Lee's amended budget aim to reduce the prison population while focusing on re-entry for nonviolent offenders. The Reentry Success Act – House Bill 785/Senate Bill 768 – would create a mandatory supervision program for those released from prison while also creating an assumption that a prisoner will be released when the parole date is reached. The program is budgeted to cost the state $20 million a year but also is estimated to save $1.6 million in the first year and $74 million annually over the next 10 years by housing fewer prisoners. 

“To conservatives in the legislature, I'd say, this is the smart way to deal with crime,” Pat Nolan, who started the Nolan Center for Justice, said during the roundtable. “And by the savings from reducing the prison population intelligently, you can fund other programs that help prepare the inmates while they're inside to be better neighbors when they get out.” 

HB 785 is scheduled to be discussed Thursday on the House floor, and SB 768 is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee. Lee’s amended budget proposal included funding for these bills and several programs related to them, including Men of Valor ($499,500), Next Door, Inc. ($400,000) and Lipscomb correctional higher education ($121,100). 

Men of Valor is a faith-based nonprofit with the goal of having prisoners become believers and “equip them to re-enter society as men of integrity.” Next Door provides addiction services to women in crisis, and Lipscomb provides a LIFE program where traditional students learn beside prisoners from the Tennessee Prison for Women. 

“I got involved in the subject of criminal justice reform because I got involved in a prison ministry, called Men of Valor, that many of you've heard me talk about,” Lee said. “Worked with re-entry, with mentoring men coming out of prison, employed formerly incarcerated individuals. I really saw firsthand beginning 20 years ago the tension and the push and pull between retribution and rehabilitation. I also saw what I thought was a system that wasn't really working for anybody. It wasn't working well for the victims. It wasn't working well for those that were incarcerated.” 

Another part of Lee’s plan, a community corrections bill that would look for alternatives to imprisonment, also is scheduled to be discussed Thursday on the House floor and in the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday. That legislation, House Bill 784 and Senate Bill 767, is estimated in Lee’s budget to save the state $9 million annually while keeping people out of prison and putting them in community-based alternative programs. 

House bill co-sponsor Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, said that the two bills took into account victims’ rights groups' opinions from a roundtable conducted during the process of creating the bills. Curcio said HB 784’s goal is to help those normally sent to jail after mental health or substance abuse issues by giving them the help they need to prevent them from returning to jail. 

Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, said the cost savings could be used for more programs. “We could invest more in people who could have more wraparound services versus the savings just going back into the general fund,” Camper said. 

Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference President Amy Weirich said the group generally is supportive of the bills' goals but voiced concern over some of the sentencing requirement changes that limit district attorneys from making their own decisions on whether prison or treatment are the best options for a defendant. 
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry commended Lee’s plan, saying similar programs have worked in Texas. “You can call me a lot of things, which I have been called a lot of things in my political life, but soft on crime is not one of them," Perry said. "And in Texas, we believe in dispensing justice. But there's nothing just when the system is broken in the sense of you're either putting people in prison that don't deserve to be there. And my hat's really off to you from the standpoint of your Republican members and, for that matter, your Democrat members of the Tennessee Legislature, can go home to their constituents and say, 'We were really smart on crime.' ”

Rod's update and comment: On April 22, HB 785 passed the House by a vote of 90 to 1. The Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee approved SB 768 and passed it on to the Calendar Committee. On April 22, HB784 passed the House by a vote of 90-1 and SB767 passed the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee and was referred to the Calendar Committee. 

I am pleased to see these reforms pass. Favoring second chances and redemption and reform is not the same as being soft on crime.  I am proud of Governor Lee for embracing prison reform and making it happen. 

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DUI Checkpoint Planned for Friday, April 23rd

by Rod Williams- I am posting this Metro press release as a public service: 


Metro police officers will be staffing a sobriety checkpoint on Lebanon Pike in the Hermitage area late Friday night/early Saturday morning as part of the MNPD’s effort to enhance traffic safety. The checkpoint will be staffed by the DUI Unit along with extra-duty officers working through a grant from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office. 

In 2020, 55% of fatal crashes in Davidson County involved impairment, an increase from 2019 when 41% of fatal crashes in Davidson County involved impairment.

So, if you get caught in this sobriety checkpoint tonight you have no one to blame but yourself.  If you have a spouse or boyfriend who tends to drink and drive and they will be traveling in the Hermitage area, warn them. These sobriety checkpoint checks are not surprises.  The city post where they will be.

For more helpful hints from The Rod Williams School of Drunk Driving, follow this link

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Mayor John Cooper announces property tax rate cut for Nashville but you likely will pay more in property taxes.

by Rod Williams - Mayor John Cooper has been bragging that he was planning to cut tax rates, this to some praise and applause.  Don't be fooled.  Cooper is required to cut tax rates and it is very doubtful the property taxes you pay will decrease.  Here is why.

Every four years all real property must be reappraised.  However, by law the aggregate of the new values cannot result in more tax revenue for the city than before the reappraisal.  The reason for the reappraisal is "equalization."  Not all properties appreciate in value at the same rate.  Also as new properties are put on the tax role, sometimes they are put on at a higher rate than existing properties, even though they are supposed to be put on the tax roles at a value with comparable existing homes.  So over time, values get out of whack. So, the reappraisal looks at sales data anew and puts properties on the roles at what is reasonably the current value. 

Since property is appreciating, if the property tax rate stayed the same, property tax revenue would increase.  So, by law, the tax rate has to be adjusted so that the new higher appraisals do not result in more tax revenue.  The new tax rate is called "the certified tax rate,"  This rollback in the tax rate is not something Mayor Cooper has any control over.  The city is required to do it. It is dishonest of Mayor Cooper to act as if he is doing people a favor by lowering the tax rate.

 What often happens, is that administrations raise taxes in the same year as the reappraisal.  Usually this is done at the same council meeting.  The council will approve the "certified tax rate," then the next order of business may be to pass a new higher tax rate.  Since this new rate is usually lower than the old rate, politicians can still claim they voted for a lower tax rate than previously existed.  Since most people don't understand what happened, when they get their tax bill, they blame the higher taxes they must pay on the reappraisal rather than the mayor and council for increasing their taxes.

When the city adopts the "certified tax rate," and assuming then that they do not pass a higher tax rate than that, some people's taxes will go down and some will go up and some will stay about the same.  Generally, if your property appreciated more than the average appreciation; your taxes will go up.  If your property appreciated less than the average; they go down.

Don't be fooled.  Cutting the tax rate as required by law is not a tax cut. 

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

MISTRIAL UNLIKELY

…but worthy of consideration 


by Ralph Bristol, reposted from Facebook - Before Derek Chauvin is sentenced six weeks from now, the defense will likely file a motion to declare a mistrial, based on both the judge’s failure to sequester the jury to shield jurors from prejudicial news coverage and the statements made by President Biden and Rep. Maxine Waters in the final days of the trial. 

There will, without question, be an appeal.  

The judge practically handed the defense an appeal argument when he scolded Waters in the courtroom for urging protestors to “get more confrontational.” He further said he wished all politicians would refrain from commenting on the trial, an admonishment that would include President Biden, who said he was "praying that verdict is the right verdict" and that "I think it's overwhelming, in my view."  

The jury was not sequestered until their deliberations began, and that took practically no time at all. During the trial, they went home and had full access to all news, which included the vandalism of a home thought to be that of one of the defense witnesses. It was smeared with blood and a pig’s head was left as a calling card. The intimidators hit the wrong home, but if they will do that to a witness, what might they do to a juror responsible for the “wrong” verdict. It would not be unreasonable to conclude that the jury was both prejudiced and intimidated by the news to which they had full access until the trial was “all over but the verdict.”  

BUT – JUST BECAUSE IT WASN’T A FAIR TRIAL…. …doesn’t mean the verdict was wrong.  

I was neither intimidated nor prejudiced by the news coverage, and based on the whole of the evidence and testimony, I would have found Chauvin guilty of at least one of the charges.  For the record, Chauvin was convicted of the following: 
  • Second-degree unintentional murder – which means he caused Floyd's death "without intent" while committing or attempting to commit felony third-degree assault, defined as “the intentional infliction of substantial bodily harm.” 
  • Third-degree murder – meaning he caused Floyd's death by "perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and displaying a depraved mind, without regard for human life." • 
  • Second-degree manslaughter – meaning Chauvin caused Floyd's death by "culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm." 
I would have found Chauvin guilty of the last charge. I have some doubt about the other two, but I don’t find it unreasonable that the jury would find otherwise, even without access to a daily diet of prejudicial and intimidating information. 

My guess is that the justice system will not give Derek Chauvin a new trial, in part because the judges will conclude the jury intimidation was not a significant factor in the verdict, that it likely would have been the same without the jury’s access to the prejudicial information and intimidation. 

Since a new trial would likely produce the same result, the judges will not allow a new trial.

Ralph Bristol is a former popular local conservative radio talk show host with Super Talk 99.7 (WTN 99.7) where he worked for 11 years. He is now semi-retired.

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Americans for Prosperity - Tennessee was live. Taxpayer funded lobbyists & TN Legislature updates.

 


 Americans for Prosperity provides excellent coverage of the State legislature.  

This week the AFP-TN team discusses the problem of taxpayer-funded lobbyists. We give some updates on bills that moved through the state legislature. Lastly, we cover the following federal topics and ways to take action: Biden's outrageous infrastructure plan, The PRO Act, H.R.1 & S.1, and the "personal option" health care plan. Full Show Notes Here: https://www.evernote.com/l/AM-jiZqWGP...

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Monday, April 19, 2021

Tennessee lawmakers to consider reducing eligibility time for unemployment benefits. One should not get paid more for sitting home doing nothing than for working.

by Vivian Jones (The Center Square) – A bill that would change how long Tennesseans can receive unemployment benefits is scheduled to be discussed Wednesday in a House subcommittee. 

House Bill 1039, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, would reduce the number of weeks that eligible unemployed workers can receive benefits from 26 weeks to 12 weeks.  

“The notion of us, week in and week out, just paying unemployment when there are jobs readily available from one end of the state to the other is really bad government,” said Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby.“ And we’re encouraging people to sit still instead of being productive.”  
“I mean this is some real Ebenezer Scrooge type of stuff here,” Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, told Fox 17 News. 

While the bill reduces the number of weeks people can receive unemployment benefits, National Federation of Independent Business Tennessee State Director Jim Brown said an amendment is set to be introduced Wednesday that will increase the weekly pay by $25 a person. Tennesseans on unemployment currently receive a maximum of $275 per week.  

That increase is expected to affect 65,000 people. Brown thinks "everyone is a bit more comfortable" with the bill after the amendment to increase the amount of benefits was broached since Tennessee’s unemployment benefits haven't been updated for 15 years.  

Tennessee’s average duration for unemployment is second worst in the southeast behind Kentucky at 15 weeks. Brown said 250,000 jobs are on Tennessee’s jobs website and many NFIB members are having a hard time having applicants show up for interviews for a variety of reasons, from the COVID-19 pandemic to a fear of losing the current unemployment benefits.  

Some businesses have had to significantly increase employee pay to combat the struggles in finding new employees, Brown said.  

“Forty-two percent of members have jobs to fill, and they can’t,” Brown said. The legislation stipulates if the state’s average unemployment rate is more than 5.5%, then payments would be extended at an increment of one additional week per every half a percentage point up to a new maximum of 20 weeks if the rate is higher than 9%.  

The most-recent data shows Tennessee had a 5.1% unemployment rate in January with some counties, including Shelby, Hardeman, McNairy, Bledsoe, Perry, Lake and Houston, having rates of 7.6% or higher. February estimates showed the state rate was around 4.9%.  

Before the amendment to add $25 per week to the maximum benefit, a fiscal summary estimated HB 1039 would save Tennessee more than $31 million a year in unemployment payments. The bill analysis also said the bill is expected to have an effect that will decrease revenue for some businesses since less in unemployment benefits would be paid out and then spent. The bill is not expected to have an effect on jobs. HB 1039 is on the calendar to be discussed in the Tennessee House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Wednesday.#

This needs to pass. Sitting at home doing nothing should not pay more than working.

Rod's Comment:  I guess I am an Ebenezer Scrooge because I do not believe one should get paid more for sitting at home doing nothing than for working.  Not only because it is wrong, but it hurts the economy and an underperforming economy hurts us all. If the government subsidizes unemployment, we will have more unemployment. We need to end this recession now and get people back to work.  This recession, at this point, is not caused by an economic downturn due to Covid-19, but is being prolonged by government policy.

With the additional $300 in federal unemployment subsidy, an unemployed person can receive $575 a week in unemployment.  If one works a 40 hour week one would have to earn $14.38 an hour to earn as much as unemployment will pay a person for not working.  Also, there is a cost to working which may include child care, gas, auto repairs, uniforms or work attire, and lunches. Many people are better off drawing unemployment than they are working.  Businesses are ready to reopen or gear back up but cannot find workers. 

Many people will sit back and enjoy their unemployment and not even start looking for work until the end of the unemployment period. They will ride that train till it runs out of track, and who can blame them?  I am pleased to see this bill.  It deserves to pass. 

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Candace Owens Show: Carol Swain


Dr. Swain shares her life story of a rise from abject poverty; nine siblings living with her mother and step father in a tar paper shack without running water, to becoming a tenured professor at Princeton University and Vanderbilt University.   At 16 she was married and a mother at age 17.  Going to college later in life she worked a 40-hour week and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in criminal justice. Her story is a remarkable one and should be an inspiration to anyone facing life's adversities.

She speaks of her personal spiritual journey and of her transition from being a Democrat to becoming a Republican. She tells of the attacks against her because she was a Black women who dared not fit the stereotype of what a Black person should believe and how she was labelled an apologist for White supremacy. 

She speaks about the racist past of progressives and how, still today, everything progressives do hurts Blacks more than any other group. She encourages Blacks to be bold, not be cowered, and to believe in their own abilities and to dare to be independent thinkers. 

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Congressman Jim Cooper presents, "Let's Talk - Gun Violence in America: A Raging Epidemic."


Event by Jim Cooper 
Online: forms.gle 
Tuesday at 6 PM CDT 
Price: Free Public · 
Anyone on or off Facebook 
Join #TeamCooper Tuesday, April 20 at 6:00pm CT for another staff-led session of “Let’s Talk: Conversations to Ensure Equitable & Just Policies.” The sixth in the series: “Gun Violence in America: A Raging Epidemic.” Register here: https://forms.gle/eCf3Cy8KBb4NHFHs7

As the author of A Disgruntled Republican I often post items which I think may be of interest to the conservative, Republican, libertarian or the greater community. Posting of a press release or an announcement of an event does not necessarily indicate an endorsement. A conversation is more interesting if there is more than one point of view presented. Rod

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Saturday, April 17, 2021

QAnon: As American as Apple Pie

by Nora Fellas, Social Media Director, Vanderbilt Political Review​, April 13, 2021 - In recent months, we have seen conspiracy theories—like the idea that President Joe Biden stole the election from Trump—increasingly accepted into the mainstream, as politicians, including former-President Donald Trump, encouraged them. Websites like QAnon, Facebook, and Parler have seemed to add fuel to the fire. But a closer look at the American tradition of conspiracy theories shows that we aren’t dealing with anything new, nor are conspiracy theories merely a fringe phenomenon. (continue reading)


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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee proposes two-week sales tax break on dining out, groceries in budget amendment

State of Tennessee press release, Tuesday, April 13, 2021,  NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced his amendment to the proposed Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget.

The amendment includes $580 million in available funds as a result of fiscal prudence. These funds will be invested in strategic long-term projects that focus on a return to pre-pandemic priorities and deliver critical services while not growing government. The budget amendment also includes nearly $100 million for a two-week sales tax holiday on all grocery sales, purchases at restaurants, and all prepared food. 

“This proposal supports Tennesseans by strategically investing in long-term initiatives that will move our state forward,” said Gov. Lee. “I’m especially proud to provide tax cuts to get money back to Tennesseans to encourage them to frequent industries that have been disproportionately and negatively impacted this year.” 
 
This amendment reflects the Governor’s priorities and includes record investments in broadband, economic development, safety and law enforcement, increasing reserves, and education. 
“Due to Tennessee’s strong financial leadership, Tennessee has been ranked number one in fiscal stability by US World News & Report in both 2019 and 2020,” said Commissioner of Finance and Administration Butch Eley.
  
“Our prudent and cautious approach has established Tennessee as a leader in fiscal conservatism, and we thank the General Assembly for their partnership in these efforts.” 

Notable investments in the FY 21-22 budget amendment include:
 
Tax Cuts 
  • $25M for a two-week sales tax holiday for groceries 
  • $75M for a two-week sales tax holiday for restaurants and all prepared food 
  • $16M to reduce the professional privilege tax by 25 percent 
K-12 Education and Mental Health 
  • $250M trust fund to assist K-12 families who are facing significant mental health issues in the wake of COVID-19 
  • $18.5M to transportation to students for summer learning 
  • $2M to provide an additional 4 high quality, grade aligned books and resources over the summer for the 88,000 rising first graders in Tennessee 
Higher Education 
  • $79M to eliminate current TCAT waitlists statewide, currently at 11,400 students 
  • $25M to Tennessee Promise to permit increases in the Hope Scholarship 
  • $4M to increase Agriculture Extension Agents at University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University 
Rural & Agriculture 
  • $50K to support the state fair (in addition to the $250,000 recurring in originally proposed budget for total of $300K and $5M non-recurring) 
  • $3M to provide additional funding for rural projects as part of the Rural Economic Opportunity Fund (in addition to $21M in originally proposed budget for total of $24M) 
Safety 
  • $500K to provide gun safety programming for children 
  • $17M to replace radios for state troopers 
  • $18M to improve the statewide disaster communications system 
  • $680K to add 4 new Homeland Security Agents 
Economic Development 
  • $5M to provide grants to restore and preserve historic downtowns across the state 
  • $3M to increase employment in Tennessee through the Small Business Innovation program
Transportation 
  • $3M recurring and an additional $10M nonrecurring to provide additional direct funding to airports across Tennessee through the Transportation Equity Fund (total $50M investment in air infrastructure) 
To view the full budget amendment, click here.

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I got a fundraising letter from the Tennessee Democratic Party today.

by Rod Williams - I doubt many Republicans get Democrat fund raising letters but I like to know what the other side is up to so I subscribe to the Tennessee Democratic Party newsletter and occasionally get a communication or fundraising email from the Tennessee Dems. 

Now, I don't take fundraising letter rhetoric very seriously. They are by nature inflammatory. Both sides, in order to motivate their supporters to give, have to get them riled up. Pointing out how evil the other side is seems to work better than touting the benefits of your side's policy positions and accomplishments, so often partisans resort to demonizing the other side. I am okay with that because I think Democrats need to be demonized. Abortion-on-Demand, Defund the Police, Socialism, The Green New Deal, advancing Critical Race Theory, trampling the constitution, and bankrupting America deserve demonetizing. Hell, Dems may be demons, or demon possessed or demon fellow-travelers and demon apologist. Demonize away! 

While there are many caring and good people who vote Democrat, and I have some among my family, the philosophy for which they vote, I do think is evil.  These people I love are not themselves evil, but they vote for evil. It is okay to demonize evil. 
 
I recently got an email from Hendrell Remus, Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party.  There is nothing earth shattering in this April 14th fundraising newsletter but I thought readers might find the tone interesting. Here are a couple excerpts. the bold highlighting is mine.

Rod, 

Bill Lee, Marsha Blackburn, Bill Hagerty – they’re all the same. They are Trump’s legacy and will continue to push his hateful ideology and dangerous agenda as long as they remain in power. That’s why the TNDP is laser focused right now on our Build Back Blue program, and why we need help reaching our mid-month goal. We still have $4,790 to raise before midnight tomorrow. Will you help? 

Notice the anti-Trump emphasis.  We can expect this for years to come. While some may not like Trump or be disappointed in him, it is hard to overstate how much Democrats hate him.  I myself am not a huge Donald Trump fan.  I certainly preferred his policies to those of the Democrats but thought Trump a bully and a BS artist with an oversized ego and was not even sure he was a conservative. I doubted he had an ideology or even core values to which he was committed.   Democrats, however, think he is "a monster," or "the greatest threat to mankind since Adolph Hitler."  Their hatred of Trump was visceral and that was from day one. They will use Trump to raise money as long as Trump is around. 

More:

The TNDP has been long overdue for an overhaul, and that’s exactly what we’re doing now.

"Long overdue for an overhaul;" is this a slap at  former chair Mary Mancini?  She did not reverse the losing streak of Tennessee Democrats and in fact I think the number of Dems holding office continued to shrink in Tennessee while she was chair.  I thought she was the wrong person to build the party but was pleased to see her in the role as chair because I did not want to see the party rebuilt.  I did not think she would be able to appeal to that moderate rural voter in say, Carol County or White County.  In fairness, I don't think any chair could have done much better. Maybe, someone with a Tennessee accent and Tennessee roots could have done a little better, but not much.  The Democrat Party has moved so far to the left that they can not appeal to most Tennesseans.  

For one thing, there is not much of a middle.  We are divided into our respective camps and there are not many people who are wavering or are persuadable or undecided. Face it, the Democrat Party's values and policies are not attractive to most Tennesseans. The Democratic Party is simply too woke, too socialist, and too radical to appeal to Tennessee voters. The Democratic Party is out of touch with Tennessee voters.

Currently the Democrat party has two blue islands in a sea of red. Democrats have a lock on Memphis and Nashville.  Democrat prospects for wining beyond these two liberal strongholds depend on immigrants moving into the state and voting for the same policies that created the disaster of the places they fled; not in changing the minds of Tennesseans who vote Republicans.  While their parents and grandparents may have voted Democrat, Tennesseans recognize that the Democrat Party of John F. Kennedy is not the Democrat Party of today. I don't think many Republicans will be persuaded to return to the Democrat fold.  I don't think an overhaul will help the Tennessee Democrat Party.

Continuing:

The TNDP has been long overdue for an overhaul, and that’s exactly what we’re doing now. On April 22, our Build Back Blue Kickoff event will mark a turning point in our efforts towards defeating Bill Lee and his co-conspirators.

"Bill Lee and his co-conspirators?" This is just thrown out there without any explanation. How did Bill Lee conspire and with whom did he conspire and what did he conspire to do?  I really do not know what he is talking about. 

Continuing:

P.S. Please, only donate if you can afford to. The impacts of this pandemic are real, and we completely understand if times are tough right now.

What??? I guess as long as Dems have the super rich liberals they don't need money from the little ole ladies on Social Security.  I have never seen a Republican fundraiser letter excuse a person for not giving.  I get inundated with Republican fundraising letters and never have I been given and escape hatch for not giving. I think Republicans would talk the grandma on social security eating cat food out of a can, out of her last dime.  Maybe, in some ways, Democrats are kindler and gentler. 

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Truth in Taxation will give TN taxpayers a fighting chance to stop a massive tax hike.

From Americans for Prosperity- Tennessee


Listen to the AFP-TN team breakdown "Truth-In-Taxation." 

Truth in Taxation will give TN taxpayers a fighting chance to stop a massive tax hike. When a city has a reckless spending & debt problem ( Nashville) they will be required to give advance public notice before raising taxes. 

Let your lawmakers know you support (HB 1315 / SB 1353) by emailing them here: www.truthintaxationtn.com 
Or, join us in person at the Property & Planning Subcommittee hearing:
When: Tuesday (4/13) at 4:30pm
Where: Cordell Hull Building (425 Rep. John Lewis Way N, Nashville, TN 37243) -- Hearing Room III (3).

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A Voter ID laws Comic Book



 













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Friday, April 9, 2021

Former scumbag disgraced judge, Casey Moreland, gets out of federal prison this weekend.

by Rod Williams, April 9, 2021 - Remember Judge Casey Moreland? You should.  He was the Davidson County General Sessions judge who pled guilty to obstruction of justice, retaliating against a witness, theft from a federally funded program, destruction of records and witness tampering. Details of his offences included swapping favorable treatment of women who appeared before him in court in exchange for sex. It also involved stealing money from a non-profit foundation he sit up to help people who needed substance abuse counseling services and could not afford it.  In the investigation of these crimes it was exposed that he hosted trips for other judges and lawyers and supplied prostitutes and marijuana. 


Corruption appears to have been a way of life for Moreland, not a lapse in Judgment. There was the case reported in the Tennnessean on March 21st of this year involving Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley of Williamson County that reveals more of Moreland's corruption.  In a case before Judge Binkley, Binkley slapped a fine of $700,000 on one of the lawyers arguing a lawsuit.  This huge fine reportedly appeared to be prejudicial and vindictive. This led to a state appellate court booting Binkley off the case and striking down his sanctions order. In the process of this action, it was revealed that Binkley had been caught in a prostitution sting in 2010, two years before he was elected to the bench. But, get this! Former Davidson County General Sessions Court Judge Casey Moreland had erased all record of it the same day Binkley was arrested.  Had this not been done, Binkley would never have been elected as judge.

Judges once elected are hardly ever scrutinized and are hardly ever defeated when running for reelection.  How many people did Moreland punish for prostitution or marijuana arrest?  How many blowjobs did he get for reducing some poor women's sentence? When a judge shares pot and whores with an attorney who will appear before him in court, can one expect impartial justice? How many judges are just as corrupt?

Lawyers, other justices, and other elected officials and Democrat Party insiders have to know this stuff goes on, yet they keep quite about it and let it continue. Just how corrupt is the judicial system? I don't know, but I assume the corruption runs deep. Shame!     



Casey Moreland
Casey Moreland
May 24, 2018 - The Casey Moreland scandal is a disgusting tale of corruption, bribery, embezzlement, obstruction of justice, greed and taking advantage of the powerless by the powerful.  I hope they throw the book at him.

Nashville is probably no more corrupt than many other cities but power corrupts. Casey Moreland is an example of why we need a vibrant press, an engaged political opposition, citizens who are paying attention, and a healthy skepticism and distrust of government.  For more on the Casey Moreland affair follow these link: here, here, and here.

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Tennessee for 2021

 

1. Church Hill 
2. Signal Mountain 
3. Mount Carmel 
4. Oakland 
5. Whiteville 
6. Camden 
7. Pleasant View 
8. Brentwood 
9. Loudon 
10. Atoka 

For details behind this list and to see if your city made the top 20, follow this link

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Life-time health insurance for former council members drastically reduced

by Rod Williams, 4/8/2021 - After an effort of more than ten years, finally the provision of life-time health care insurance for former council members has been curtailed.  It has not been completely eliminated but significantly reduced.  The bill reforming this benefit for former council members passed Tuesday night. 

Currently, and it has been this way since sometime in the eighties, once a council member leaves office, he may continue to receive Metro health insurance under the same terms as a current metro employee.  The former councilman pays 25% of the premium. We are the only city in America providing such a generous benefit to former council members.

As changed, former two-term council members would continue to get the metro health benefit for two years and would pay 25% of the premium.  Then, for two years they would pay 50% or the premium and then the portion paid by the former councilmember would increase to 75% of the premium. When they reach age 65, the Metro insurance becomes their secondary insurance to Medicare.  Probably most would drop it at that time because there are better plans for a secondary insurance rather than paying 75% of the premium for Metro insurance.

The "whereas" section of the bill (with portions highlighted by the me)  explains why this change needed to occur:

WHEREAS, in 2019, Metro Council members received a $8,100 raise approved in the prior term which was recommended by the Department of Human Resources under the belief to properly compensate Metro Council would help to promote a more diverse and inclusive Council body; and

WHEREAS, the citizens of Davidson County expect the Council to manage taxpayer money wisely, yet over $800,000 per year is spent on a benefit for Councilmembers that is not offered to other part-time Metro Government Employees; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government spent $837,438 health insurance benefits for both current and former Metro Council Members in 2020. This cost is expected to increase to $1,208,134 by 2024; and

WHEREAS, July 17, 2020 the Metropolitan Council passed a $1.066 property tax rate increase in the USD ($1.033 in the GSD), constituting the highest increase in the history of Metropolitan Nashville; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government is $4.5 billion in debt, with depleted reserves; and 

WHEREAS, in 2014, the Mayor's Office contracted with an independent consulting company (Deloitte Consulting LLP) to provide data upon which Metro could make decisions about current pay levels. This study revealed that none of Metro Nashville's peers offer retiree medical coverage to council members. To be consistent with common practice, the study recommended that Metro eliminate lifetime medical coverage for Council Members; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council should remove the lifetime health insurance benefits for Council members after they leave office.

I would add one more reason:

WHEREAS, when this benefit was passed sometime in the 80's, Metro did not have many former Council members.  It was not uncommon for  members to serve twenty or thirty years and be old men when they retired, so this benefit was not very costly.  Now, with term limits and younger people serving, there are a lot of former council members and being younger, they can receive the benefit for a much longer time. 

 This change does not effect current former councilmembers or current members who will have served two-terms by 2027.  They still will get the current level of benefit.  Members elected from now on will get the reduced benefit. 

While I would like to see the benefit eliminated in its entirety, there is no doubt that something stronger would have failed. Since 2012, efforts to end the benefit failed on four separate occasions. 

The lead sponsor of this bill was Council member Tonya Hancock.  She is commended for her taking on this fight. The bill passed by a 34-3 vote.  

Council members Emily Benedict, Colby Sledge and Tanaka Vercher were the only "no" votes.

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Study: Tennessee's violent crime rate 3rd highest among 50 states

(The Center Square) – Violent crimes in Tennessee numbered 595.2 per every 100,000 residents of the state as of 2019, the third-highest rate among the 50 states, according to a new analysis from the website 24/7 Wall St. 


The total number of murders in Tennessee in 2019 came in at 498, according to the 24/7 Wall St. analysis of FBI crime data, while the state’s poverty rate was estimated at 13.9%. The study’s authors pegged Memphis as the most dangerous city in the state.  

Nationwide, the violent crime rate for 2019 was found to be 366.7 incidents per 100,000 Americans, according to 24/7 Wall St. The violent crimes tracked in the study were aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assault and murders or non-negligent manslaughters.  

The poorest states also tend to have the highest rates of violent incidents, the study’s authors concluded. New England states, which have relatively high incomes and less poverty, were among the safest in the nation, while many lower-income Southern states had the highest violent crime rates, the analysis found.  

The most dangerous cities in Hawaii and Alabama could not be pinpointed because of a lack of municipal crime data in those states, according to 24/7 Wall St.


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Nashville is home to more billionaires who control more wealth than any other city in Tennessee

by Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square Apr 5, 2021- There are nearly 2,400 people worldwide whose individual net worth exceeds $1 billion -- and more than one-quarter of them live in the United States.  All told, there are over 250 cities and towns across the country that at least one of the world's ultra wealthy calls home. 


Using data from Forbes' Real Time Billionaires list, 24/7 Wall St. identified the city in every state with the most billionaires. The combined net worth of the billionaires in some U.S. cities exceeds the entire annual GDP of many states. 

The U.S. cities that are home to the most billionaires are often closely tied to the sources of their wealthiest residents' net worth. For example, many of the wealthiest people in the country have made their fortune through some association a successful company -- and these people often live in close proximity to these companies. As a result, many of the cities on this list have high concentrations of companies in well-paying industries like finance, tech, and oil. 

In Tennessee, Nashville is home to more billionaires who control more wealth than any other city. A total of three billionaires live in Nashville with a combined net worth of $20.7 billion. Of Nashville residents with a minimum 10-figure net worth, Thomas Frist Jr is the wealthiest, worth an estimated $8.2 billion. Although Franklin, Tennessee is also home to three billionaires, their combined net worth of $6.9 billion falls short of the combined wealth of billionaires in Nashville. 

To determine the city in every state with the most billionaires, 24/7 Wall St. compiled data from Forbes' Real Time Billionaires list. Data on residency and net worth came from the list, which is updated every five minutes to reflect changes in stock prices and private company valuations. In cases where the number of billionaires in two cities within the same state was a tie, the city with the highest total billionaire net worth was given preference. Data is current as of March 29, 2021. This is the city in every state with the most billionaires. (To continue reading and see the list follow this link.)

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Tennessee lawmakers considering government ban on COVID-19 vaccine passports

By Jon Styf,  Apr 7, 2021, (The Center Square) – A measure to prevent any government in Tennessee from requiring a COVID-19 vaccine passport is making its way through the General Assembly. 


Amended House Bill 575 is supported by Gov. Bill Lee, who worked on the language with House sponsor Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, and Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville. 

“I oppose vaccine passports,” Lee tweeted Tuesday in a statement also read by Ragan to the Tennessee House Health Subcommittee. 

“The COVID-19 vaccine should be a personal health choice, not a government requirement. “I am supporting legislation to prohibit any government-mandated vaccine passports to protect the privacy of Tennesseans' health information and ensure this vaccine remains a voluntary, personal decision,” Lee said.

The bill would not stop a business from requiring a vaccine passport. The move is similar to those made by Republican governors in Texas and Florida. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently issued executive orders that said governments cannot require the passport for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Subcommittee member Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, said she supported the bill but believed it could go further related to HIPAA medical privacy laws. Ragan said he has a health condition that has prevented him from wearing a mask, using a shield instead, and he has not run into issues when he explains he has a medical condition. Ragan said that at least one Tennessee county has passed rules requiring a vaccine passport or something similar already. 

The bill will head to the full House Health Committee.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Take a break: Let me show the bouquet I made from flowers out of my yard.

 

I had a delightful Easter with my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson.  We enjoyed French 75 cocktails, a delicious dinner of lamb and other delicious side dishes with a good Boudreaux wine.  It was a delight hunting Easter eggs with my grandson.

This is bouquet I made for the occasion.  All of the flowers came out of my yard.  There are Irises, Wisteria, money plant, Vinca, Hyacinths, another blue flower the name of which I don't know and the yellow flower is from a bush, the name of which I don't know. 

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Illegal aliens eligible for Metro to pay their rent and utilities. No Soc. Sec. # required for rental assistance program.

 Eviction moratorium offers more time to pay, while these programs cover what you owe 


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — ...The Housing Opportunity Partnership and Employment (HOPE) was made possible after Mayor John Cooper applied for and received $20.8 million for MAC to cover past due rent and utilities. 

Lisa McCrady of MAC says this new funding expands their previous rent assistance to make it far more inclusive than ever before. ....

...One notable requirement that no longer exists is the need for a social security number. McCrady says this ensures we can help even the undocumented tenants who often find themselves without options. She says many have been too worried about their status to claim benefits, making this a potential game-changer.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Arkansas's Republican governor vetoed a ban on puberty blocking drugs and genital mutilating transition therapy. When the similar bill passes in TN, Gov. Lee should sign it.

by Rod Williams- Arkansas Republican governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill that would ban doctors from performing gender transition surgery or offering puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to minors. The bill “would put the state as the definitive oracle of medical care, overriding parents, patients, and health care experts,” Hutchinson told reporters at a press conference on Monday. “While in some instances the state must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human, and ethical issue. This would be, and is, a vast government overreach." (link)

I certainly do not agree with the governor on this issue.  The Republican governor was wrong to veto this bill.  Shame on Governor Hutchinson. Fortunately, the Arkansas legislature can override the governor's veto by a simple majority vote.  They should do so. 

A bill similar to the Arkansas bill is working its way through the Tennessee legislature. The Tennessee legislature does not need to defer this bill.  It is common sense and is needed and needs to pass and when it does pass, Governor Lee needs to sign it.  

If one only reads the news stories about the Arkansas and Tennessee bills, then I am sure some may think that an absolute ban on sexual transition therapy for minors is wrong because there is the rare case of the person born with a ambiguous genitalia. About one in 1,000 babies are born with ambiguous genitalia but true hermaphroditism is rare and occurs only about once in 83,000 births.  Both the Arkansas bill and the Tennessee make exceptions to the ban for special cases where there is a medical need for such medical procedures. Exceptions should be made for one with a rare medial condition that needs treatment, but not for one who is simply experiencing gender dysphoria.

There are lots of young children who may wish they were of the opposite sex at some time in their young childhood. Little boys may want to be like mommy or little girls may want to be like daddy.  Parents should not take them so seriously; after all, they are children.  Administering hormone blocking drugs or performing sex reassignment surgery is not as simply as changing from wearing boy's clothes to wearing girls clothes.  This is radical treatment and risky surgery.  It involves numerous surgeries to make a convincing girl out of a boy and not yet possible to make a convincing boy out of a girl.  And the treatment can never be stopped. And, if one changes their mind after the transition has started, they may be a freak for life. Even hormone blockers and hormone therapy can have a profound impact on one's appearance and size and physical characteristics for the rest of their life.

Some people do start the process of transitioning and then change their mind and attempt to reverse the process.  The term for this is "Desistance."  Desistance rates for adults are relatively low. Desistance rates among young children are much higher. Among children referred to gender clinics for either gender dysphoria or gender non-conformity, most changed their mind by the time they were in their 20's (link).  Some of the changes cannot be undone.  Even in the best of transition cases, there are serious side effects.  Gender reassignment has serious medical consequences and side effects including the risk of death.  

Many people who grew up to be normal males or females, at a young age, thought they were really the opposite sex in the wrong body.  Much of this is the result of media attention to the issue.  Now, that children are giving an option of thinking they may be of the other sex despite their genitalia telling them otherwise, and facing the challenges and confusion of experiencing puberty, some are thinking they may be transsexual.  Previously, they did not even know that was an option. It has been glamorized and people who have switched genders have been portrayed as heroic. 

This phenomena of children claiming to be transsexual and seeking a sex change is growing.  If you normalize and accept any behavior or perversity, you will have more of it.  Data shows that a child is more likely to come out as "trans," if they have a classmate or other acquaintance who has done so. 

Some advocates of sex change therapy will argue that a sex change is the appropriate response to gender dysphoria because people experiencing this condition are subject to a miserable existence and even suicide.   A sex change is not a cure for what ails them.  Even among people who have undergone gender reassignment procedures, suicide rates, psychiatric morbidities, and mortality rates remain markedly elevated above that of the general population.

While adults can weigh the risk and decide for themselves the risk and benefits, society has an obligation to protect children. I am not one who thinks the state should be quick to tell parents how to raise their children.  I would not have the state take the child away from a family because they belonged to a strange religious cult or adhered to a minority political belief system. If they want to raise little Johnny as a Nazi or a Communist or a nudist or a Muslim or a global-warming-denying, evolution-denying Christian fundamentalist and who use corporal punishment to discipline the child, the state should not interfere.  If they want to dress little Johnny as Jennie, and put her in lace and dresses, the state should not consider that any of the state's business.

If, however, a parent denies food and medical care to a child or physically or sexually abuses a child then that is the state's business.  Some of this is a judgment call and the dividing line between where the state does have an interest and where it does not is sometimes a blurred shade of gray.  However, allowing a parent to stop the process of puberty or allow sexual organs to be mutilated is not a judgement call. It is wrong.  Society has an obligation to protect these children.  

Opponents of legislation prohibiting puberty blockers and sexual reassignment surgery for children have portrayed proponents as intolerant, ignorant, transphobic and uncaring.  Popular culture and the mainstream media align with the opponents of these laws.  We should not let the disapproval of the ultrawoke and the glamorous Hollywood elites dissuade us from protecting children. 

The legislature needs to pass HB578 and Gov. Lee needs to sign it. 



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