Republicans Target Rep. Johnson, Kill Her Bills

State Rep. Gloria Johnson, a Knoxville Democrat who succeeded longtime lawmaker Harry Tindell last year, is just into the third month of her first term but already is a target by Republicans in 2014, reports Georgiana Vines.
She was mentioned last week in a news release put out by the Tennessee Republican Party in which she was criticized for pushing a bill (HB1301) requiring cities, counties and other political subdivisions to grant an unpaid leave of absence to full-time employees for service in the Legislature. The bill died in the State Government Subcommittee for lack of a second.
Chris Devaney, state GOP chair, said in the release that Johnson, an educator, pushed the mandate on local governments to make “a change to the law that she would personally benefit from.”
“It’s a lie,” Johnson said Friday. “That law had nothing to do with me. This is for police and firefighters. It came from another representative (Antonio Parkinson of Memphis) who had already used all his bills.”
State law already allows teachers to be given a leave of absence to serve in the Legislature, she said.
She said she feels another bill failed to get a second in the State Government Subcommittee on March 27 — even though it passed the Senate unanimously — because she is the House sponsor.
The bill (HB676) required meetings of certain boards and commissions, like the Tennessee Election Commission, be made available by video streaming over the Internet. The only Democrat on the subcommittee, Rep. Johnny Shaw of Bolivar, moved for approval.
“I couldn’t get a second. Even the Election Commission unanimously supported the bill. I’m No. 1 the Republicans want to defeat,” she said
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