Apparently trending in critical commentary from newspaper columnists are state Sens. Mae Beavers and Stacey Campfield, judging by this sampler from the weekend:
From Gail Kerr in The Tennessean:
If Sen. Stacey Campfield is king of the unnecessary legislation, Beavers is queen. Beavers, like Campfield, is prone to fly off the handle and file stuff that makes little sense and, in some cases, would be illegal. That’s the case here.
Beavers has filed a new bill that would bar state and local governments, and possibly the companies with which they do business, from buying health insurance through the federal website, HealthCare.gov.
We get it. Beavers is constantly running for re-election. Trying to prove she is the rightest of the right is the outcome she seeks, not good legislation.
…Beavers copied the bill from South Carolina and Georgia. She calls her version the Health Care Freedom and ACA Noncompliance Act.
A more accurate title would be “The Mae Beavers is Running for Re-election Act and Wanted Some Attila the Hun-style Publicity.”
In which case, thanks to statewide media coverage, she has succeeded beautifully.
From Otis Sanford in the Commercial Appeal, focusing on Campfield’s sponsorship of a bill that would require city and county governments to allow handgun carry permit holders to take their weapons into local parks (which, incidentally does have a House sponsor, too):
State Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville (it would be him, wouldn’t it?), introduced the bill that would fundamentally change a state law enacted in 2009 allowing handgun-carry permit holders to take their weapons into state and local parks.
To quell opposition, the 2009 law included an opt-out clause for cities and counties that don’t want to turn over their parks to gun-toters who don’t wear badges.
Naturally, Memphis chose to opt out of this silly law. The last thing this city needs is more people running around willy-nilly carrying guns.
Lest you think this was an example of a city mostly controlled by Democrats controverting the wishes of the Republican-controlled legislature, Memphis wasn’t the only local government to opt out. Germantown, which is as Republican as it gets, chose to continue banning guns in its parks. So did Shelby County government, where Mayor Mark Luttrell, the most popular Republican in these parts, holds forth.
…No one from Knoxville — who wouldn’t know Riverside and Audubon parks from Rosa Parks — should be telling local governments what to do.
If state lawmakers don’t want federal government interference on decisions involving health care and the minimum wage, they should keep their noses out of local affairs.
It’s just that simple.
Meanwhile, Scott McNutt in a News Sentinel column envisions a talking pistol advocating people’s rights in a satirical shot at gun-loving legislators. Before he gets to that part, there’s this:
For guns’ rights, state Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Guns Are People Too, wants to prohibit prohibitions on handgun permit holders taking their sidearms into city and county parks; Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Have You Hugged Your Guns Today?, wants to prohibit cities and counties from enacting any ordinances whatsoever on ordnance; and state Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Nullification Fantasy Land, wants to make enforcing federal gun laws in Tennessee a felony.
Will Popakapeneu, spokesman for Gunners United to Advance the Rights, Divinely Decreed, of Our Guns (GUARDDOG) praised the proposed measures as “a good start toward ensuring guns in Tennessee are treated with the loving care and esteem they deserve, as useful members of society.” However, he told an audience outside the State Capitol Building in Nashville that GUARDDOG would continue to push its agenda of wider gun freedoms in Tennessee.
“These bills are a good start, but they are not enough,” he said. “We will not rest until there are guns in the streets, guns in cars, guns in bars, guns in schools, guns in businesses where businesses don’t want them, guns in day cares, guns in hospitals, guns in neonatal wards, and guns in the hands of embryos, so they can protect themselves from reckless mothers-to-be.”
And, there’s a Chattanooga Times editorial bashing both Beavers and Campfield, bringing in legislation mentioned in the pieces above and some other stuff – Campfield’s “Merry Christmas” bill, for example, and Beavers’ “redneck advocacy” for continued over-the-counter sales of medications containing pseudoephedrine.
The editorial opens with this line:
The Tennessee General Assembly apparently is doing its best to audition for the next redneck reality television show.