On blessings and woes of Legislatorland
Maybe from a bit left-of-center perspective, David Waters lists legislative doings in the categories of ‘blessings’ and ‘woes,’ finding a mixed message in each. A sample:
Blessing: A House subcommittee killed a bill to let gun owners carry their weapons openly, without a background check, training or a permit.
Woe: The House had to kill it because the Senate already had passed it 25-2.
In a letter urging House members to support the bill, Rep. Micah Van Huss cited Ephesians 6:13: “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.”
Mixed message: Do not resist an evil person, unless you can blow his head off?
Ramsey a winner, Haslam a loser?
Rocky Top Politics, a decidedly right-of-center blog that’s fairly new on the scene and written anonymously, has an entertaining list of session winners and losers – mostly (but not completely) devoted to bashing establishment Republicans.
Leading the winners list are Ron Ramsey and Americans for Prosperity. Leading the losers list are “Common Core and S.C.O.R.E” along with Bill Haslam. (Note: These folks are not fans of “Kevin ‘I voted for Obama’ Huffman”.)
Democrats disappointed, but…
House Democrats gave their post-session review at a Nashville news conference with Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh deeming Republicans “flippant disregard” of Medicaid expansion benefits the biggest disappointment.
On the other hand, reports Richard Locker:
They said there were cracks in the GOP’s supermajority rule through which they were able to work with dissident Republican factions — notably for the defeat of school vouchers and Common Core’s student testing regime, and the reversal of a plan to tie teacher licensing to student test scores.
“We’re not saying that Republicans had all the bad ideas and that Democrats had all the right ones,” said Turner. “There were some moments you saw some bipartisanship this year for the first time since this administration and the supermajority took over.”
TEA declares victory
The Tennessee Education Association declares victory – actually “many victories” – in the 2014 legislative session.
Thanks to the many calls, emails and visits by educators statewide and the tireless work of TEA’s government relations team, many important bills were passed and several damaging bills were defeated.
The full TEA rundown is HERE.
And some media bashing
The Media Matters blog is chastising state media outlets – television types in particular – for not reporting on “dark money Tennessee takeover.”
The Koch brothers, through their political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity (AFP), have been at the forefront of the Tennessee takeover, pushing tax cuts, measures to block public transportation, and anti-Medicaid legislation among others. While some of Tennessee’s newspapers have been quick to connect the questionable legislation with AFP, local television coverage rarely mentions the outside influence.
…Tracking the Koch brothers’ outsized influence has recently been a popular endeavor among national news sources, so the billionaires’ leap into Tennessee sounded the alarm across national media outlets. Local and state media have been slower to point out AFP’s influence in state politics. While Koch pressure in Tennessee is nothing new, the state chapter of AFP opened last year, making this year the first legislative session with active local AFP participation.
And TNReports reasonable review is HERE.