Tag Archives: crazy

Most ‘Crazy Bills’ Dying; But Talk Continues

On the state Senate floor last week, Sen. Brian Kelsey brought up a resolution that he explained as putting senators on record as declaring “if the federal government tries to infringe on our rights as American citizens, then we will intervene and fight for those rights.”
This prompted Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris to ask his fellow Republican how the resolution (SR17) differed from perhaps the most prominent of several bills introduced this year to nullify federal laws and subject federal officers to prosecution should they try to enforce them.
The question was a bit of a gibe at Kelsey because Norris knew the answer. A resolution — especially one that faces a vote only in the Senate and not in the House — amounts only to a rhetorical statement.
And the resolution merely expresses the Senate’s “firm intention and resolve to fully marshal the legal resources of the state” to see that any federal laws violating 2nd Amendment rights are challenged in court.
“Are we going to go out and simply start shooting people? No,” said Kelsey, R-Germantown. “When we have disputes we do not resort to warfare and shooting.”
That brought Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, to her feet to declare that her bill (SB250) did not call for shooting federal agents, merely their arrest. As originally drafted, federal officers enforcing gun laws would have faced a felony prosecution, though that was amended to a misdemeanor.
Kelsey took a lead role in killing Beavers’ bill, which declared the state Legislature has authority to nullify federal gun laws and, once nullified, make FBI or ATF agents subject to arrest if they tried to enforce them. If failed after lengthy debate before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Kelsey chairs.
The measure is an example of what some Democrats call “the crazy bills.” Without referring to specific bills, House Speaker Beth Harwell has implored Republicans to steer clear of “fringe” legislation. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey has lamented bills that are “a distraction.” Gov. Bill Haslam has chided media for focusing its reporting on the “craziest legislation.”
At the outset of the 108th General Assembly, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner, among others, voiced fear that the new Republican supermajority would “run amok” enacting “all these right-wing extremist bills.”
With just two weeks remaining until the end of the first supermajority session, that has not been the case. Many legislators credit this to the generally quiet efforts of Harwell and Ramsey or, to a lesser extent, Haslam.

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Exporting ‘Crazy Legislation’ May ‘Become the Engine That Drives TN Economy’

This session, the Tennessee General Assembly’s output of insane bills may become the jobs-producing legislation the lawmakers thus far have failed to produce, says satirist Scott McNutt. An excerpt:
The state legislators’ batty bill creation has been so prodigious the past few sessions, other states are looking to Tennessee to supplement their own absurd, offensive lawmaking, and Gov. Bill Haslam sees a potential windfall in their interest.
Haslam’s staff learned that, for a bill Arizona Republican Rep. Judy Burges introduced in her state this year, she borrowed language from Knoxville Republican Rep. Bill Dunn’s successful 2012 “academic freedom” legislation. That so-called “thoroughly modern monkey” bill encourages teachers to teach that scientific theories, like evolution, global climate change, relativity or gravity, are controversial.
Before Tennessee passed its monkey bill, Louisiana was the only state in the union with such a regressive law. But Haslam thinks Tennessee’s leadership in the field of backward thinking can be profitable.
“We figured, ‘If our Legislature has us on the leading edge of a backward charge, why not demand a fee from those who want to follow our trailblazing?’ ” he said. “We’ll sell our ditzy bills to other states, instead of them copying them. Given our zany lawmakers, exporting crazy legislation may just become the engine that drives Tennessee’s economy.”
Indeed, despite a 15-bill-per-legislator limit, Tennessee lawmakers are churning out obnoxious bills, ranging from homophobic to paranoiac to xenophobic, at a rate that may make states formerly considered more backward than Tennessee green with envy — and state leaders would like to turn that into the folding kind of green.
“Look at the subjects of the bills we’re working on,” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said. “Gun freedom, workers’ compensation curbs, federal law nullification, United Nations prohibitions, religious objections to performing counseling, freedom from motorcycle helmets — and that’s just off the top of my head. If you’re a legislator looking to lead your state back to the past, we’re already miles ahead of you. And for a price, you can follow our lead.”
Still, Tennessee is currently a net importer of silly bills, with groups like the National Rifle Association nd the American Legislative Exchange Council contributing language to, or providing blueprints for, loony legislation, such as this year’s NRA-approved guns-in-trunks bill and previous years’ anti-Islam and anti-union legislation, largely authored by ALEC. But other leading legislators agree that Tennessee can grow to be a top kooky law exporter if it nurtures its native talent for ridiculousness.

Black Campaign: Lou Ann Zelenik ‘Crazy If She Thinks’ Tax Hikes Ignored

News release from Diane Black campaign:
GALLATIN, TN — With only 15 days until the primary election, Lou Ann Zelenik is trailing badly in the polls, fundraising and grassroots support. As her desperation grows so do the false negative attacks on Black. Perhaps the increase in false attacks is Zelenik’s attempt to divert scrutiny from her own record of supporting tax increases.
“While Diane Black and her fellow conservatives are waging a battle to stop President Obama from raising taxes on all Americans and pushing our economy over a cliff; at home in Tennessee Lou Ann Zelenik is waging her own war in false attacks on Diane Black to divert attention from the fact that she has a record of supporting tax increases,” said Black spokesman Jennifer Baker. “One thing is certain Lou Ann Zelenik is crazy if she thinks people will ignore her record of supporting tax increases. She’s definitely not as conservative as she would like people to believe.”
Zelenik who has run for office three previous times has a shameful record as a career politician. She ran for State Senate and failed. She then ran for County Chairman and won, only to support tax increases during her tenure. Zelenik then ran for Congress and lost. Zelenik’s last failed campaign for Congress was one of the dirtiest campaigns in Tennessee history. The attacks she launched on her opponent, Diane Black, were so false that Zelenik’s advertising team settled out of court; paying a monetary settlement and admitting that the negative attack ads they produced for Lou Ann Zelenick had no factual basis and they had no knowledge of any unethical behavior.
“Lou Ann’s Zelenik’s record as a career politician is shameful. Not only does Zelenik have a record of supporting tax increases; she is a two time loser who has stooped so low in the lies that she spreads about her opponents that her campaign team was forced to settle out of court and admit that the attacks were baseless and to their knowledge false.
Lou Ann Zelenik Defended Property Tax Increases In Rutherford County:
Lou Ann Zelenik Publicly Supported Property Tax Increase In Rutherford County. “Although the mayor has called for freezing open government jobs and pay raises and streamlining health insurance costs, Burgess recommended a 6.8 percent property tax increase this year at a time when sales and development taxes are down and rainy-day funds are down to minimum levels. The County Commission approved a 17.5-cent increase for a new property tax rate of $2.735 per $100 of assessed value. Zelenik, though, said Burgess made the right decisions.” (“Ballot battles already forming,” The Daily News Journal, 7/20/09)
Zelenik Defended Tax Increases As “Difficult Choices.” “Zelenik said Burgess has faced funding issues for a growing county, especially to pay for school construction. ‘He’s been put in a position of trying to respond to the needs of the students and the needs of the taxpayers, and sometimes difficult choices have to be made,’ she said.” (“Ballot battles already forming,” The Daily News Journal, 7/20/09)