The Senate approved Thursday a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would allow veterans organizations to stage gambling events to raise money for themselves or other charitable causes.
The proposal by Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, was approved by the Senate 24-6, meeting the two-thirds support level required for final passage of a proposed constitutional amendment. If the House also approves the measure, it will go on the 2014 general election ballot for final approval by voters.
When the state constitution was amended in 2002 to allow lotteries, a provision was included to allow some charitable groups to hold gaming events for fundraising, if each event is approved by the Legislature. Crowe said veterans groups should have the same rights of fundraising as other organizations now covered.
A news release on the proposed amendment is below.
Chuck Rated No. 3 by WaPo
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is ranked No. 3 on The Washington Post’s list of the top 10 House incumbents who could lose their primaries this year (H/T Chattanooga TFP). Here’s the relevant paragraph of the list (which fails to mention the third major GOP candidate, dairy heir Scottie Mayfield): 3.. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn): Fleischmann won this east Tennessee seat in 2010 when then-Rep. Zach Wamp ran unsuccessfully for governor. But now he faces a serious primary challenge from another Wamp — Weston Wamp, the 25-year-old son of the former congressman. Wamp’s last name and his father’s connections in Washington ensure he will be a well-known and well-funded opponent for the still-new-to-Washington Fleischmann. Something to Crowe About?
Robert Houk writes in his weekly column that Sen. Rusty Crowe, senior member of the Northeast Tennessee delegation to the state General Assembly with 22 experience in Nashville, Crowe has “just about seen and done it all” – or thought so until this year. Crowe has managed to emerge from each battle unscathed and a little bit wiser. Yes, he’s seen a lot as a state senator, but even Crowe admits he has never seen anything like the “polarizing” debate about to come on the so-called “guns in parking lots” bill Bizarro World
Frank Cagle begins a column on the effort to make teacher evaluations secret by recalling that value-added testing scores have been secret for a couple of decades now – though the original intent was to make them open after the procedure was well established.
His opening line: Sometime I think I’ve entered Bizarro World when I view public policy issues being argued in the Tennessee Legislature. Targeted Fundraising
On Saturday, the final day of a political fundraising quarter that included a $2,500-per-plate dinner for U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., Democratic challenger Bill Taylor invited donors to shoot guns for 100 times less, reports the Chattanooga TFP. Taylor hosted his “Candidate Shootout Challenge” Saturday at Shooter’s Depot in Chattanooga, daring people to fire eight rounds with him in exchange for a $25 campaign donation. The gist of the Second Amendment agreement: If Taylor hit the bull’s eye more often than his donor, the donor owed the campaign an extra $10.
Taylor and Maynardville, Tenn., physician Mary Headrick are competing for the Democratic nomination in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District in the Aug. 2 primary… An Ooltewah resident who manages physician offices, Taylor said he raised about $1,000 Saturday, adding that some donors gave him “a lot more” than his campaign asked for
Up in Sullivan County, Robert Houk sees some political intrigue involved in the firing of the veteran county election commissioner after she “called out” three election commissioners for a possible violation of the state’s “sunshine law.” Two Republican commissioners and one Democrat jointed in voting to fire Connie Sinks. One Democrat and one Republican voted against the dismissal.
And some area state legislators are mentioned. The politics of the vote and the possible repercussions are indeed intriguing.
For instance, many are wondering what (if anything) was promised to Graham for his vote. Will his decision to join the two Republicans cost Graham his position on the board? I’ve heard scuttlebutt that there is a movement by some county Democrats to have him removed from the Election Commission.
Walter Buford, the new chairman of the Washington County Democratic Party, told me last week he would not even speculate on the Election Commission matter until he has all the facts.
“I’d rather not make any comments until I am aware of all the intricacies,” he said.
And what about the future of Willis and Ruetz on the board? There’s been a struggle inside the Washington County Republican Party in recent years between far-right forces aligned with state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, and GOPers who are not. The reappointments of Willis, Ruetz and even Chinouth could be affected by which side prevails in this battle.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, said he had no inkling that Sinks was about to be fired and was surprised to learn of her dismissal. “I heard about it afterward when I got a call from Sue Chinouth,” Crowe said.
The senator said he and his legislative colleagues from Washington County (Hill and state Rep. Dale Ford, R-Jonesborough) had not planned to make any changes to their appointments to the Election Commission next year. Still, Crowe said he feels he has a duty to “find out what’s really going on” with the Election Commission.
Conservative groups are helping push the Republican legislative efforts to outlaw collective bargaining by Tennessee teachers and other bills to curb the influence of the Tennessee Education Association, according to Rick Locker. Although their numbers were dwarfed by the 200 to 300 teachers opposing the anti-bargaining bill at a hearing Wednesday, tea party activists also attended wearing stickers in support of the bill, along with leaders of Eagle Forum of Tennessee, Family Action Council of Tennessee and other groups.
In the hours leading up to the Senate Education Committee vote on SB 113, Tennessee Tea Party urged members to pressure senators “to stand firm against the teachers unions.”
“We have two senators who are holding out and need some pressure applied … Senators Rusty Crowe and Jamie Woodson,” said the tea party’s website. Both Crowe, R-Johnson City, and Woodson, R-Knoxville, joined in a 6-3 party-line vote to send SB 113 to the Senate floor. Approval there is expected, given the GOP’s 20-13 majority.
… Family Action Council founder and former GOP state senator David Fowler notified his members about the bill, criticizing “all the liberal social policies that the TEA and its national ally, the National Education Association, stand for,” he wrote.
Other bills would prohibit payroll deduction for TEA dues and remove TEA’s authority to nominate a teacher member of the state pension system trustees.
The bills’ sponsors denied they are retribution for TEA’s larger political contributions to Democrats than Republicans, but Fowler said in his Web posting: “Now with Republicans firmly in control, the TEA is on the brink of ‘payback’.”
And there’s a quote from TEA’s Jerry Winters: “The fact that the tea party and the Eagle Forum and some of these far-right, out-of-the-mainstream groups are supporting this ought to send a message to the citizens that this is not about education, it’s about politics.”
See also blogging Ben Cunningham, veteran anti-tax activist and tea party supporter, reminiscing about TEA’s support for a state income tax (with pictures). He was on hand at the Legislative Plaza to support passage of the bill in question.