Tag Archives: fails

Bill to Raise Cockfighting Penalties Flops in Senate

A bill to raise penalties for cockfighting in Tennessee fell two votes short of passage in the state Senate Monday night after Sen. Frank Niceley depicted the measure as an attack on farmers raising livestock by animal rights’ activists.
“This bill is not about chickens, not about cockfighting. It’s about killing animal agriculture in America,” said Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains.
He contended that bill “makes it illegal to own a bantam hen” and “as written, it could outlaw hunting hogs with hounds in Tennessee.” He also said the Humane Society of the United States, which supports the bill, spent $50,000 trying to defeat him in his last campaign and “word in the hall is” that the organization is spending $90,000 on lobbying.
Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron, sponsor of the bill (SB285), said the bill would not make ownership of chickens “of any kind” illegal would merely bring Tennessee in line with 39 other states in penalizing cockfighting.
He also declared that he was not sponsoring the bill for HSUS, but because the mild penalty now was bringing crime associated with cockfighting to Tennessee. In 2008, he said the TBI arrested a group of cockfighters engaged in “multi-ton meth and heroin” shipments, working in conjunction with “Mexican drug dealers.”
The bill sets a minimum fine of $500 for both those who engage in cockfighting and spectators on first offense, though the crime would still be classed as a misdemeanor. The current minimum fine is $50.
Those convicted of a second offense for engaging in cockfighting could be prosecuted on a felony under the bill, subject to a fine of up to $3,000 and six years in jail.
Sens. Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey, and Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, expressed misgivings about the bill.
Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, repeated a remark he said was initially made by another senator years ago: “A chicken’s got a lot better chance in the ring than he does with Colonel Sanders.”
The final vote was 15-8 with nine senators abstaining or not voting. A bill needs 17 yes votes to pass the Senate.

Nullification Bill Fails on 4-4 Tie Vote in Senate Judiciary

After an hour of impassioned debate over whether state legislatures can overrule federal statutes or U.S. Supreme Court decisions, legislation calling for Tennessee nullification of federal firearms laws failed on a 4-4 tie vote Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
State Attorney General Bob Cooper had issued a formal legal opinion declaring the bill (SB250) was unconstitutional because of the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. But sponsor Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, brought in witnesses to counter Cooper’s opinion.
Most notable was a woman calling herself “Publius Huldah,” who refused to give her real name. She operates a blog under that name that promotes nullification as a valid constitutional principle.
“When the federal government makes a clearly ursurpatious law, such as restricting firearms, it is the duty of the state” to nullify that law, she said.
The committee chairman, Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown, said the bill is unconstitutional and could lead to Tennessee sheriffs and their deputies “going out and using deadly force, potentially to shoot and kill federal authorities, for enforcing the federal laws.”
The bill, as filed declares the federal agents trying to enforce a law deemed void by the Legislature would be subject to felony prosecution. An amendment added Wednesday at Beavers’ request dropped the crime rating to a misdemeanor, which she said would mean federal agents could be issued a citation rather than being arrested and taken into custody by state law enforcement officers.
A legislative liaison for Gov. Bill Haslam was asked the governor’s view on the bill. Samuel Arnold told the committee the administration has “significant concerns about the constitutionality” of the bill and there is “a good chance he (Haslam) is not going to sign it.” Without an actual veto, however, the bill would become law without the governor’s signature.
The final 4-4 vote came with one member of the panel, Sen. Ophelia Ford, D-Memphis, absent. Those voting for the bill were Sens. Mike Bell, R-Riceville; Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville; Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga; and Mark Green, R-Clarksville. Voting no were Sens. Lowe Finney, D-Jackson; Kelsey; Doug Overbey, R-Maryville; and John Stevens, R-Huntingdon.

Health Care Compact Dies as Legislature Adjourns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that would allow Tennessee to join an interstate compact challenging the federal health care law has failed in the House.
The chamber voted 45-26 along partisan lines to approve the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark Pody of Lebanon. But that was five votes short of the majority needed to pass measures in the 99-member chamber.
The legislation would provide a waiver for each participating state to create its own health care system. Sponsors say the proposal is intended to give Tennesseans more choices concerning health care if the compact were approved by Congress.
The House had earlier approved a change to make Tennessee’s participation in the compact optional. That provision was taken out in the Senate.
Twenty-eight members were either absent or abstained on the vote.

Note: All 34 Democrats either voted against the bill or did not vote. Three Republicans formally abstained, three more were officially excused and absent and 12 did not vote.
A comment from Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, who sponsored the bill to passage in the Senate: “I’m disappointed that people played games down to the end.”
She said the games were played by Democrats with re-election campaigns in mind and “apparently it worked with some people.”

Bill Allowing Early Voting Without Photo ID Fails in House Committee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to allow people to cast early votes without a photo ID has failed in the House.
The measure sponsored by Democratic House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley would set up a system for photographing voters at the polling place instead of requiring them to provide government-issued photo identification.
The measure received seven votes in favor, but eight votes against in the House State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday.
A separate measure seeking to do away with the state’s new photo ID law altogether was delayed for a week.

Open Container Bill Fails Again

Yet another attempt to pass an “open container” law for Tennessee highways has been shot down at the state legislature, reports WPLN.
It is the sixth year in a row the bill has failed. (Note: Actually, I think the failures go back a couple of decades.) Currently a driver can not legally drink, but passengers can. Without an open container law, the driver can simply hand off his drink when pulled over by police.
The House State and Local Government Subcommittee voted 2 to 2 on the bill today, with five members failing to vote at all.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott wanted the bill as a weapon against drunk driving.
“I’m for anything that keeps alcohol out of vehicles. People have to remember that driving is a privilege, and not a right, in this state. For us to neglect the fact that drinking and driving affects our life and innocent people on the roads, I think, is irresponsible.”
A state transportation official says failure to pass the law costs Tennessee about $17 million in federal funds that would be spent on roads and bridges. The state does not completely forgo the money, instead it must be spent on highway safety programs, such as the “Booze It and Lose It” advertising campaign.