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Sunday Column: Overcrowding in Legislatorland

A time-honored ritual for the lords and ladies of Legislatorland is welcoming various groups of common citizens to the state castle, um, Capitol for a Day On The Hill, wherein they are granted audiences with the elected nobility to present grievances, pay homage and raise awareness.
It can be quite a spectacle as the Day On The Hill (DOTH) folks mix with other, less-organized common citizens wearing frowns or smiles — and bumper sticker slogans affixed to their chests — supporting or opposing some proposed law of the land, generally bored schoolchildren getting a dose of civics education and the everyday inhabitants of Legislatorland, lobbyists trying to influence the elected nobility and staffers trying to serve them.
It can also be quite an annoyance if you’re trying to walk across the hall from one room to another as members of the peaceful multitude clog the plaza in numbers that would have fire marshals clearing the area, writing tickets and issuing citations anywhere else.
One lobbyist says he discourages DOTHs because of the risk that individuals in the DOTH crowd will say something off message to a legislator — “You idiot!” for example — and the increasing annoyance factor.

Political Fundraiser Arrested for Theft in Kingsport

Report from Hank Hayes in the Kingsport Times-News:
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today arrested a Greeneville man for stealing money raised by his political action group in charge of organizing a GOP Presidential forum scheduled for October 2011 at the MeadowView Marriott in Kingsport.
The event was never held.
Fabian Farrell Story, 36, was indicted by the Washington County grand jury in November of 2012 on one count of theft over $10,000. Story was the executive director of the group called Conservatives on the Move, allegedly coordinating the political event.
The TBI says Story contacted Johnson City political activist, Phyllis White, on July 1, 2011, to help him raise money and organize the event. White raised approximately $30,000 and deposited it in a Washington County bank. The TBI investigation revealed that Story withdrew the money and it was not refunded to the donors.
Story was arrested by the TBI at the Rutherford County court house where he was appearing on a child support case. He was booked into the Rutherford County Jail on $10,000 bond and will be transported to the Washington County Jail tomorrow.

Bill Repealing Early High School Graduation Program Advances

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to do away with the state’s early graduation program is advancing in the House.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin (HB2235) was approved Tuesday on a voice vote in the House Education Committee. The companion bill unanimously passed the Senate 30-0 last week.
Under the so-called Move on When Ready Act, a student who scores 27 on the ACT is only required to obtain 18 hours of specific classes to get a diploma. Casada’s proposal would require students to complete 22 hours before moving on.
Democratic Rep. John Deberry of Memphis said he voted against the legislation because he thinks students should benefit from the law’s requirements if a “child’s aptitude and all-around fitness” show they have the ability to advance.

TV Station Reports on Paul Stanley

SAVANNAH, Tenn. (AP) — A former state senator from Tennessee says the scandal that drove him from office and cost him his marriage is a fall he must live with, but he has moved on.
Paul Stanley’s affair with a legislative intern and a subsequent extortion attempt erupted in the summer of 2009.
The former conservative Republican lawmaker from the Memphis suburb of Germantown told WMC-TV he isn’t a person who went after interns, but conceded he knew he was going to have an affair with 22-year-old McKensie Morrison as soon as he saw her (http://bit.ly/vDMOvb).
Stanley now lives in Franklin and is the political editor of an online publication, The Christian Post.
Stanley has also written a book, “The Extortion of Forgiveness,” which is set for release next year.

Note: He’s also got a blog, link HERE.

Republican Presidential Candidates Invited to Kingsport Debate (Romney says, no thanks)

A report from Hank Hayes:
KINGSPORT — Candidates to appear weren’t named, but a Nashville-based conservative group announced plans Thursday to stage a GOP presidential debate at the MeadowView Marriott this fall.
Conservatives On The Move (COTM) is hoping 3,000 seats to be sold for either $50 or $25 apiece will be filled for the debate, scheduled to happen at 2 p.m. on Oct. 15.
“The number one question we get is: Who’s coming?” Fabian Story, executive director of COTM’s political action committee (PAC), said before a few event supporters at MeadowView. “Our policy is we’re not going to reveal who’s accepted or declined until every candidate has had an opportunity to either accept or decline. At this point, the only candidate that has declined our invitation has been (former Massachusetts Gov.) Mitt Romney. … We have several candidates who have confirmed but have asked we not release their names until they put it on their fall calendars.”

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