ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers are once more asking to redraw the state’s northern border in the hope of getting water from the Tennessee River.
The House of Representatives voted 171-2 on Tuesday to adopt a resolution seeking from Tennessee a strip of land leading to the river. The offer will be sent to Tennessee officials, who have laughed off similar ideas in the past.
Georgia lawmakers argue that a flawed 1818 survey misplaced the 35th parallel. If Tennessee’s southern border stretched along the parallel, as Congress decreed in 1796, Georgia could take water from the Tennessee River. No one much cared in modern times until a water dispute between Georgia, Alabama and Florida threatened metro Atlanta’s water supply.
“It’s basically our water — at least it was when it was on our land,” said Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, who sponsored the resolution.
Under his plan, Georgia would accept the current border with the exception of a slice of land allowing for access to the Tennessee River. Tennessee leaders have so far been dismissive of the latest request.
A border change would likely require Congressional action or a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Georgia lawmakers have debated similar requests in previous years. Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue considered pursuing a lawsuit seeking to redraw the border after a federal judge ruled that Atlanta had little right to take water from the Chattahoochee River, its main water supply. That ruling has since been overturned.
Georgia leaders have floated the idea in various forms over the years. House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, suggesting expanding road and rail links to Chattanooga, Tenn., in return for water access. Attorney General Sam Olens backed boosting the role of Chattanooga’s airport in return for a pipe carrying Tennessee River water to Georgia.
Gov. Bill Haslam met with prominent Williamson County Republicans last week, not long after the Williamson County Republican Party adopted a resolution criticizing him for the hiring of a Muslim in the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Haslam said the critics don’t deserve much of his attention, reports The Tennessean. “I think that probably speaks to a pretty small survey of Republicans here,” Haslam said of the Williamson County Republican Party’s jabs.
Last week, Haslam received more than a handful of resolutions adopted by county-level Republican offices across the state skewering him for employing gay, Muslim and Democratic workers. In Williamson County, where Haslam received 79 percent of the vote in the 2010 general election, local GOP officials focused on Samar Ali, a Muslim-American attorney in the Department of Economic and Community Development.
On Friday, in a full-page advertisement in The Tennessean, a strongly worded letter to the governor warned him not to ignore their message. The ad was paid for by the Tennessee chapter of the 912 Project and championed the Williamson County Republican Party, among others, for having the courage to “break ranks” with party loyalists.
“We are not afraid and we won’t be intimidated,” the ad stated. “We declare our intentions to reclaim what is rightfully and Constitutionally ours, given by God and won through the blood of Americans. As of today, the choice is still in your hands. Choose the way of common sense while that option is still available.”
Some Republicans here are politely distancing themselves from the leadership of the party’s local chapter, being careful not to fuel further political infighting.
“I think the Republicans need to get on the same page,” Jack Walton, chairman of the county commission, said. “There’s a divide there and we need to have a summit or something.”
…It remains to be seen whether political relationships will be tested by this incident. Clearly, however, politicians are already being careful not to speak too forcefully for fear of alienating potential voters. Rep. Glen Casada said he is interested in learning more about local party members’ concerns, but also said he has no reason to suspect Haslam hired a woman bent on foisting Shariah law onto the state.
“On the surface, I don’t feel an enmity to her hire,” Casada said of the GOP criticisms. “My question is, does anyone want to implement anything that’s anti-American, and Shariah law is anti-American.”
Note: There seems to be little sentiment for adopting Haslam-critical resolutions in Sevier County circles, nor in Hamilton County.
Rank-and-file Republicans, including some in the party’s suburban Nashville stronghold, have condemned Gov. Bill Haslam for policies that include the hiring of gay individuals, Democrats and a Muslim-American lawyer.
Further from Chas Sisk: At least two western Tennessee chapters of the Tennessee Republican Party — and possibly as many as eight statewide — have passed resolutions saying Haslam has shown “a consistent lack of conservative values” and calling on state party leaders to sanction the governor.
Meanwhile, the Williamson County Republican Party has passed a more narrow resolution that criticizes the governor for hiring a Tennessee-born Muslim to a trade position.
The effort highlights the continued concern about Sharia, or Islamic law, among grass-roots Republicans throughout Tennessee. The resolutions also come as Haslam has been elevated to the state’s top spokesman for Republican candidates, including GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
…Republicans in Stewart and Carroll counties listed eight grievances. Those include Haslam’s decisions to retain personnel hired by his Democratic predecessor, Gov. Phil Bredesen; to allow openly gay individuals to make policy decisions in the Department of Children’s Services; and to hire Samar Ali, a Muslim lawyer from Tennessee, to serve as the Department of Economic and Community Development’s international director.
The county chapters also criticized the governor for not supporting gun legislation and for refusing to sign a legislative resolution that condemns Agenda 21, a 20-year-old United Nations policy document that some believe is a secret communist plot.
They say Haslam’s “policies are worse than the actions of Kent Williams,” the Elizabethton lawmaker who broke from the Republican Caucus in 2009 to elect himself speaker in an evenly divided legislature. And they call on the Tennessee Republican Executive Committee, the board that oversees the state party, to take action against the governor.
The chapters do not specify what that action might be, but the executive committee stripped Williams of his Republican Party credentials after his election to the speakership.
The Williamson County Republican Party passed a separate resolution last week that criticizes the governor for hiring a “Sharia complaint finance specialist” at ECD, a reference to Ali and her prior work as a financial adviser to Muslim-owned companies.
Although Ali is not involved in finance in her current role, the Williamson County GOP says Haslam has “elevated and/or afford(ed) preferential political status to Sharia adherents in Tennessee, thereby aiding and abetting the advancement of an ideology and doctrine which is wholly incompatible with the Constitution of the United States and the Tennessee Constitution.”
The Williamson County GOP does not call for any sanction against Haslam.
…The Tennessee Republican Party urged members to remain united in an election year.
“All Republicans should stand together on the core Republican principles that unite us,” Chairman Chris Devaney said. “Anything else is just a distraction.”
— Note: Chas has copies of the relevant resolutions posted on a Tennessean blog, HERE.
Gov. Bill Haslam has declined to sign a resolution passed by the General Assembly – over Democrats’ objections – to condemn United Nations Agenda 21.
The governor’s decision (or non-decision?), initially reported by Blue Collar Muse, marks another semi-assertion of gubernatorial differences with the Republican majority of the Legislature on social issues. The biggest assertion, of course, was his first veto – the so-called Vanderbilt bill, or “all-comers bill,” if you prefer. And there was that refusal to sign the so-called “creationism bill,” or “monkey bill” if you prefer.
Says Ken Marreo in the Blue Collar Muse post: I’m unclear on why the Governor has refused to sign the Resolution. He has not issued a statement on the matter.
But doing so gives ammunition to those believing the Governor is less than a reliable ally on basic issues. Taken alone, perhaps it could be explained away. In conjunction with actions such as his veto of the Vanderbilt Religious Freedom bill, it makes it harder to argue Haslam is a Governor of the People and not a representative of the establishment.
In fact, given the establishment and the People are in agreement on Agenda 21 and Haslam is out of step with both groups, the whole thing becomes even more confusing.
Haslam has refused to condemn Agenda 21. Just exactly where does that put him on the political map? I don’t know. Perhaps a statement from Governor Haslam explaining his decision would help pin down where he should be seen to be.
An inquiry by yours truly to Haslam’s press secretary, David Smith, asking if it was true that the governor had declined to sign and for a comment, produced this response:
“Resolutions are position statements by the General Assembly, not a law to be implemented. The governor doesn’t support Agenda 21, but he didn’t feel compelled to and isn’t required to take any action on the resolution.”
That lattter comment is true, of course. Governors may sign resolutions and, as a matter of courtesy, they usually do so. Gubernatorial signatures are not required for the non-binding and generally inconsequential statement of legislative opinion. Most resolutions express condolences on the death of a constituent or praise for some accomplishment, such as a high school basketball team’s win in a tournament.
The governor, I think, has courteously signed every resolution put before him previously. The suspicion is that the governor has been deliberately discourteous here, but would rather not talk about it. And the folks hired to spin for him need a little time to figure the best, most benign method of stating the governor’s semi-non-position.
Check back in a day or two and we’ll see.
Previous post sampler, HERE, HERE, HERE.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that calls for the rejection of a United Nations agenda on the environment and poverty has passed the Senate.
The resolution, which “recognizes the destructive and insidious nature of United Nations Agenda 21,” was approved 19-11 on Tuesday. The House passed the measure 72-23 last month.
The agenda came out of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 following discussions on “sustainable development.”
Republicans say the agenda is a veiled attempt to take away property rights.
They say the 300-page document contains catch phrases such as “sustainable development,” which they say actually means Tennesseans could lose their land or businesses.
But Democratic Sen. Andy Berke of Chattanooga said the agenda is about caring for the environment’s future, “which is exactly what we should be doing.”
The House voted 72-21 Wednesday to send President Obama a resolution condemning his “rejection of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline” while rejecting the idea of sending a similar message to the governor of Nebraska.
The resolution, sponsored by Republican Rep. Dennis Powers of Jacksboro, says Obama “demonstrated that job creation is not a high priority for his administration, despite the nation experiencing an unacceptably high unemployment rate and an ailing economy.”
HR195 is the latest in a series of Republican-sponsored resolutions that have no legal effect but express an opinion on national issues, in this case TransCanada’s proposed construction of a 1,661-mile pipeline to transport oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas.
President Obama, who is to be sent a copy of the resolution, recently postponed a decision on granting the necessary federal permits for the project, opposed by many environmentalists.
House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, proposed an amendment to Powers’ resolution that that would have directed a copy be sent to Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, as well. The Fitzhugh amendment urges Heineman and Nebraskans “to expedite their environmental study and work with President Obama and
the federal government in finding a location through the state of Nebraska where the pipeline can be built that does not interfere with the water supply.”
If Republicans believe Obama has been an impediment, Fitzhugh said, they should also acknowledge that Nebraska’s concern over the route of the pipeline has been an impediment as well. The resolution should urge both impediments be removed, he said.
“Otherwise we have a House resolution that means absolutely nothing, a House resolution that doesn’t accomplish it purpose and a House resolution that’s done merely for political purposes,” he said.
On motion of House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, Fitzhugh’s proposed amendment was killed on a 64-34 vote – Republicans voting to kill, Democrats supporting it.
But on the final vote for the resolution itself, unamended, several Democrats joined Republicans in support.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A resolution honoring officials with the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. has passed the Senate with the minimum number of votes needed.
The measure brought by Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis passed 17-5 after a Republican colleague tried unsuccessfully to table the resolution. Nine people abstained.
Sen. Jim Summerville of Dickson is among some Republicans who have criticized the Tennessee Lottery, particularly the high salary being paid to its president.
But regardless of the criticism, Kyle said the lottery has been highly successful in exceeding $8.4 billion in lottery ticket sales since its inception in 2005 and raising more than $2.2 billion for education programs across Tennessee.
Last month, lottery officials told lawmakers that the lottery has set record gross sales every month since July.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Republicans are calling for the rejection of a United Nations agenda on the environment and poverty, even though Democrats say their actions are silly and amount to fear-mongering.
The resolution, which “recognizes the destructive and insidious nature of United Nations Agenda 21,” was approved 72-23 in the House on Thursday. The agenda came out of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 following discussions on “sustainable development.”
Rep. Kevin Brooks of Cleveland said the resolution is similar to one that the national GOP passed and “encouraged all their state Republican parties to follow suit.”
Republicans said the agenda is a veiled attempt to take away property rights.
The Cumberland County Commission has approved a resolution urging the Legislature to enact a “private act” for the county allowing the hunting of wild hogs with dogs, reports the Crossville Chronicle. The resolution passed unanimously and will be forwarded to state Representative Cameron Sexton requesting a private act be passed for Cumberland County.
County Commissioner Carmin Lynch, 9th District, asked what difference the private act would make.
“It’s confusing and I wonder what difference a private act will make,” Lynch said.
Joe Koester, 5th District commissioner, said he also wondered the same thing and spoke with TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency) about the matter and invited TWRA Region III Wildlife Program Manager Kirk Miles to come to the meeting to answer questions.
Miles explained the main difference between the current law and the private act, or resolution, would be that hunters or landowners would not need a permit to hunt the wild hogs with dogs.
The other significant difference is that, with the private act, there would be no limit as to how many designated hunters could be used to capture or eradicate the hogs from a landowner’s property. The discretion would be up to the landowner, who could designate any means necessary to protect their land and property from destruction from free running feral hogs.
The current law sets a limit of 10 designated hunters to help.
Release from Lt. Gov. Ramsey’s office:
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today spoke from the well of the state Senate following the reading of a resolution honoring his late friend, Jeff Byrd, the longtime president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, with a week in his honor.