Tag Archives: resolved

Sunday Column: Whereas the Legislature is Doing Some Really Important Stuff…

Tennessee’s nickname has escaped the attention of the Tennessee General Assembly since thousands of citizens responded to Gov. William Blount’s call for volunteers to serve in the War of 1812.
Or so says House Joint Resolution 634, which further states:
“WHEREAS, considering that The Volunteer State has been in usage for two centuries, it is indeed surprising that the nickname has never been officially adopted by the State of Tennessee; and
“WHEREAS, it is now time to rectify this glaring oversight and make official the name Tennesseans have proudly used in reference to themselves for many generations; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED that ‘The Volunteer State’ is hereby designated the official nickname of the State of Tennessee.”
In the lingo of Legislatorland, most resolutions, as with HJR634, have both “whereas clauses,” presenting facts or arguments, and at least one “resolving clause,” which declares the action being taken. HJR634 is an oddity in that it confesses to a legislative mistake, albeit one that is being corrected by the 107th General Assembly. Much more common are resolutions pointing out the errors of others.
Consider HJR614, which declares in multiple whereas clauses that the U.S. Supreme Court, back in the 1930s fouled up its interpretation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Whereas, the court interpretations of the early 1800s were much better. The resolving clause declares that the U.S. Congress ought to do something about this situation “to return to a more original understanding of the Commerce Clause as represented by Supreme Court cases decided before the era of the New Deal.”
Which is to say the resolution really doesn’t accomplish anything, unless you believe Congress is paying rapt attention and can somehow overturn U.S. Supreme Court rulings. No one does, of course, so the resolution, approved 68-24 on the House floor after more than an hour of scintillating debate, may be seen as pure political posturing.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s a long tradition in our state with no official nickname. (HJR634 has not been passed yet on the floor, though it surely will be soon and on a bipartisan basis under the guidance of its sponsor, Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville.)
There are other posturing resolutions awaiting debate this year, notably including HJR587, which whereases that “United Nations Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control.”
It resolves “that the federal government and state and local governments across the country be well informed of the underlying harmful implications of implementation of United Nations Agenda 21’s destructive strategies for ‘sustainable development,’ and we hereby endorse rejection of its radical policies and rejection of any grant monies attached to it.”
In the course of fiery and well-informed debate on the merits and meaning of Agenda 21, last week, Republican Rep. Rick Womick advised that a barbecue restaurant owner had been ordered by a “government run amuck” in Murfreesboro to re-paint his red building. At one point, Womick introduced a bill to directly deal with such situations when local governments run amuck in trying to follow the dictates of Agenda 21, but decided instead to support HJR587.
Thankfully, the resolution passed 72-23. So federal, state and local governments are now informed about the “dangerous intent” of Agenda 21. There’s still a red building ban in parts of Murfreesboro, of course, but, well, the broad international implications of HJR587 obviously outweigh any need to deal with actual situations in Tennessee.
This all sort of calls for a resolution. Say maybe:
“WHEREAS, members of the General Assembly have volunteered to devote their time, energy and effort to enlightenment of Congress, the international community and the citizens of this state on complex legal, moral and philosophical issues for a base salary of just $19,009 per year;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the semi-volunteer legislators of this great Volunteer State are hereby commended for focusing on important issues they can do nothing about while doing nothing on issues where they could really mess things up.”