GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — From Oregon to Mississippi, President Barack Obama’s proposed ban on new assault weapons and large-capacity magazines struck a nerve among rural lawmen and lawmakers, many of whom vowed to ignore any restrictions — and even try to stop federal officials from enforcing gun policy in their jurisdictions.
“A lot of sheriffs are now standing up and saying, ‘Follow the Constitution,'” said Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson, whose territory covers the timbered mountains of southwestern Oregon.
But their actual powers to defy federal law are limited. And much of the impassioned rhetoric amounts to political posturing until — and if — Congress acts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said Wednesday it’s unlikely an assault weapons ban would actually pass the House of Representatives. Absent action by Congress, all that remains are 23 executive orders Obama announced that apply only to the federal government, not local or state law enforcement.
While Timothy Hill runs for a Tennessee House seat, his business is making thousands of dollars off political campaigns, according to Hank Hayes’ review of quarterly campaign finance disclosures filed with the state.
Hill’s Blountville-based Right Way marketing firm has been paid to do polling for his GOP 3rd House District campaign as well as the campaigns of his brother, Republican state Rep. Matthew Hill, and House District 6 GOP nominee Micah Van Huss.
Timothy Hill gave his company $7,869 out of his campaign account for political research, according to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance (TREF).
When asked how his campaign contributors would feel about the move, Timothy Hill said in an e-mail: “My contributors have placed tremendous trust in me and my campaign by giving their hard-earned dollars to someone who will make a difference in Nashville, and I do not take that for granted. … The campaign believes it is best to use a tried and tested provider that could deliver results. I’m very blessed to employ local folks that provide the best results in their field, and my goal is to spend contributions wisely and locally when possible.”
TREF Executive Director Drew Rawlins indicated Timothy Hill’s action is completely legal.
“There is no law that restricts someone from buying services from their own company. Yes, he can do that,” Rawlins said.
Matthew Hill, a five-term Jonesborough Republican who represents House District 7, gave $1,500 to his brother’s marketing firm for polling.
Van Huss, who defeated incumbent state Rep. Dale Ford of Jonesborough in the August GOP primary, reported spending $3,000 with Timothy Hill’s marketing firm for polling during the general election campaign, in addition to $5,100 for work done during the primary.
Tennessee Right To Life’s political action committee gave incumbent state Rep. Tony Shipley a 100 percent grade on its 2012 scorecard but did not endorse him in his 2nd House District re-election bid. Further from Hank Hayes:
TRL’s PAC, the pro-life group’s political action arm, endorsed no one in the Aug. 2 Republican primary race between GOP challenger Ben Mallicote and Shipley, R-Kingsport.
In an e-mail, TRL President Brian Harris said the lack of an endorsement should not be interpreted as opposing Shipley’s re-election but simply a position of neutrality.
Harris explained by pointing out a strategic priority for Planned Parenthood nationally has been mainstreaming the practice of dispensing RU-486 pills via telemedicine.
“Planned Parenthood’s intent is to make chemical abortions more available, especially in ‘underserved’ rural communities,” Harris said.
Last year, Shipley introduced a House resolution promoting the use of telemedicine in Tennessee. TRL, said Harris, expressed “profound concern” at the possibility Planned Parenthood would seize the opportunity to expand the prescription of RU-486 in rural areas of Tennessee.
Tennessee Right to Life, the state’s largest organization devoted to opposing abortion, endorses mostly incumbents and mostly Republicans in a list of candidates for the state Legislature that was released recently.
The list includes only two Democrats – Reps. Charles Curtiss of Sparta and John Mark Windle of Livingston. Neither has an opponent in the primary, but both will have Republican opponents in November. (Full list HERE)
There is no endorsement of any candidate opposing a sitting Republican legislator, though more than a score of incumbent Republicans face opposition in the Aug. 2 primary. There are endorsements in GOP primaries for seats where there is no Republican.
County government leaders have decided not to contract with the local Planned Parenthood organization to provide family planning services for low-income people, reports the Commercial Appeal. Instead, Christ Community Health Services has been chosen for the $397,900 contract, Shelby County Health Department director Yvonne Madlock confirmed Tuesday.
“The bid was awarded, and it was not Planned Parenthood,” Madlock said, adding that this ends any local contracts with that organization.
The contract must still be approved by the County Commission. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell hopes to have it before that board by the end of September.
Tennessee Right to Life, not surprisingly, has hailed this development via news release. It’s below