Monday, March 11, 2013

Haslam Hums Happy Tune While Wacky Bills Move Through Legislature

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Tom Humphrey has posted the list of bills that the Haslam administration has flagged as philosophically concerning to the governor this session, and there's disappointing news for those of you expecting our state's Great Leader to act as a moderating influence on his wacky right wing.

Glaring omissions from this list include the "Don't Say Gay" bill requiring school counselors to out gay kids, as well as bills to:

* Abolish the Vanderbilt police force because the university won't let their clubs discriminate against gays and lesbians;

* Strip U.N. officials of all their powers if any should deign to cross the border into Tennessee;

* Authorize sheriffs to create armed county militias to be deployed during emergencies and crisis (like when the black helicopters are circling for attack);

* Make it legal for Tennesseans to carry switchblades, daggers, stilettos and possibly even swords and spears to defend themselves against the criminal element.

What did make Haslam's list? There's the bill by Sen. Jim Kyle and Rep. Antonio Parkinson, both Memphis Democrats, to impose a new $2 fee in all criminal court cases to pay for gun buy-back programs. And there's the one freeing city and county governments from the obligation to obey any new state law that imposes an unfunded mandate of more than $100,000. (That latter proposal might neuter House Speaker Beth Harwell's charter authorizer bill.)

Haslam is winning high approval ratings in large part because of his moderate image. With the Republican supermajority reigning supreme, Tennesseans are trusting the governor to act as the adult in the room. But he's proving that he's either secretly, deep down one of his party's hardliners himself, or he's unwilling to stand up to them. What's the difference?

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