Bills to curtail fluoridation of the water supply were the topic of debate today in the House Business & Utilities subcommittee. The Democratic Party’s very own little kook—Memphis Rep. John DeBerry—presented his legislation to give people the right to vote on the issue. He said it’s the third time he’s introduced an anti-fluoride measure.
“It keeps coming back because folks who are concerned about this issue keep coming back wanting it to be brought up so they can be heard about something they consider to be an injustice as far as chemicals being forced upon them in their water,” he said.
Over the last week, much has been said in the media particularly about me overstating, overreacting, a conspiracy theorist. Other neat adjectives have been used. But let me just ask each one of you this: Where were you on September 11th, that morning? I know every one of you remember. You remember the exact moment. Nobody expected what happened on September 11th would ever happen. Nobody could ever dream of such a thing happening in this country.
So if I stood before you on September the 10th, 2001 with this same bill, this same thing would have been said. He’s a nutjob. He’s out of his mind. He’s a conspiracy theorist, etc. So really all this bill does is give us as the legislature the opportunity to prepare for any future terrorist attacks to ensure that this state government of Tennessee continues to function in any such situation. So I’m at the mercy of the committee. Y’all decide and we’ll go with that.
The subcommittee took all of five seconds to kill his bill.
Womick went on a rant (what else is new?) in support of rookie Jonesborough Rep. Micah Van Huss’s bill to ban the U.N. from observing elections in Tennessee.
“The United Nations is a worldwide government organization,” Womick, R-Murfreesboro, told the House Civil Justice Subcommittee. “They’re sending individuals in for the sole purpose of destroying our system, to declare that we have human rights violations. We’ve got some real nutjobs in charge of the U.N. and … well, I won’t say anymore.”
Other lawmakers, including some Republicans, said it’s OK with them if the U.N. sends observers to Tennessee. Apparently, they don’t understand the dangers of the U.N. Possibly, the United Nations set off that E-bomb in Shelbyville.
“The more people who observe how we do it and do it right, I think the better and safer the world is. If they were trying to interfere with our elections, put them under the jail. But I can’t understand why we wouldn’t want them to observe our elections and how we do it right,” Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, said.
The subcommittee killed Van Huss’s bill, but thank God lawmakers OKed another one to prohibit U.S. drones from spying on Tennesseans.
Yesterday [Wednesday], I was honored to be called to testify before the Tennessee State Senate Committee on Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, along with a friend, hero and colleague, Ann League. Ann is a property owner and resident of coal-bearing areas in Tennessee, who has lived in the shadow of Zeb Mountain. After Ann and I were called to the bench, Chairman Steve Southerland cut us off before we could sit down and say a word. The committee killed the bill on a procedural mechanism without ever allowing for discussion or taking a vote on its substance. This was despite the fact that thousands of Tennesseans from across the ideological spectrum have called for the passage of this bill. We have prayed, pleaded and lobbied on behalf of our mountains and mountain communities. Yesterday our voices were shut out, and our bill was ignored. If allowed to speak, here’s what I would have said:
It's ingenious! The bill's sponsor, Rep. Vance Dennis, calls it the "Achilles heel of Obamacare." With Tennessee blazing the trail, other states will follow and ObamaCare will die.
"With this bill, I bring you the opportunity for your children and grandchildren and my children and grandchildren to save billions and billions of dollars of money being borrowed against them by the federal government," Dennis told a House subcommittee yesterday.
There are only a couple of little problems. One is that pesky Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution prohibiting states from preempting federal laws. As the state attorney general's office said in an opinion just this week, that makes Dennis' bill constitutionally suspect. According to the opinion:
"Tennessee should be a leader in protecting our mountain way of life, not for sale to the highest bidder," she said.
When she finished, Republican Rep. Andy Holt—a pig farmer from Dresden whose presence on a panel that hears environmental protection bills is an outrage—quickly demonstrated why it remains legal in Tennessee for coal companies to dynamite our mountains.
"I'm more than willing to bring this bill up today and kill it if that's what you want," Holt fumed, proceeding to portray mountaintop removal mining as a life-saving technological advancement.
Did you know that, contrary to popular opinion, coal mining is a boon to the environment? Woodland creatures love to frolic on the devastated land, and the sun-dappled streams of Appalachia are burbling clear and clean through the mining rubble and debris. Why, even on the tomahawked Zeb Mountain, schoolchildren are planting American chestnut trees, and they’re surviving! Oh Chestnut tree Oh Chestnut tree we miss your mighty branches. King Coal is turning Tennessee into a scene from Bambi. Who knew?
“It’s a positive situation,” Baird said.
With that astonishing comment from the rookie state representative, a House committee voted today to strip college student IDs from the list of acceptable photo IDs for voting under new legislation.
Unwittingly or not, Durham was only saying out loud what everyone knows Republicans have been trying to accomplish with their restrictions on voting rights. "The right people" are the ones who vote Republican. Unfortunately for college students trying to exercise their voting rights, we've learned from recent focus groups that many young people are rolling their eyes at the party of stuffy old men.
In the name of preventing nonexistent voter impersonation, the bill also bans Memphis library cards as acceptable voter photo ID. We don't need focus groups to know Memphians aren't "the right people" either.
Appalachian Voices doesn’t necessarily agree with every sentiment in this advertisement. It doesn’t matter if somebody is from Beijing or Bristol, we don’t think they should be blowing up mountains. We certainly don’t agree with the Conservatives Union on many important issues related to energy and the environment, but the fact that the Tennessee Conservatives Union is stepping up to stop mountaintop removal shows that the breadth of support for protecting Tennessee’s mountains ranges all the way from left-to-right, odd-to-even, and low-to-high.
The legislation (SB609/HB1000) does have some salutary features. Requirements that the resellers (be they ticket brokers or online marketplaces such as StubHub) disclose on their websites the face value and exact location of seats offered for sale, and say whether or not tickets are actually in their possession and ready for delivery, strike me as eminently reasonable. Regulating the industry by having brokers register with the state may also be an improvement, although the requirement that a registered broker "maintain a permanent office or place of business in this state" seems a tad 20th century.
As originally introduced it was a terrible bill, but the bill may be shedding some of its worst parts. A Senate committee last week approved an amended version that omits absurd provisions eliminating ticket holders' property rights and giving venues and original ticket issuers (such as Ticketbastard) unbridled power to monopolistic control over the resale market. A House committee takes up the measure later this week.
@Pete Wilson: Good show! Every person of intellect should skip the parts of an argument…
is it amazing that when ur different that everyone treats u different or so u…
I haven't seen such a thorough public spanking since the day Woodward and Bernstein got…
What an utterly disgusting product. Anyone who buys it should be ostracized. This is embarrassing…
Utter nonsense. There are throngs of people in Nashville who thank God or a reasonable…