"I'm begging you," Underwood tweets.
The bill makes it a crime to videotape animal cruelty or abuse and then fail to turn in the evidence to authorities within 48 hours. That's to stop animal rights activists from accumulating enough documentation to prove that animal cruelty is routine in big agribusiness. Under this bill, farmers can claim the abuse is a one-time occurrence and proceed with their business as usual. This bill also would have stopped the Humane Society from compiling evidence of soring in the walking horse industry and tipped off trainers to the organization's investigation.
It's a good candidate for a veto from Haslam. Earlier this week, we asked the governor about it and he said he hadn't given it any thought yet. But that was before the legislature debated it.
The House passed the bill last night but only with the bare minimum 50 votes. The Senate adopted it on Tuesday.
Update: His press secretary, David Smith, isn't giving any clues as to what the governor might do. "He’ll review it, like he does all bills, when it gets to his desk," Smith says.
House Speaker Beth Harwell didn’t vote in a surprising failure to support her caucus chairman and the bill’s main sponsor, Franklin's Glen Casada. Thirteen other Republicans voted no, along with all the Democrats.
The bill would have nearly doubled the limit on contributions to state candidates from political parties or party caucuses—from $374,000 to $500,000 for statewide candidates. In addition, it would have lifted the requirement in the law that corporations report donations, and it would have allowed insurance companies to give to campaigns for the first time in Tennessee.
The debate was long and grew testy at times, especially when Chattanooga Rep. JoAnne Favors asserted the new contribution limits would lead to bribery.
“We are not bribeable,” Casada shot back. “Don’t insinuate that someone’s going to be bribed because you are taking a couple of extra thousand dollars more. If you are prone to be character flawed and taking a bribe, you’re going to take it on $50 just like you will $50,000. This is a way to educate your voters about who you are and what you stand for. This is free speech.”
Favors responded: “Our federal prisons are full of people like us who were bribed, and it will happen again.”
Update: Democrats crow in a press release.
According to Haslam this morning, he was informed that certain of the things he wants to do are against the federal statutes governing Medicaid, and no one person on this earth can wave a magic wand and make his wishes come true. Who knew? When Haslam left Washington, it finally was beginning to dawn on him that this Medicaid thing is kind of complicated.
“To work out something that will work for us and yet meets all their statutory requirements, it’s like putting together a puzzle and we’re just working on the edges of the big family puzzle that’s spread out on your dining room table right now,” the governor told Andrea Zelinski.
According to Harwell, Corker said he did not support the current legislation but agreed that improvements could be made.
Harwell said the two, "had a pleasant conversation and discussed ways to improve the dialogue [between Nashville and Washington, D.C.]"
Harwell said Sen. Corker had never contacted her before about a piece of legislation in Nashville, but she is glad this bill led to what she hopes to be improved dialogue in the future.
On Tuesday Sen. Corker was asked about the bill in Nashville today and said: "This is up to the general assembly to decide, but my sense is that Tennesseans are a very involved citizenry who like their ability to vote and make those kinds of decisions."
Corker must have been quite agitated about this bill, which seemed too wacky even for Tennessee's Republican supermajority at first but then started gaining steam and looked like it might actually pass. It would have empowered the legislature's Republican and Democratic caucuses to choose U.S. Senate nominees, and that probably would have ended Corker's political career. He's a definite squish and never could have won his party's nomination from these mouth-breathers in the legislature when his term is up in 2018. At the very least, he would have been forced to grovel before them and make a lot of crazy promises he couldn't possibly keep.
"Listen, I believe in incentives for the right type of thing," Haslam said of the welfare bill. "I’m not sure you have the direct connection there between children’s grades and parents receiving benefits. There’s too many things that can be a disconnect there."
As for letting lawmakers pick Senate nominees, the governor said, "I have a major problem with that in this sense, that we’re going to take the selection of a United States senator out of the hands of the people of Tennessee and have a few folks decide that. That just doesn’t feel right to me."
So then would Haslam veto either of these bills? That might have been asking too much of our governor, who seemed weary after expressing two opinions. He said he most definitely would think "very strongly" about possibly exercising his veto power.
“Our thought was this,” Haslam said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to truly have health care reform.“
“Some folks say, ‘Well, you’re off on this quest that really is a fool’s errand because there’s no way you can work this out.’ My argument would be this really is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do it, and shame on us if we don’t take the opportunity to address that. I honestly think the potential is there.”
Haslam’s idea of true reform is to force the expanded Medicaid population under ObamaCare to accept private insurance plans with less benefits and higher co-pays. Obama administration officials aren’t going along with that, but Haslam insists they might. After his speech, he told reporters he talked with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the weekend and she said, “‘We want to work with you.'"
Here’s more from Haslam’s avail:
But he voted for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one-man-one-woman in 2006 and for an amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2004. And he was among 29 House Democrats who didn't sign the 2012 "friend of the court" brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.
Of those 29 Democrats, nine including Cooper now say they support gay marriage, according to The Hill newspaper. Better late than never.
Cooper, who has been married for 28 years, said he and his wife believe people in committed relationships should be able to marry regardless of their sexual orientation.
“Marriage is good,” Cooper said in a statement. “To prevent others who are serious about becoming a legally recognized couple seems like discrimination.”
Update: Cooper's press secretary says Cooper has made public statements in support of same-sex marriage since at least last May.
Former Gov. Phil Bredesen is urging his successor to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. To Bredesen the "mother of all unfunded mandates" now has become "free money" from the federal government. Bredesen gave lip service to Gov. Bill Haslam's so-called third way — a plan to force the new Medicaid population to accept lesser benefits and higher co-pays. But Bredesen said the governor should expand Medicaid even without making a deal.
"I respect his decision, I wouldn't second guess what he's doing but in the end, I hope he and the legislature, if they can't work out this third way with the federal government, would come back and maybe add people into the Medicaid roles. It's just a lot of free money for the state," Bredesen said.
It's no surprise Washington has found little to like in Haslam's plan, as Andy Sher reports, and we all know the governor won't take Bredesen's advice. Haslam never wanted to expand Medicaid. By pretending to think about it for so long, he was looking to have it both ways, appearing like a serious person while ultimately acquiescing to the demands of the Republican supermajority.
I’m going to vote for that. I think that’s an interesting prospect. Anyone would agree, do the polling, Tennessee is being run great. In general, states are being run well. The federal government is completely broken and there’s got to be something done to get their attention, and this may be it.
In a surprise, the bill to do this made it out of committees in both the House and Senate this week. We still don't expect it to pass, but stranger things have happened. In fact, they happen every day here in Bizarro World.
If Republicans are stupid enough to do this, they simultaneously will make it more likely that Democrats will win U.S. Senate seats in Tennessee. That's because Democrats in the legislature probably will nominate moderates while Republicans will go with right-wingers like Ramsey who won't enjoy much statewide appeal.
"There may be hospitals that will have to close. But look, if you want to operate in a free market, things like that happen," Ramsey told reporters today.
Ramsey also defended Gov. Bill Haslam's decision, repeating the Republican refrain that it's all the Obama administration's fault. That damn irrational Washington won't give Tennessee billions of dollars with no strings attached! Imagine that. But if the feds will surrender all that cash, then let Republicans decide how to spend it, our supermajority would deign to take that money, Ramsey says.
"Governor Haslam made a thoughtful decision that left the door at least cracked," Ramey said. If the Obama administration "will at least talk to us, give us the opportunity to think outside the box, work with the money with no strings attached; we’re ready to do it."
"There are lots of us who would love to be able to take this money to buy private insurance and have the Medicaid population have to have the same restrictions and requirements that the commercial people have. That is co-pays. That is limiting doctor visits. That is requiring annual physicals. That is some form of wellness that you’re showing some form of responsibility and on and on and on that anyone who has commercial insurance has to do. If it was truly outside the box and allowed us to have that flexibility, then yes we’d be ready to do that."
Of all things. We must issue more Phony, Lying "Liberal" Alerts.
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