REPORT: TN Ranks Near Bottom In Women Reps

A study from the Center For American Women shows Tennessee is well below the average for female representation in our state legislature, ranking in the bottom 10 states.

28% of state legislators nationwide are women – two-thirds of which are Democrats – but here in Tennessee that number is only 15%.

We have some work to do here.

Meanwhile of those 28%, just over 1 in 5 are women of color. Currently Juanita Charles is running to increase both totals in a special election in Clarksville, for the seat Mark Green left behind.

LAMBERTH: “Private Prisons Good, No De-Criminalizing Marijuana”

In an interview with The Tennessean’s “Grand Divisions” podcast about Criminal Justice reform, Tennessee Republican House Majority Leader William Lamberth was asked about the possibility of decriminalizing marijuana here in Tennessee, and gave some head-scratching answers.

First he was asked about Private Prisons, and whether or not they’re a good thing for Tennessee. He made it very clear he believes they are, and that the widely-discussed issues lie with state lawmakers and the policies they set.

“Private prisons are not the problem. The problem needs to be solved in the legislature.”

What conveniently didn’t come up is Lamberth’s $2500 contribution from Core Civic this past cycle.

The Tennessean then went on to ask Lamberth whether or not he supported decriminalizing marijuana, which overwhelmingly affects the African-American community, after waxing poetic about “personal accountability” the House Majority Leader dropped this gem:

“Legalizing certain drugs is a really dangerous road to go down. If you just start legalizing behavior, we have states that have legalized prostitution, certain drugs… you can’t legalize your way out of a criminal issues.”

“You can’t legalize your way out of criminal issues.” There’s one to chew on.

As a reminder, drinking alcohol was once illegal in Tennessee. (Also, the sale of it still is in 10 counties)- But Lamberth gets donations from the Malt Beverage Association, so they’re probably safe.

Holler at Lamberth HERE.

TN ED REPORT: Education Subcommittee A-OK With Sex Offender Chair

Rep. David Byrd, who you’ll recall admitted on tape to sexually molesting girls he coached in Wayne County and was asked to step down by his own party before running again, getting re-elected, and getting promoted by Speaker Casada to the most unthinkably insulting post of all, just chaired his first subcommittee meeting.

Thankfully, all 6 members of the committee meeting spoke out in defiance of Byrd, and he is now stepping down.

Just kidding! Nobody said anything. Instead they went around making jokes about “interesting facts”, and acted like having a pedophile in charge was just another day at the office.

Go here to read Andy Spears’ post over at the TN Education Report.

This issue isn’t going away any time soon, and neither are we. Feel free to reach out to Speaker Casada and Byrd and let them know how you feel about this insult to women and survivors and frankly everyone in our state.

Proud MAGA Hat-Wearing Crybaby Gets Facts Wrong

In the Tennesseean today, a guy named Ryan Moore who doesn’t even live in Tennessee – but who claims to work at a Tennessee-based nonprofit – wrote a woe-is-me op-ed about how wearing his red hat gets him all kinds of “death threats and racist comments” from people he interacts with on social media.

While we don’t condone any kind of threats, we do take MAJOR issue with one claim he makes:

Ryan Says:

MAGA Hats Are the Symbol of Putting America First… White men are the most hated and discriminated against group of people in the USA now. If you don’t believe that, you simply aren’t paying attention or looking at it objectively.

Say what now? Since Ryan challenged us to “look at it objectively”, we did. And guess what? He’s completely wrong.

According to the most recent FBI data:

Racial/ethnicity/ancestry bias

Among single-bias hate crime incidents in 2017, there were 5,060 victims of race/ethnicity/ancestry motivated hate crime.

  • 48.6 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Black or African American bias.
  • 17.1 percent were victims of anti-White bias.

Big WHIFF there, Ryan. What about religion?

Religious bias

Of the 1,749 victims of anti-religious hate crimes:

  • 58.1 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.
  • 18.6 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.
  • 4.3 percent were victims of anti-Catholic bias.
  • 3.3 percent were victims of bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
  • 2.3 percent were victims of anti-Protestant bias.
  • 1.8 percent were victims of anti-Other Christian bias.

In other words: NOPE. “Objective” means “not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts”.

Sorry Ryan. You may get your feelings hurt when you turn on your phone, but other races and religions have it far worse.

STUDY: 68,000 Rural Parents & Kids Lose Coverage Under TN GOP Plan

Instead of accepting the billions of dollars we lose each year and simply expanding Medicaid like many other “red” states already have – and they don’t regret it – Tennessee Republicans want permission to impose a work reporting requirement on poor parents and caregivers who get coverage through Medicaid.

What would this mean?

A new study from Georgetown tells us this would mean 68,000 of our most vulnerable families lose coverage, mainly in rural areas, and THEIR KIDS WILL SUFFER THE MOST.

Key Findings

  • In Arkansas 23 percent of affected adults lost their health insurance. If Tennessee has a similar outcome, approximately 68,000 parents will lose their Medicaid coverage.
  • The new rules would predominantly affect Tennessee’s poorest mothers in small towns and rural communities.
  • Even if these parents work more hours, they are unlikely to have an offer of health coverage from their employers.
  • The loss of coverage for parents would affect their children, creating more financial hardship for families and risking children’s access to health care. Tennessee was one of nine states to see a significant increase in children lacking health coverage in 2017.

As yet another rural hospital closes in Clay County, there’s simply no excuse for not expanding Medicaid at this point.

No Cameras? What Are Casada & The GOP Hiding?

Today we learned from the Tennessean that Glen Casada and the TN House GOP are changing the rules in House committee meetings – and the House floor itself – to ban cameras and live-streaming in the gallery, and by representatives.

This attack on transparency should be upsetting to everyone.

Their defense will be that the House itself will post streams of the meetings after the fact, but we’re told that will give them ample time to edit them before the streams go up, which means not hearing some of the most important “Oh no he didn’t” moments this house has to offer.

Which is exactly the point.

This session promises to be extremely controversial, and they know it, which is why they’re turning out the lights on democracy. Regardless of party, you should be up in arms about this. Contact Glen Casada, or your reps, and tell them to turn the lights back on.

Yet Another Rural Hospital Closes – Clay County

As Tennessee continues to reject billions each year, yet another rural hospital shuts its doors, this time in the Clay County/Celina area.

“the closing will cost 146 full & part-time employees their positions”‬

‪Not expanding Medicaid for political reasons is an absolute shame. ‬Hope Governor Bill Lee and the state legislature see the light before more unnecessary damage is done.

Read the article from NewsTalk941.com Here.

Homelessness in Williamson County – Does Anyone Care?

Today Amelia Knisey of The Tennessean has an important story about homelessness in Williamson County.

Homelessness is on the rise in the richest county in the state, and the people and local officials have yet to make it a priority, leaving it to pastors like Pastor Kevin Riggs and local nonprofits like Gracepointe Church to deal with.

But as the cost of living continues to increase in areas like Franklin and Brentwood, more and more long time residents will feel the squeeze.

Lots of lip service is paid to issues like this around here, but what will residents and local government officials actually be willing to do about it?

Follow Amelia Here.

ADL: Extreme Right-Wingers Do The Killing Here

The latest Report from the Anti-Defamation league tells us that “In 2018, domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the U.S., a sharp increase… and EVERY ONE had ties to a right-wing extremist movement. The majority were white supremacists, which is typically the case.”

We hear an awful lot about the terrorists streaming across our borders, which we’re told is why we desperately need an end-to-end wall, but in reality almost all of the extremists who actually do the killing are already right here at home.

Seems like we probably won’t be hearing a lot about that from the president, so we thought you should know.

PASTOR: Just Say NO To Vouchers

Governor Bill Lee is getting ready to make vouchers a priority. Everyone is buckling down for the fight, which is why Wilson County just passed a referendum making it clear they’re against vouchers, and why Reverend David Kidd of Pastors for Tennessee Children just made it clear in The Tennessean out why Tennessee should reject vouchers.

Pastor Kidd says it will hurt public schools, particularly in our rural communities. (Spoiler: he’s right.)

Pastor Kidd:

From 2011 through the 2016-2017 school year, the voucher program cost Indiana taxpayers $516.5 million. 

This kind of school “choice” (so called) will lead to devastating cuts for rural schools. One hears, ”the money follows the child…” That may be true, but when a child leaves a public school, the school building still has to be maintained, the heat has to stay on, the teachers have to be paid, janitors, kitchen workers, and crossing guards have to be paid – but the money has followed the child out the door.

Reach out to Governor Lee HERE to let him know how you feel.