FLASHBACK: Senator Pody Also Wondered If We Should Do Away With State-Backed Higher Ed

In the aftermath of his opposition to higher education becoming national news, Senator Kerry Roberts called his heated, triggered rant a “joke” and “hyperbole”… but here’s his pal Senator Mark Pody saying the same things DURING A DEBATE.

Sure seems to be what they actually believe. Why run from it?

Here’s the full video.

VIDEO: “HATE WILL NEVER WIN” – TIRRC Votes Day of Action On Immigration

Watch a group of immigrants in Nashville turn out to vote for immigrants running for office in Nashville.

Election Day is September 12th!

VIDEO: Senator Kerry Roberts Wants to “Get Rid” of Higher Education in America

In response to passionate abortion ban hearing testimony from Cherisse Scott of Sister Reach – a pro-reproductive freedom witness who called Republican legislators to account for failing to expand medicaid, raise the wage to a living wage, support public education, and other public policies that should be supported by anyone who is truly “pro-life” –  State Senator Kerry Roberts called for ending higher education in Tennessee on his radio show.

Presumably because that’s where Cherisse and others learn to support policy positions Roberts opposes. Yes, he lays abortion squarely at the feet of Tennessee’s colleges.

As a reminder, Cherisse was gaveled out and cut off by chairman Mike Bell, who allowed others to go much longer and finish their testimony, including anti-abortion advocate who says he “remembers being born”.

Watch and Share, and feel free to holler at Senator Roberts HERE.

 

MOTION DENIED: Lawsuit Against Sec. Tre Hargett’s Voter Registration Criminalization “SCHEME” Allowed to Proceed

A federal judge today said a lawsuit from the League of Women Voters, the American Muslim Advisory Council, Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, Rock the Vote, Memphis Central Labor Council, and Headcount challenging Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s new voter registration criminalization bill – which passed this past session despite outcries from protestors about the constitutionality – is allowed to proceed, striking down Hargett’s motion to dismiss the suit.

The bill came on the heels of the Tennessee Black Voter Project registering over 90,000 voters in 2018, a fact Hargett insisted had no bearing on his decision to push it through. A likely story.


U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger expressed much skepticism of Hargett’s bill in the decision, essentially pointing to all the things those who spoke out against the bill warned about during discussion of the bill in the legislative session, including the chilling effect it would have on voter registration efforts.

As Judge Trauger says:

“Restricting voter registration drives in order to try to preserve election commission resources is like poisoning the soil in order to have an easier harvest.”

She wondered about some key elements of the bill, for instance why people who are getting paid to registered voters should be subject to requirements those working for free would not be subject to:

“The Act’s two-tiered system both lack justification in its own right and undermines any claim that its provisions are truly necessary.”

Judge Trauger also says there is “no basis for requiring registration workers and volunteers mandatory government training.”

She went on to talk about the punishments leveled by the bill against registration workers, saying that it “punishes a person for doing too much of something it requires them to do” by essentially requiring them to turn in forms even if they’re incomplete – something many, including Senator Jeff Yarbro, pointed out during committee.

Judge Trauger notes that the punishment for turning incomplete forms is not levied on a % basis, but on a total basis of over 100 incomplete forms, which means “the result is The Act holds an organization to an increasingly more onerous standard the more effective it is at recruiting new voters.”

Which is likely EXACTLY the intention of the bill.

The Bill also imposes an additional penalty in each county where the violation occurred, which Judge Trauger pointed out is especially onerous and flies in the face of the interest of the state in actually registering voters.

That assumes the state is actually trying to register MORE voters, but more and more it seems Tennessee is perfectly fine being at the very bottom in voter turnout and voter registration.

Judge Trauger then points out how vulnerable these voter registrations are financially, since they are not backed by large and wealthy institutions, and says that the grand total of the penalties amounts to them being “attacked from all sides.”

She calls it a “complex and punitive regulatory scheme”, instead suggesting public education rather than an “intrusive prophylactic scheme true bad actors would likely evade regardless.”

At the end, Judge Trauger uses the exact language used by opponents of the bill to allow the suit to continue, pointing out that it will have a “chilling effect” on voter registration – which we have heard from groups registering voters in Tennessee is happening already.

Here’s the ruling in its entirety

VIDEO: Tequila Johnson of The Equity Alliance Testifies Before Congress About TN Voter Suppression

Yesterday Tequila Johnson, co-founder of the Equity Alliance and statewide director of the Tennessee Black Voter Project, testified before the House Judiciary committee about voter suppression, calling Tennessee “Ground Zero” for it.

Tequila has been on the front lines battling voter suppression in Tennessee. The Black Voter Project registered over 90,000 voters in 2018, leading to a backlash from the GOP supermajority and Tennessee Secretary of State, who passed an unprecedented law criminalizing voter registration in Tennessee, which has already had a chilling effect on voter registration efforts, which was likely the intent.

Watch a piece of Tequila’s testimony below, and go HERE to watch it in its entirety. And read more about the voter registration criminalization law HERE.

Lawsuits are underway to stop Hargett’s law.

Anonymous 16th District Postcard Accuses Candidate of Socialism

(Editor’s note: With the Metro run-off election less than two weeks away and early voting in its second week, The Tennessee Holler will take an in-depth look at several of the hotly contested Metro Council run-off races. In the second of the series, we review the race in District 16, which encompasses the Woodbine and Glencliff neighborhoods and portions of  Nolensville Road.)

Salacious rumors, hardball tactics and outright gossip go with run-off elections like football and fall.

But, based on comments on the Facebook page, “16th District Nashville” page, the postcard that landed in Metro Council District 16 was distasteful beyond the norm to many voters.

“This is shameful and embarrassing for our district, regardless of who paid for it,” said Jamie Hall, in  response to a Facebook post about the mail piece. “I hope both campaigns denounce this for the trash this is.”

The postcard, pictured below, was sent for the apparent benefit of Tony Tenpenny, a former Metro Councilman who faces Ginny Welsch in the run-off election Sept. 12, and mayoral candidate John Cooper.

One side of this postcard, apparently supporting Metro Council Candidate Tony Tenpenny, infers his opponent is a Socialist.

Side two of the mail piece, showing the illegal ‘disclaimer’ at bottom left.

Headlined “Progressive Socialism,” one side of the mailer prominently features a rainbow, a symbol of the LGBT community, above icons representing the alleged destruction of Fairgrounds Nashville, Nashville as a sanctuary city, an understaffed police force and proposed small houses for homeless in the community. It further compares Welsch and Mayor Briley to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Ocasio-Cortez has been an outspoken progressive since her election in Nov. 18.

The second side urges voters to go to the polls for Tenpenny and Cooper and does not have legal disclaimer, as political mailers are required to have by Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA Title 2, 2-19-1920.)

Katie Lentile, communications director for the Cooper campaign, said Cooper staff was unaware of the mailer until receiving emails from constituents.

“Our campaign was not aware of this,” Lentile said. “We are not making any endorsements in this district’s race.”

When reached by phone, Tenpenny also denied knowledge of the mailer.

A comment on the “16th District Nashville” Facebook page about the mail piece.

Tenpenny has become something of a perpetual candidate for Metro Council in District 16, first running in 2007 against incumbent Anna Page, to whom he lost. In that campaign, signs with rainbow backgrounds saying “Gays and Lesbians for Anna Page” were placed in District 16 without authorization from the Page campaign and lacking a disclaimer. (Out and About, July 14, 2007)

He ran again in 2011, beating Page and serving one term until Mike Freeman defeated him in 2015.

Welsch placed first of three candidates in the August 1 primary with 41.2 percent and Tenpenny came in second with 37 percent.

In addition to Tenpenny’s campaigns for and service on Metro Council, he has compiled a lengthy record of questionable behavior. In 2014, he was alleged to have interfered in officer elections for the Glencliff Neighborhood Association and in 2007, the Nashville Post reported his history of arrests dating to 1984 and a 2002 assault charge.

The run-off election is Sept. 12.

REP. FLEISCHMANN: “I Think There Are Enough Laws On The Books Dealing With Guns”

In an interview this week, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann made it clear he won’t back any common sense gun safety regulations as he spouted NRA talking points. Fleischmann has an A-rating from the NRA and as Ramsey Cohen says “Has taken thousands of dollars from them in the past”.

Watch and share the video below, and holler at Chuck HERE.

NEW: “I think there are enough laws on the books dealing with guns.”@RepChuck Fleischmann won’t support magazine size limits, universal background checks, etc. – instead spouts NRA talking points.

RELATED: Chuck has an A-rating from the NRA, as @ramseycohen points out here. pic.twitter.com/Xu2oQridsU

— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) September 5, 2019

Rep. Mark Green Denies Less-Than-Honorable Army Discharge, Calls Constituent a “Liar”

Last night Freshman Republican Congressman Mark Green (TN-7) responded to Facebook commenters on a Holler post, denying that his discharge from the army was a “General Discharge” as opposed to an “Honorable Discharge”. Commenting from his personal Facebook account, Green called a constituent a “liar” and “fake news”, and said the woman he was replying to had “probably never served in the military”.

Rumors have swirled around Congressman Mark Green’s military record for some time, particularly in the wake of his failed bid to become Army Secretary under President Trump, a bid that came up short of even a senate confirmation hearing under an entirely Republican-controlled congress. Most attributed his failed bid to the radical, ugly things he said about the LGBT community, but some speculated there was more to it than that, and that the real reason he couldn’t be Army Secretary was because of something in his military record.

As Roz Latchman says, of all the things that have been said about Green “THIS is what gets his attention”.

Green’s comments came underneath our post yesterday about concerns of Fort Campbell families about a new Trump policy which makes it harder for military families stationed overseas to make sure their children are considered American citizens.

The Holler has obtained Green’s publicly available discharge papers, but unfortunately the key parts are entirely redacted, leaving these questions unanswered.

Again, it’s noteworthy though that of all the things people have said about Green – and there have been many – THIS was something he felt the need to respond to publicly on our Facebook page. The good news is, just like with Trump’s tax returns, there’s one simple way for Green to clear this all up and put the rumors to bed: Release your UN-REDACTED DD 214 papers, congressman.

If your record is as “exemplary” as he says it is, there would appear to be little downside in doing so. You clearly have no problem patting yourself on the back for the conversation you had with Saddam Hussein – you even wrote a book about it (although we admit we haven’t read it) – so it’s not as though you prefer to keep your military triumphs to yourself.

Why stop now?

 

New TN GOP Caucus Chair Faison Downplays Gun Deaths, Misstates *Fact* About Guns (Again)

In a week in which America was yet again rocked by gun violence, newly minted Tennessee House Republican Party caucus chair Rep. Jeremy Faison has taken to Twitter to minimize the problem of gun deaths in America, using misstated facts to do it.

“Gun-related deaths are no where even close to the problem that liberals make them out to be,” Faison told a commenter:

Faison’s tweet came as a reply to a response to an earlier tweet where he had posted “pesky facts” above a post from @RealSaavedra, who listed other causes of death in America on a per day basis, including abortion, heart disease, cancer and more.

It’s a familiar talking point in anti-gun safety law conservative circles:

Faison keyed in on the “All Rifles” item at the bottom, which makes the point that only 1 American dies each day by rifle on average.

What this widely circulated statistic obviously and intentionally leaves out is all the deaths and shootings caused by non-rifles. In actuality, Every day, 100 Americans are killed with guns and hundreds more are shot and injured. Over 100,000 Americans are shot on average each year, far more than other countries – which means Faison turning the stat for “rifle deaths” into “gun-related deaths” in his follow-up tweet was either intentionally misleading, or yet another big mistake on Faison’s part.

It wouldn’t be the first flub from Faison in which he made up his own gun-related *fact* to help prove his ultimate point, which is apparently that that guns in America are really no big deal.

This past session Faison was on a committee that passed a gun permit-weakening bill which made it possible for Tennesseans to get a permit to carry a gun nearly everywhere in the state simply by taking a quick course online, without ever even having to fire one  on a range.

After fact-filled, emotional testimony from witnesses including Beth Joslin Roth of the Safe Tennessee Project, who demonstrated clearly that stronger gun laws do in fact save lives, Faison confidently informed Beth that despite all the numbers she presented to the contrary tighter gun laws don’t lead to fewer gun deaths – because if they did, the Bahamas wouldn’t have so many homicides, since according to Faison you can get the death penalty for illegally carrying a gun there.

As it turned out, we looked into it, and that *fact* was not true. Nobody has been put to death in the Bahamas in many years, and certainly not for having a gun.

Where had Jeremy heard this, you might ask? According to him, he heard it from a “Bohemian” he knew in college. (He meant Bahamian. Sigh.)

To his minimal credit, he apologized and retracted his made up *fact*. But for a man who sits on a committee that makes laws in Tennessee to be presenting false information that was so loosely sourced is a pretty devastating indictment not only of Faison, but of the level of accountability GOP Supermajority lawmakers are currently facing in Tennessee.

Inevitably, that permit-weakening law passed, and Faison has since been elected chair of the TN GOP caucus. But one thing hasn’t changed: Faison is still making up *facts* about guns to minimize a very real, very tragic problem, which makes all of us, and our children, much less safe.

Again, studies of the issue in general have shown repeatedly there is a relationship between stricter gun laws and a lower amount of guns, and gun deaths. Even Justice Scalia said you can support the 2nd Amendment while still supporting some common sense gun safety laws.

If you have a problem with state legislators putting out false information about serious issues like gun safety, holler at Faison HERE.

District 13 Drama, Part II: Voter Registration Changes Raise Questions About Dixon’s Move to District

(Editor’s note: With the Metro run-off election less than two weeks away and early voting in its second week, The Tennessee Holler will take an in-depth look at several of the hotly contested Metro Council run-off races. In the first of the series, we take a look at District 13, which runs from Nashville International Airport south to Antioch.)

Keenan Andrew Dixon, one of two candidates in the run-off for Metro Council District 13, officially moved into the district in which he seeks a council seat on Feb. 5, 2019, according to documents received from the Davidson County Election Commission.

However, the Election Commission requires candidates for district council be residents of the district in which they run for a minimum of six months. Given the general election was August 1, Dixon would have needed to show he lived in the district before February 1 to be eligible for office in District 13.

The Holler called Dixon to ask for comment and left a message. Dixon had not returned the call at the time this story went live.

Dixon originally registered to vote in Davidson County in March 2018 at a residence in Council District 15. In January 2019, he updated his voter registration to reflect a move to a single family property he owns – 214 Emery Drive – also in District 15. Then, less than a month later, he again updated his registration to show a move to the District 13 apartment.

Andrew Dixon’s original voter registration in Davidson County from March 2018.

This isn’t the first time questions have been raised about whether Dixon lives in District 13. As we reported last week, Dixon owns multiple single family properties in District 15 but allegedly moved his family, including his wife and two children, into an apartment in District 13, in February 2019.

Dixon’s change of address to a second District 15 residence on January 11, 2019.

February 5, 2019 change of voter registration showing Dixon now living in District 13.

After we posted that story Friday, we obtained records from the Nashville Electric Service showing rates of usage for the apartment in which Dixon allegedly lives.

NES turned power on in the apartment in Dixon’s name Feb. 6, one day after he switched his voter registration address. The Holler reviewed a history of usage in the apartment and found that bills under the prior resident were $109 in July 2018 and $101 in June 2018 at peak summer usage. By contrast, Dixon’s bill for July 2019 was $33.95  and for June, $33.45.

According to NES records, Dixon also had power turned on for yet another property – 214 Emery Drive – on March 8, 2019. Usage records at that address are consistent with someone living there during a hot summer: $216 for July 2019 and $149 for June.

The Holler has now left several messages for Dixon. Pending explanation, a credible case can made for a challenge should he win on Sept. 12.

Dixon faces off against Russ Bradford.