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VIDEO: GOV. LEE’S VOUCHER NIGHTMARE (GOP Caucus Leader Faison: “We Robbed Teachers’ Pay”)

Gov. Bill Lee’s public school-harming vouchers barely passed thru “sketchy” “bribes & threats” after disgraced former speaker Glen Casada held the board open for 35 minutes — until Rep. Jason Zachary finally flipped his vote and pushed through a program that will ONLY effect Nashville & Memphis, whose reps voted AGAINST it. (Zachary’s math was way off, but we digress)

Many reps say they were bribed and threatened, even with military promotions.

The FBI supposedly opened an inquiry.

There’s a $4 Million Slush fund that seems to have been used to bribe rural reps for their votes, but nobody wants to talk about it.

Lawsuits have begun.

Now it seems the Tennessee Department of Education “robbed” a teacher bonus program to fund a no-bid $2.5 MILLION Class Wallet contract to implement the program that far exceeds what the allocation was… without the comptroller even reviewing it “for merit.

A mess. The mess is so bad even TN GOP House Caucus chair Jeremy Faison regrets his vote, and Appropriations Committee Chair Matthew Hill wants answers. He voted for the bill also.

Meanwhile Governor Lee blames everyone but himself, as he always does.

Let’s keep in mind, this is not the only way Lee is coming after public schools. A charter school commission has now been formed to overrule local school boards, even in rural communities.

Watch what he does, not what he says.

VIDEO: REP. FAISON Invokes MLK During Pro-Gun Rally Resolution

“Let’s not channel MLK, who was about nonviolence, in the same sentence as a rally for WEAPONS OF DEATH.”

Rep. Antonio Parkinson & Rep. Mitchell respond as GOP Caucus leader Jeremy Faison invokes MLK & calls AR-15’s “weapons of LIFE” as he honors Richmond’s anti-gun safety law rally.

Rep. Larry Miller was also booed, in a break from House decorum.

And Rep. Andy Holt outrageously wondered why we don’t see guns being a problem with 393 million of them in circulation in the USA.

VIDEO: Rep. Tillis “Doesn’t Necessarily Agree” with Moving the KKK Bust

NEW: Rep. Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg) “doesn’t necessarily agree” with GOP house caucus leader Jeremy Faison’s call to remove the KKK Grand Wizard bust from the Capitol.

Tillis worries about “whitewashing” history, wonders where the line would be.

All reps should be asked about this. Contact THE STATE CAPITOL COMMISSION to ask them to move the bust.

OR SIGN OUR PETITION.

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.

PROMINENT REPUBLICANS SAY CASADA SHOULD STEP DOWN

The breaking news has been spewing forth like a powerful stream of urine on a legislator who opposes Speaker Casada’s seat lately (yes, that happened)…

…so we wanted to bring you up to speed on who has – and has not – had the courage to say Speaker Casada should resign.

The list of transgressions that have marred Casada’s tenure as Speaker is long, and includes, lying, spying, racism, sexism, fraud, bribery, drugs, house arrest, and protecting child sex abusers to name a few (not to mention peeing on people’s chairs).

Here’s who has come forward to speak up… most notably, GOVERNOR LEE has now said if Casada worked for him he would ask him to resign.

Lt. Governor Randy McNally said “if I was in that deep of water I’d pack up my bags and go home.”

Rep. Jeremy Faison says Casada is “complicit with racism” and should step down as speaker and give Williamson County a chance to send him home altogether… and radio host Phil Valentine says he can’t believe he hasn’t resigned yet, and is angry Casada blatantly lied on his show:

The Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association says Casada “willfully lied” and “should step down”:


Knox County’s Republican Mayor says it’s time for him to go:

House Majority Whip Rick Tillis (who may have been running an anonymous twitter account to shed light on the goings-on inside the legislature, and who may have had his office chair pissed on as a result) spoke out…


…Rep. Sam Whitson said Casada should step down also…


as did Rep. Hawk… Senator Marsha Blackburn called it “disgusting”… Rep. Patsy Hazelwood seemed to open the door to change… as did Senator Massey…


and Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Bill Dunn.

And of course, many Democrats have said it’s time for him to go as well (still no word from Rep. John Deberry though).

Those who have come out in support of Casada despite everything that has happened include: Rep. Andy Holt, Rep. Susan Lynn, Rep. Ron Travis, Rep. Mike Sparks, Rep. Micah Van Huss, Rep. Matthew Hill, Rep. Bud Hulsey, and the Williamson County Republican Party.

Do you know of anyone we’ve left out? Holler at us HERE: thetnholler@gmail.com

In the meantime, #ResignCasada.

VIDEO: Rep. Faison’s “Facts” Flub – On Guns & the Bahamian Death Penalty

This week Rep. Jeremy Faison made an inaccurate statement in his defense of HB 1264, a bill that would would create a new concealed handgun carry permit process that requires no fee and only a 2 hour online training, meaning people would be able to get permits and carry guns nearly everywhere without ever firing one.

Here’s our previous video of highlights from the hearing, in case you missed it.

The bill is being carried by Rep. Andy Holt. It passed the House Judiciary Committee easily, despite the fact that even Speaker Casada’s own polling shows 93 percent of Tennessee voters – including 93 percent of Republicans, 94 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of gun owners and 89 percent of current permit holders – support the state’s current permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public.

For some context: Tennessee is already the 11th worst state when it comes to gun deaths. 6 of the 10 that are worse have laws that make guns easier to get and carry everywhere. In 2017, Tennessee led the entire nation in shootings involving children with access to unsecured, negligently stored firearms.

Studies have repeatedly shown states with stricter gun laws have fewer gun deaths, but some refuse to accept that and cite exceptions to the rule – like Chicago, or in Faison’s case the Bahamas – to “prove” that the correlation is not causation.

At the hearing Rep. Jeremy Faison – who thankfully seems to be recovering well after his recent accident – decided to go with the Bahamas as his example, saying:

“The places where the highest amount of crimes where a gun was used in America… those were in places that we have some of the most strict, draconian, anti-constitutional laws. So somehow this notion that if we pass what y’all call ‘common sense gun laws’ – which don’t exist – that crime’s just gonna go away… ask the Bahamians how that works. In the Bahamas you can get the death penalty for having a gun, and they have major gun crime every day. So I just want to encourage you when you’re trying to use that as an argument – you might want to research your own facts.”

Here’s the video:

Ok Jeremy, let’s “research the facts”.

Faison is simply wrong that “you can get the death penalty for having a gun in the Bahamas”. From the Bahamian Firearms Act:

Any person who purchases, acquires or has in his possession, uses or carries a gun without a licence therefor shall be liable —

  1. (a)  on conviction on information, to imprisonment for a term of ten years and to a fine of ten thousand dollars;
  2. (b)  on summary conviction before a Stipendiary and Circuit Magistrate, to imprisonment for a term of five years and to a fine of ten thousand dollars

There’s more to it, and the years have since been amended, but absolutely nothing in their laws that says “you can get the death penalty for having a gun.”

As one lawyer in the Bahamas told us:

“I have not heard of anyone being subject to a penalty of death upon being convicted of possessing a firearm in the Bahamas. Those convicted are often given a custodial sentence or made to pay a fine at the discretion of the court.”

Another Bahamian resident:

“Frankly, I don’t think you’ll get the death penalty for anything in the Bahamas. The Privy Council has effectively abolished the death penalty.”

Turns out the last execution in the Bahamas was in the year 2000, and as of August 2012 only one man was under the sentence of death – and he killed a police officer.

So that’s a big ol’ whiff from Jeremy there.

Where Faison has an inkling of a point is that the Bahamas does have restrictive gun laws and yet still high gun violence rates, but pointing to that as proof that in general stricter gun laws don’t work is no more valid than it would be to say that one country with much stricter gun laws has almost no gun violence proves they DO work.

Say Japan, for instance.

Again, studies of the issue in general have shown repeatedly there is a relationship between gun laws and the amount of guns, and gun deaths.

This is a complicated problem with many factors playing a part. The Bahamas and some other impoverished countries do have higher gun violence rats, but when it comes to the richest countries in the world, the United States is simply off the charts regarding gun deaths and gun ownership:

 

The Key Word is “Rich”.

The element that often gets left out of the gun violence conversation is the societal factor that has the highest correlation with gun violence is far and away poverty and wealth inequality.

The World Bank has a study that found:

“violent crime rates decrease when economic growth improves… faster poverty reduction leads to a decline in national crime rates.”

As Mark Kaplan professor of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs put it:

“There is a strong correlation between homicide per million and income inequality… countries that are most equal have the lowest rates of gun-related homicides.”

Here’s a good conversation about it.

So yes, the Bahamas and Chicago have high murder rates. They also have high poverty rates.

When poverty and inequality are rampant in certain countries/neighborhoods, and people are in dire straits and desperate, bad things happen – particularly when guns are extremely accessible within the vicinity. (Chicago has states with lax gun laws right next door, and the Bahamas has the United States nearby)

This doesn’t mean gun safety laws don’t work. On balance the numbers are clear: They do.

What it does mean is if we’re serious about addressing gun violence in our communities, making them cheaper and even easier to get in already dangerous states is not the answer. Instead, we should be focusing on gun safety legislation and policies that address inequality and poverty:

…Raising our $7.25 an hour minimum wage to a livable one…expanding medicaid… subsidizing daycare for low income families… lowering health care costs and drug prices… tax reform that actually helps regular Americans (rather than corporations and the wealthy)… criminal justice reform…

Programs that put more money directly in people’s pockets, makes their lives better, and takes them out of desperate situations will save lives when it comes to gun violence.

In summation: The Bahamas doesn’t tell us gun laws don’t work. The Bahamas reminds us gun violence is a poverty/inequality problem as much as anything else.

And with all due respect to Rep. Faison, maybe next time you should “research your facts” before saying things that aren’t true on a legislative committee, especially one that’s helping to create a more dangerous environment for our children.

Letting people carry in public without ever firing one is like doing away with Driver’s License tests. If you agree, holler at Rep. Faison HERE.

(P.S. – Gun safety laws and the 2nd Amendment are not incompatible. Ask Justice Scalia.)