The Weeks Ahead In Tennessee


The one thing about politics is that a lot of the time it’s like climbing a pole. If a party is in the majority, the pole is a little easier to climb. It’s almost like there are little steps that miraculously appear to help politicians climb higher, especially after redistricting aka gerrymandering. If your party is in the minority, the pole is covered in grease. In all honesty, it would be easier to chase a greased piglet because they eventually get tired.

Thus is the world of politics and knowing the challenges that more left-leaning folks are going to be facing with the supermajority, let’s take a look at next week when the opening bell will ring for Tennessee.

  • Guns, of course, will be in the news because we are the state of Tennessee and guns are always in the news. I think there will be a lot of commentary on the subject, discussions of the Second Amendment and the GOP isn’t going to back down on this. They never do. The one key to look at as we head into 2014 is watching campaign contributions. The NRA has morphed over the years from representing hunters and stringently supporting gun safety to becoming a lobbying beast and political mover and a shaker. Watch the votes from those elected officials who received campaign contributions. It’s honestly the best thing to do right now. And remember, the NRA will divorce you if they don’t like what you say publicly or how you vote no matter what party you are aligned with. Debra Maggart anyone
  • The environment is also going to be front and center but it usually doesn’t get the media attention that guns do. The Scenic Vistas Protection Act hasn’t passed in a number of years. So which of our state folks are getting money from the coal industry during election years. I really can’t imagine a whole lot of people wanting to blow up mountain tops.  If you want to read more about it, head to Appalachian Voices.
  • The Tea Party and Moderate Republicans are going to be battling publicly and privately in the next two years. Get the popcorn ready and a Big Gulp  Coke unless you live in New York City.
  • One thing that I don’t think has made it out of urban newspapers into rural areas is this one headline 

    TN legislators consider giving state more authority over charter schools applications

Now let’s think about this for just a second. Smaller counties elect school board officials, county commissions and city boards to make decisions. They are, by design, a bridge to the state and to a lesser extent the federal government. So local school boards might say “Nope, I don’t want a charter school.” So the state can say “Tough” and that’s that? Let’s also remember that the Tennessee Dept. of Education withheld $4.3 million dollars to Metro Nashville Public Schools because they didn’t like they didn’t approve a charter schools application. What this does subtly is warn school superintendents across the state to fall inline or suffer the consequences of lack of funding. How can a school system in poorer counties deal with this? They can’t.  Hell, my sister works in a school and they can barely afford pencils this time of year. So my question is how will state intervention in a number of local issues in all 95 counties go over with local folks. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.

So much is coming our way and this is just a sampling of the frivolity ahead and by frivolity I mean migraines. We will see who is going to make it to the top of the pole these next two years. I think we will see quite a few interesting things, I really do.

The 108th Tennessee General Assembly reconvenes on Tuesday, January 8, 2013.