Tag Archives: Rep. Mike Turner

What We Might Be Missing


So now that the wine in grocery stores debate is pretty much over, let’s take a look at what we’ve been missing being presented by our darlings in the legislature.

  1. TN Senate passes bill to legalize switchblade knives. Yeppers, while we have been watching sex week and getting our Miller Lite at the liquor stores drown converation, The leaders of the legislature burned (successfully I might add) a bill about the length of switchblades getting enlarged. The irony is endless, isn’t it. Grow your blades, campers, because it is more important than something crazy like expanding Medicaid because legalizing switchblades is a priority with a capitol P that rhymes with T which stands for terrible.
  2. The organizers of UT’s Sex Week have been fussed at properly by the General Assembly but it’s not going to make a lot of difference as they are moving along with their plans anyway. While this was happening, a farm bill is moving through that would limit local control on farms. Local zoning ordinance, what is that? It comes back to state over local control of land use. HB1410/SB1614 and the Right to Farm Act hits committee tomorrow.
  3. A lot of our democratic buddies in District 51 are running for Rep. Mike Turner’s seat who has announced he won’t run for re-election. Don’t get me wrong, Speak to Power is a big fan of that seat which leans blue traditionally and of Turner himself (gushed about him a bit last week myself.) There are other folks running as well, so a wag of the finger at the TNDP for not having a cheat sheet on their website on candidates outside Metro Davidson. It would be very helpful during an election year for not only the candidates, but for potential volunteers, activists and voters. Just a little tough love and not an indictment, but it would be helpful and that is just a friendly reminder.
  4. While we were all watching movie stars eat pizza on live television, there was a story from Tom Humphrey over the weekend you might have missed. Why are some legislators “taking a walk” when it comes to voting. I’ll let him explain:

A fine example would be the House floor vote a few days ago involving whether to prohibit employers from dismissing employees who hold handgun carry permits for having a gun stashed in a locked car on the company parking lot. Setting aside the political and procedural situation, the vote was recorded as 45-29-1 in House records.

Observe that 45, the number of yes votes; plus 29, the number of no votes; plus the one (that was a “present and not voting” or PNV in Legislatorland abbreviation lingo) adds up to 75. There are 99 members of the House.

Isn’t that we pay our legislators to do? Instead of talking about jobs, there was major news announced today by Ed Arnold over at the Memphis Business Journal, we have Grover Nordquist in the state talking about the Hall Income tax which really only helps people with investment income. And why isn’t anyone talking about this?

I didn’t think the state’s GOP leaders wanted Washington folks messing in Tennessee’s business but I may have been mistaken. I am, of course, using my snark voice.



Rep. Mike Turner, His Relationship With Bloggers And The Long Goodbye

I once wrote at Newscoma that my dream job would be just to follow Rep. Mike Turner around and writing down all the things he says on a daily basis.

For the press corp, you know that Rep. Turner was a box of candy everyday, but on another note he was always good to bloggers too. He understood that we could all help each other and he was always available for a conversation, no matter who you were.

This is important.

He would comment on our blogs, sit down with us and mentor. See, that’s the thing,he didn’t break people down even if he disagreed with you,

So he has decided to step down, and the speculation will run to who will run for leadership in the House next time. I guess the writing was on the wall for awhile.

Anyway, I know that Rep. Turner was that dude who was always going to say that “thing” that someone else wasn’t going to say and bully for him. It was a lot of fun to watch, but he never walked away from a fight which was kinda gratifying when this state got so bogged down with democrats trying to be civil. Look where that got us, campers.

We will miss you Mike, and thanks for being good to all of us. Hate to hear you are leaving the legislature but I know you had a good run.

So I will leave you with this:


A Messy Fight In Tennessee Over Volkswagen’s Union Vote


Why are elected officials, big players in Tennessee politics, interfering with the union vote at Volkswagon?

There are some questions about whether or not recent statements, especially from Sen. Bob Corker, are appropriate.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Another labor expert, Harley Shaiken of the University of California-Berkeley, said, “The senator’s comments amount to economic intimidation that undermines the whole nature of union representation elections.”

Shaiken often advises UAW officials.

“If the senator’s statement doesn’t violate the letter of the law, it certainly violates the spirit of the law,” Shaiken said.


Gary Casteel, UAW regional director for a 12-state area that includes Tennessee, said on Wednesday night, “Corker’s statement is in direct contradiction to Volkswagen’s statements.

“They have specifically said that this vote will have no bearing on the decision of where to place the new product.”

In the past, Casteel has said that Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant, opened in 2011, needs a second product to survive. It has built the compact Passat sedan since it opened.

The plant has about 1,550 Volkswagen workers eligible to vote in the election, which is supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

Pro- and anti-UAW workers said they were not sure if snowy weather will affect turnout for the vote, which ends on Friday when the plant does not produce cars.

.There seems to be more to this story than what appears, and when Sen. Bo Watson cites that incentives could be pulled by state government, it just gets, what is the word … weirder.

Tennessee Democrats are hitting back and held a press conference earlier this week. (subscription)

House Democrats expressed astonishment Monday that Gov. Bill Haslam and other Tennessee Republicans would threaten to pull economic incentives for Volkswagen if its Chattanooga factory seeks union representation for its workers.

“It’s almost unprecedented in this country,” said Mike Turner, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “This is a very bad precedent to set.”

Turner and other Democratic lawmakers called a press conference Monday to say they were “stunned” that Republicans in government would attempt to interfere with agreements made involving private businesses. They said they feared the move would dissuade future businesses from coming to Tennessee.

I guess my question is why would the GOP pick a very public fight that has caught the attention of the national media with an international company that has brought 1,500 jobs to east Tennessee?

And Autoegocrat has more at Left Wing Cracker.

First of all, company unions were outlawed in the United States in 1935. You might expect a U.S. senator to know that already, but in Corker’s case you would be wrong. Volkswagen might also expect a U.S. lawmaker who is presuming to tell them how to do business in Tennessee would be conversant in the relevant laws and statutes, and they would also be wrong.

Secondly, BMW has done no such thing, for the reason outlined above: it would be illegal. Let me reiterate that Senator Corker told a reporter that a company operating in the United States was conducting its business in violation of the law. When asked about this, Corker responded:

It’s not illegal. As a matter of fact, I don’t want to debate this, because this is a debate for lawyers, but I believe that it’s easier to create a German-style works council without a union.Gee, if only the senator had someone handy who understood the law.

So what the hell is going on that this fight would be so public and messy? Leaders are picking a fight with a huge employer who has brought jobs to this state and it isn’t passing the smell test. What’s really going on?

Getting Under Their Skin

State Rep. Sherry Jones on the floor of the House

State Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville)

Take two minutes to see the squabbling on the floor of the House yesterday. Stay tuned for Rep. Butts statements at the end. I’d tell you to grab a bag of popcorn and a coke if it wasn’t so sad that this is really happening in our state. The democrats are getting under their colleagues’ skin on the other side of the aisle as you can see in this clip. From TN Report:

Having A Discussion About Politics In The Comments

If there is one thing that Rep. Mike Turner does well is that he will answer questions, he doesn’t alienate the progressive blogging community and, as Aunt B. says, he tells it like it is.

In a post at Tiny Cat Pants, there is a wonderful discussion going on between Betsy and Turner in the comments on race arguments.

Go check out her post and the comments from Turner.

Notice there isn’t trolling or namecalling, it’s just a talk and that’s the way it should be.

Headbanger’s Budget

The appropriate caption here is NSFW

Mythical Contingency Funds About to Rain on Our Parade

If the budget process this year in the Tennessee State Legislature hasn’t already been contentious enough, there’s a chance it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Tom Humphrey reports that the $341m in “contingency funds” from the Federal Government, that every current budget proposal includes, is not faring well.

From the post:

The House approved the legislation in a 215-204 vote that capped a turbulent week for Democratic leaders, who were forced to kill $24 billion in aid to cash-starved states and $7 billion for health insurance subsidies for laid-off workers. The programs were created by last year’s economic stimulus bill and Democratic leaders had wanted to extend them.

Left standing is the unemployment insurance extension and a grab bag of unfinished business, including numerous spending measures and a renewal of more than 50 tax breaks for individuals and businesses.

If the contingency funds don’t make it through, there are several items in the budget that will have to be put on hold, including a new communication system for the Highway Patrol.

The biggest issue here is that Republicans have been running away from every single revenue enhancement proposed, even when that enhancement may provide some additional benefit, other than keeping services, to Tennesseans. This “fear” has led us to a point in the budget process where there is no wiggle room whatsoever. What better way to passive-aggressively impose your will on a state.

On Wednesday, Tennessee lawmakers will continue the process of banging out a budget, though they may feel like they’re just banging their heads against the same wall they met last week. That wall is Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey.

Ramsey says he’s not using the budget process for political gain, but everyone knows that each additional day the State Senate spends in session, is a day his name is in the paper. That’s way more valuable to him in the long-run than the per diem he and his fellow Senators won’t get if the budget process drags on beyond this week.

So, here we are, with a state budget held captive by a guy who’s thinking of new places to put his custom made boots. Maybe we’ll have something by the end of this week, but I’m not too confident about that. Chances are, we’ll be banging our heads against this thing until mid-June, just like Mike Turner predicted.


Rep. Mike Turner And Sen. Jim Kyle Say The Budget Isn’t A Gamey

Both democratic state party leaders have taken to the deadwood of the Tennessean to discuss their problems with the last-minute GOP introduced budget. The editorial says basically that this isn’t a game and talks about state employees with a breakdown of former budgets of the past few years.

Here’s what real belt-tightening looks like: We are cut­ting 9 per­cent across state depart­ment bud­gets. We have elim­i­nated thou­sands of posi­tions over the past three years. These are cuts Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans have supported.
But as a result of those cuts, our state employ­ees and teach­ers have done more work with less help for the same pay — and that has hap­pened for the last three years. Like any good busi­ness, we believe that our employ­ees need to be rec­og­nized. Repub­li­cans appar­ently don’t agree, because they want to elim­i­nate a one-time, $800 ser­vice pay­ment for state employ­ees and teach­ers.
Such a pro­posal is mis­guided and down­right mean-spirited. The aver­age state employee makes less than the aver­age Ten­nessean. Repub­li­cans aren’t cut­ting bonuses from Wash­ing­ton fat cats with their pro­posal. They’re sim­ply hurt­ing every­day Tennesseans.

Morning Coffee – Fight Club

We talk about Twitter quite a bit here on STP. As we all live in west Tennessee, it’s an easy way to follow not only breaking news such as the flooding from earlier this month, but what’s going on in politics. When we don’t have time (as we all work day jobs) to watch the live stream of the House and Senate, Twitter is rather timely for those folks that do. And, quite frankly, it’s a lot of fun at times.

Last night, there was a take down of sorts between Tennessee democratic leadership in Nashville and Rep. Stacy Campfield on reviving the English Only bill. There is always a good war of words between Rep. Mike Turner and Campy, but it got pretty good. The Tennessean has the story this morning about how the English Only bill didn’t make it out of the House, but much of what took place last night was live-tweeted by several people who were watching it. The story tells breaks down what happened, but I must say it was much more entertaining watching those witnessing the event tell their take of the story. Twitter is free, campers. It’s been worth it’s wait in gold recently so go and sign up if you are so inclined.

On to the overnight, where Gibson and Carroll Counties cannot get a break. Storms uprooted trees and left a wicked mess last night, with hail and strong winds giving those two counties yet another walloping from Mother Nature just two weeks after the floods.

Another online scribe tells of losing everything in the flood.

Complaints are coming out of Memphis in a community where evacuees’ of the flood are saying that management of their rental property gave no clues about flooding possibilities.

Davidson County is voting today after postponing the election from two weeks ago.

This post by White’s Creek setting boundaries regarding this election year is a must read. Well done.

More of the battle on the budget from Andy Sher.

Education funding is on the chopping block again. This time in Montgomery County.

Image Credit

Morning Coffee – Five Days And Counting

Flooded Farmland In Obion County

It’s been five days since the rain came. In part of this state, you wouldn’t know that Nashville, Dyersburg, Clarksville, Cheatham County and other smaller places are still underwater. The rivers and creeks are receding but the damage in this state in insurmountable. Nashville alone is looking at $1 billion dollars in damage. For those of us who avoided getting wet, we have watched this crisis unfold with horror and amazement. We continue to wonder what will happen next.

This is a disaster that will hit us in phases as we said yesterday.

Different communities will have different needs. Our state budget was a mess before but now we are looking at the realities are that we haven’t seen anything yet.

Yet the spirit of many good and decent people has been awe-inspiring.