Saturday, March 19, 2016

Senator Jim Tracy, Representative Glen Casada and others disappoint in pushing the national popular vote proposal.

I am extremely disappointed in Senator Jim Tracy, Representative Glen Casada and others for pushing the proposed end-run around the constitution to, in-effect, change our system of electing a President from one in which the states have a voice to a national popular vote in which the states have no voice.

Senator Tracy is the State Senate sponsor of a bill which would require that Tennessee's electors to the electoral college cast their vote for the presidential candidate who won the most votes nationwide for the office of president, disregarding the wishes of Tennessee voters. Glen Casada is one of the sponsors in the house.

Our founding fathers designed a system of a republican federal democracy in which the states had a voice. That is why each state, regardless of their population, have two Senators. The electoral college is an essential part of our federalist system. Changing our system will mean a candidate for president would only have to win New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and a couple other cities and they could ignore the rest of the nation. In addition to this issues about the structure of our government and how a national popular vote would change the dynamic of consensus building in our current system, a system of national popular vote would make it much easier to steal an election. With a national popular vote, instead of examining hanging chads in Florida in 2000 election, every single vote cast for President anywhere in the nation would have had to have had the same scrutiny. We would still be counting votes!

I know Senator Tracy and Representative Glen Casada are usually strong conservatives who support our Constitutional democracy. What happened to them to cause them to support this radical proposal, I don't know, but I am very disappointing.

To learn more about this issue see the following video.

These are the pending bills that need to be defeated:  SB 1657 by *Tracy , Briggs; HB 1728 by *Sexton C , Marsh, Lundberg, Brooks K, McManus, Travis, Powers, Johnson, Casada Election Laws -  As introduced, adopts the interstate compact to elect the president by national popular vote.

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State Legislative update for week ending 3/19/2016

The following is produced by the staff of the State legislature and many state senators and representatives include it in their newsletter to constituents.

Legislation calling for Public Private Partnerships to meet growing transportation needs advances 

Legislation that would provide a framework to allow Private Public Partnership (P3) agreements for certain transportation projects advanced through the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee this week.  The bill aims to improve safety, reduce congestion and increase capacity on Tennessee’s roads, as well as encourage economic growth.

Typically with a P3 agreement, the public sector maintains ownership of the asset but the private partner manages construction, operation, and maintenance through the life of the contract.

Senate Bill 2093 authorizes partnerships between private entities and state and local governments for the private development, redevelopment and operation of transportation facilities.  Transportation facilities are defined, under the bill, to include any mass transit system intended for shared passenger transport services to the general public.

The bill authorizes a state or local government entity, or agencies created by them, to receive, consider, evaluate and accept proposals for a qualifying transportation facility.  It details the procedures for doing so, including that the private entity must first obtain state approval before entering into a comprehensive agreement with the state or local government. The request must also be reviewed by the legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee prior to the agreement to ensure transparency and oversight.  Under the proposal, any project estimated to be over $50 million would require an independent audit to be paid for by the private entity.   This audit will be subject to public disclosure, other than proprietary information.  If any state funds are expended for the purposes of a P3 agreement, it must be appropriated in the general appropriations act.

The bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

Legislation aiming to cut fraud and abuse in Tennessee’s welfare system approved by State Senate

Legislation aiming to reduce fraud and abuse in Tennessee’s welfare system was approved by the State Senate this week.  The proposal, sponsored by Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), makes substantial changes to the way the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) contracts and monitors third-party agencies that receive taxpayer money to feed children and adults.

The legislation comes after comptroller audits and investigations that identified financial mismanagement and fraud within some of the federal food programs administered by DHS.  Approximately $80 million flows through DHS for program services. 

“The Department of Human Services provides services to some of the most vulnerable citizens of our state,” said Senator Tracy.  “This bill ensures that money designated for those in need is spent in the most efficient and effective manner, while at the same time protecting taxpayer money from fraud and abuse.”

Senate Bill 1472 directs DHS to conduct background checks on each applicant of the subrecipient or sponsoring organization.  It also requires sponsoring organizations applying to participate in any food program administered through the department to obtain and maintain a performance bond.  If the contract is awarded, the department must perform both unannounced and announced physical site visits during the subrecipient monitoring process and report their findings.  Similarly, DHS must develop sub-recipient monitoring plans, under the bill, utilizing analytical procedures that must be submitted to certain legislative leaders and the state comptroller on an annual basis.  In addition, the bill requires the inspector general of DHS must submit a report summarizing the results of any substantiated investigations concerning fraud, waste and abuse regarding the child and adult care food program and summer food service program every three months.

The bill is pending action in the Finance, Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives.
Legislation protecting Tennessee farms advances in State Senate

Legislation protecting Tennessee’s farming industry advanced in the Senate this week as the Judiciary Committee approved an amendment to the state’s Right to Farm Act.  Senate Bill 2591 clamps down on illegitimate nuisance suits by removing the standard regarding nuisance actions on new types of farming operations.  The bill, which is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), requires the same burden of proof for nuisance action for these farms as used in established farming operations.

“If you look at the state seal, the wording most prominent across the middle is ‘agriculture,” said Senator Norris.   “Agriculture remains the biggest business that Tennessee embraces and at the same time, we’re concerned about the continued loss of farm land and farm operations, not only across the United States, but here in Tennessee, as well.  As development expands and land use changes, those in the farming business need to be vouchsafe.  They need to have their heritage and their livelihood, the opportunity to pursue it, preserved.  This bill helps in those efforts.”

The proposal establishes a rebuttable presumption that a farm is not a public or private nuisance unless overcome by a preponderance of the evidence that either the farm does not conform to generally accepted agricultural practices or those set by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Conservation.  The bill would not affect legitimate cases of nuisance like the improper use of pesticides, herbicides or disposing of waste improperly.

“This bill removes the standard as it relates to new types of farming operations, simply saying that if you’re farming, you’re farming and you have a rebuttable presumption.  There is no distinction between existing’ and new types of farms,” Norris continued.

“As people decide they want to live in the beautiful bucolic country, they don’t realize that there’s an industry going on there, called agriculture, and this helps to protect that,” added Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) who is co-sponsoring the bill.

The measure now goes to the floor of the Senate where it could be scheduled as early as next week.

In other farm news this week, the full Senate approved legislation which gives the Commissioner of Agriculture authority to regulate seeds that are sold, purchased and planted in Tennessee.  Senate Bill 1934, sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston), aims to reduce the risk of potentially harmful seeds from other parts of the world coming into the state.  The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.
Senate passes cybersecurity legislation to protect Tennessee Consumers

Cybersecurity legislation was passed by the State Senate this week tightening up Tennessee’s law regarding breach notification requirements to protect consumers.  The bill is sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro).

“With more and more personal information stored electronically, there is a growing need to protect personal information, funds and assets,” said Senator Ketron.  “This bill moves Tennessee law forward in adapting to the ever-changing landscape of the cyber world and the threats that come as a result.”

Presently, Tennessee law requires a person, state agency, or business that owns or licenses computerized data that includes personal information to disclose any discovered breach of the security of the system to Tennessee residents whose unencrypted personal information may have been acquired by an unauthorized person.  The law, however, does not affect encrypted information even though a growing number of breaches involve encrypted data as the methods used by criminals become more sophisticated.  The time frame for this notification is also not specified under current law, simply saying it should be made in the most expedient time possible and without reasonable delay.

Senate Bill 2005 specifies that an unauthorized user includes employees of the information holder and that a breach of the security system includes the unauthorized acquisition of all computerized data, whether encrypted or unencrypted. It further requires that the notification requirement to disclose a breach be made immediately, but no later than 45 days from the discovery or notification of the breach or, in the event the disclosure is delayed due to the needs of law enforcement, no later than 45 days after the law enforcement agency determines that the disclosure will not compromise a criminal investigation.

According to the Credit Union National Association, it is estimated that the 2013 Target breach cost credit unions over $30 million and the 2014 Home Depot breach is estimated to have cost even more.  These costs include notifying customers of the breach, reissuing credit and debit cards, closing and reopening member accounts, refunding fraudulent charges, stopping and blocking payments and increasing fraud monitoring.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Donald Trump is an affront to basic standards of honesty, virtue and citizenship.

by David Brooks, The New York Times, MARCH 18, 2016 - .... Trump voters are a coalition of the dispossessed. They have suffered lost jobs, lost wages, lost dreams. The American system is not working for them, so naturally they are looking for something else. ...We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough.

Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.

Trump is perhaps the most dishonest person to run for high office in our lifetimes. All politicians stretch the truth, but Trump has a steady obliviousness to accuracy.

He is a childish man running for a job that requires maturity. He is an insecure boasting little boy whose desires were somehow arrested at age 12.

Donald Trump is an affront to basic standards of honesty, virtue and citizenship. He pollutes the atmosphere in which our children are raised. He has already shredded the unspoken rules of political civility that make conversation possible. In his savage regime, public life is just a dog-eat-dog war of all against all.

As the founders would have understood, he is a threat to the long and glorious experiment of American self-government. He is precisely the kind of scapegoating, promise-making, fear-driving and deceiving demagogue they feared.

Trump’s supporters deserve respect. They are left out of this economy. But Trump himself? No, not Trump, not ever. (link)

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Economist rates Trump presidency among its top 10 global risks

A Donald Trump presidency poses a top-10 risk event that could disrupt the world economy, lead to political chaos in the U.S. and heighten security risks for the United States, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Electing Trump could also start a trade war, hurt trade with Mexico and be a godsend to terrorist recruiters in the Middle East, according to the latest EIU forecasts. 

The well-respected global economic and geopolitical analysis firm put a possible Trump presidency in its top 10 global risks this month, released Wednesday. Other risks include a sharp slowdown in the Chinese economy, a fracture of the Eurozone, and Britain’s possible departure from the European Union.

Trump’s controversial remarks on Muslims would be a gift to “potential recruiters who have long been trying to paint the U.S. as an anti-Muslim country. His rhetoric will certainly help that recruiting effort,” said Robert Powell, global risk briefing manager at EIU.
Until Trump, the firm had never rated a pending election of a candidate to be a geopolitical risk to the U.S. and the world. The firm has no plans to include Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz or John Kasich on future risk lists.

“It’s highly unusual, and I don’t think we ever have done it where we’ve had a single politician be the center of our risk items,” Powell said in an interview, but noted that the firm has once included the transition at the top of the Chinese Communist Party as a top-ten risk as well.
“Innate hostility within the Republican hierarchy towards Mr. Trump, combined with the inevitable virulent Democratic opposition, will see many of his more radical policies blocked in Congress,” wrote EIU. But “such internal bickering will also undermine the coherence of domestic and foreign policymaking.”   Politico

My Comment:  This blog usually focuses on local or state politics and issues, but I must comment on the Trump phenomena.  When Trump first began being mentioned as a candidate, I thought it was a joke.  When he started holding rallies, I thought it was a publicity stunt and he would drop out before the first primary.  When he began getting on the ballots, I though he would be annihilated in the first caucus and primary contest. Wrong! That shows you how much I know.

I have never been tempted to support Trump.  The only time I have warmed to him even a little is when he is attacked by people like President Obama's mentor, American terrorist Bill Ayers, and people like "Reverend" Al Sharpton and film maker Michael Moore and some other liberals who I detest.  Also, I have on occasion found his refusal to bow to the gods of political correctness refreshing. When a  reporter asked him why he used the term "anchor babies" and said many found the term offensive Trump asked the reporter what term he should use.  The reporter proposed “the American-born childs [sic] of undocumented immigrants.” Trump said, “You want me to use that? Okay. I’ll use the word ‘anchor baby.'” I've got to love it. It is refreshing. If the indoctrinators at American universities, the TV chattering class and the mainstream press started referring to drug dealers as "unlicensed pharmacist," soon everyone would be using to term in order not to offend "unlicensed Pharmacist." I am sick of political correctness and letting the left control the language.  Because I find Trump's refusal to bow to political correctness refreshing and because I hate many of his enemies however, is not reason enough to make me support Donald Trump.

There are several reasons I oppose Trump.  My primary reason all along has been because he is not a conservative.  However, after more reflection and reading the Economist article above, my primary reason has shifted and now it is that I fear he would start a trade war and be reckless in foreign affairs. His not being a conservative has fallen to the number two reason I can not support Donald Trump.

At this point, I am not sure what I will do if he is the nominee; I do not think I could vote for him.  I think there is little doubt that if he is the nominee Hillary Clinton will be the president. However, since I was so wrong about Trump before, I could be wrong again.  There really may be a Trump presidency and I find that a scary thought.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What happened at the 3/15/16 council meeting: TIF reform, $ for Lifeway development, Fairground gun show bills stall.

This meeting is just a little over an hour long. To see my agenda commentary and to get a link to the Council agenda, follow this link. I am not sure when the Council staff analysis was posted on line, but it was not yet posted the morning of the meeting, but it is now.  To see the staff analysis, follow this link.

Below is a summary of the meeting, highlighting the items of interest.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-148 the TIF deal (tax increment financing) to fund rehabilitation of the Old Hickory Towers, an existing 217 unit high-rise apartment building is approved on the consent agenda.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-168,   "A resolution recognizing April 15, 2016, as the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence in Davidson County and across the United States," passes on the consent agenda.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-76 , the resolution by Councilman Glover requesting the Metropolitan Board of Fair Commissioners to reinstate and continue to allow gun shows at the fairgrounds is not on consent. At the request of the sponsor it is deferred one meeting. To support this resolution and Bill No. BL2016-161 which also deals with the issue, the Friends of the Fairground had put out a "call to action" asking fairground supporters to attend the meeting wearing their red tee shirts. The chamber is not packed with fairground supporters and a look at the audience in the chamber does not show a lot of people wearing red.

 BILL NO. BL2015-32 on second reading which is a bill to prohibit the selling of newspapers or other things in the right of way to people in automobiles is deferred indefinitely at the request of the sponsor. This would have had the effect to ending The Contributor newspaper sales program which aids the homeless. The sponsor says he will be bringing back another bill which will address the issue in a different manner.

BILL NO. BL2016-157  which would make modest improvements to the Tax Increment Finance program passes on a voice vote with no discussion. To learn more about this issue see this link.

BILL NO. BL2016-160 on second reading amends the distance requirements for a beer license. It passes.

BILL NO. BL2016-161   mandates that the Fair Board keep dates available in their calendar to allow the gun shows to rent the facility at the fairground until such time as a court of law or the Tennessee Attorney General determines the Fair Board’s compliance with the Metropolitan Charter, state and/or federal legislation in regard to its actions banning gun shows.  There was a vote in committee to deffer this indefinitely so  "by rule" the bill is deferred.  The sponsor could bring it back but would be required to request in writing to the clerk that it be back on the agenda, then the bill would be on the agenda for a determination if it could be heard. If the bill gets a majority of those voting, then it would be on the next agenda following that meeting.

BILL NO. BL2016-117 and BILL NO. BL2016-132 on third reading amends the zoning code in an attempt to curtail alternative financial services businesses such as payday lenders. They both pass. I oppose both of these bills. While I think payday lenders are slimy leaches preying on the poor, the rate of interest they charge poor people is no greater than banks charge for a bounced check or what NES charges if you get your electricity cut off. Rather than protect stupid people from being taking advantage of, we should educate them. People should be free to be stupid. As to the detrimental effect on development of these institutions, I can't believe they are more detrimental than a used tire stores. I wonder how many used tire stores Nolesnville Road can support? Another one just opened at the corner of Glenrose and Nolensivlle. I think another Advance Financial would be a preferred development, but this bill will prohibit alternative financial institutions so we can save those locations for what? Used tire stores.

BILL NO. BL2016-149  on Third Reading authorizes Metro to enter a participation agreement for the construction of public infrastructure improvements and to accept a donation of property for a park. The ordinance obligates Metro government to spend up to $3.49 million in infrastructure costs such as sidewalks and sewage and the owner of the property would give 1.26 acres to Metro for a park. While $3.49 million dollars is a lot of money, this development gets no TIF (Tax Increment Financing) nor a PILOT (payment in-lieu of taxes) deal.  This is an incentive deal to keep Lifeway headquarters downtown.  If was discussed on the floor of the Council when it was on second reading and is again discussed at this meeting. (See video time stamp 52:00 - 1:03
:04) A concern  surrounding this  issue is that Metro is paying for a park and some feel that Metro should require developers to set aside green space instead of the city financing it. There is also concern that we do not have guidelines as to when we provide incentives and how much incentive the city provides developers. To see The Tennessean's coverage of this issue, follow this link:  Nashville council approves $3.5M boost for LifeWay move.

This is just an aside from observing the Council meetings.  I think there should be a rule change to require all male council member to wear neckties and sports jackets or suits while attending council meetings. A little dignity wouldn't hurt. Also, when addressing the Chair, one should stand.

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Farewell Statement from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

Ron Ramsey
Statement from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey posted to Facebook- I have made an important decision today that I wanted to share with you as soon as possible. I have decided not to seek re-election to the state Senate for another four-year term.

Serving Tennessee has been a true honor and a privilege that I will cherish for the rest of my days. Your support has been invaluable. I appreciate each and every one of you more than you could ever know.

Below are the remarks I made to my colleagues on the Senate floor this morning:
I have always been known as a straight-shooter who gets right to the point. Today is no exception.
I stand before you today to announce that I will not be seeking another four-year term to the State Senate.

I have served in the General Assembly for nearly a quarter of a century: four years in the State House and 20 years in the State Senate. 24 years.

For the last 10 years, this body has granted me the privilege of serving as Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate. It has been a true honor to serve my state in this way.

I have said many times, I truly am “living the dream.” I have never meant that phrase as much as I mean it right now. I am living the dream.

While serving in the legislature, I have tried my best to keep my priorities in order.

My first priority has always been my faith. I have never taken my talents and opportunities for granted. I know that all I have God has given me. I have prayed to Him everyday for wisdom and guidance.

A close second has always been my family. Sindy is not only my wife but my best friend. She is truly the wind beneath my wings. I have the three best daughters a father could ask for. And now I have three wonderful son-in-laws.

My third priority has been my business.

And that brings us to priority number four, politics and state government.

It has been the honor of my life to serve here. We have accomplished great things together. We have left Tennessee better than we found it. But lately, it seems like life is flying by.

When I ran for office four years ago, I had a one-year old grandson. That grandson, Parker, will be starting kindergarten in August. I now have four grandsons. My first granddaughter will be born today. As a matter of fact, I will be leaving immediately following session to celebrate the birth of little Sadie Rhea with my family.

After a lot of prayer and many sleepless nights, I have determined that I simply cannot commit to another four years in office. I am ready to take priority number four off the table and commit a lot more time to priority number two, my growing family.

This has not been an easy decision. I love the the State Senate. I love being Lt. Governor. And I consider each and every one of you a true friend. I want to thank the people of my district for allowing me to serve the past 24 years. I especially want to thank the members of this body for allowing me to serve as your leader.

May God bless each and every one of you. And may God continue to bless the great State of Tennessee.

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House subcommittee advances bill stripping $100K from UT diversity operations

A bill that would strip the University of Tennessee of $100,000 a year in state funding for certain diversity and inclusion operations began advancing in a House subcommittee Tuesday — but on a separate track than a similar effort underway in the state Senate. ...

The amendment would also prohibit UT from using any state funds "to promote the use of gender-neutral pronouns, Sex Week or to promote or demote a religious holiday." The committee approved the amendment and moments later, the bill, on an unrecorded group voice vote.  KnoxvilleNews Sentinel

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Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey decides not to seek re-election

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said Wednesday he is not seeking re-election. Ramsey posted the news on his Facebook page and made the ...

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Liberty on the Rocks - Tennessee Thursday, March 17, 2016 5:30 PM

Who: A group of people, numbering anywhere between 8 and 25, who love liberty and who range in age from 18 to 80, and who vary in occupation from students to laborers to attorney's and businessmen, who are generally labeled "right of center" and may call themselves, libertarian, tea party, Republican, conservative, constitutionalists, Objectivist, and  an occasional anarcho-capitalist.

What: Liberty on the Rocks is a get-together that involves eating and drinking and talking and respectfully disagreeing and exchanging of ideas usually about some political topic (but not always) which could be the news of the day, or foreign policy, or the monetary system, or the roll of the family and gay marriage, or legalization of drugs or prostitution, or privacy and the NSA, or the welfare state, or education reform, or criminal justice and prison reform, or the death penalty, or immigration policy, or morality, or the presidential primary or just whatever topic one brings up. There is no program.

When: Thursday, March 17 from 5:30 until everyone leaves which usually people start leaving about 9:30, but sometime later but you can come as late or leave as early as you please.  

Where: Mafiaoza's on the patio, 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN.

Why: For the enjoyment of good conversation with like-minded people. 

To RSVP follow this link.  

First Beer on me. If you are new to Liberty on the Rocks and will be attending this Thursday for the first time, let me know and the first round is on me.  Since this will be happy hour, it is two-for-one pints of draft beer with a good draft beer menu.  Rod Williams

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Experience a FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) Seminar! Applications are Now Open

Are you between the ages of 14 and 26? Are you new to economics? Do you want to acquire the superpowers of economic thinking that will help you see the world in a whole new way?  Join top students, successful business leaders, and great teachers to discover the relationship between personal and social wealth and the virtues of an enterprising life. For more information and to make application follow this link.

For any person between the age of 14 and 26 in middle Tennessee who attends one of the FEE ten summer seminars A Disgruntled Republican will provide a $200 scholarship. If you are awarded a FEE scholarship, the $200 will be in addition to the FEE scholarship. If you pay your own way the $200 scholarship will be awarded. Three $200 scholarships are available.

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The Council agenda for 3/15/2016: Tax Increment Funding reform, gun shows at the fairground, banning The Contributor sales...

For you own copy of the Council agenda  follow the highlighted link. The Council staff analysis is not posted and the meeting is tonight.  Why it is not posted, I do not know. When the staff analysis is posted, if it is, you can find it at this link.

My time has been limited to study the agenda, and I very well may have missed something important.  Also, without the staff analysis, I may have missed the significance of something. Below is a summary of the meeting agenda, listing only what I consider the most important items on the agenda.

Gun Shows at the Fairgrounds. RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-76  is the resolution by Councilman Glover requesting the Metropolitan Board of Fair Commissioners to reinstate and continue to allow gun shows at the fairgrounds. He also has an ordinance on the subject. The resolution is a request;  the ordinance,  BILL NO. BL2016-161   mandates that the Fair Board keep dates available in their calendar to allow the gun shows to rent the facility at the fairground. It argues that the charter amendment that saved the fair grounds from destruction stated that all activities being conducted on the premises of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds as of December 31, 2010 should be continued on the same site and that discontinuing the gun shows violated that charter provision. It also says that since the Fair Board failed to rescind their action discontinuing the gun shows, that litigation is very likely to occur challenging the action of the Fair Board in discontinuing the gun shows. So, it directs the Fair Board "to reserve a sufficient number of weekend dates after January 1, 2017 for the scheduling of gun shows at the Expo Center, matching the frequency with which gun shows have been scheduled since passage of the Charter Amendment of August 4, 2011, until such time as a court of law or the Tennessee Attorney General determines the Fair Board’s compliance with the Metropolitan Charter, state and/or federal legislation in regard to its actions of December 1, 2015 regarding gun shows." The Friends of the Fairgrounds group has urged their members to show up at the Council meetings wearing red shirts to show support for this ordinance.  Read CRITICAL CALL TO ACTION, THIS TUESDAY, FRIENDS OF THE FAIRGROUNDS!

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-148 is another TIF deal (tax increment financing). This one however is to keep available for low income elderly, the Old Hickory Towers, an existing 217 unit high-rise apartment building.  MDHA would actually own the property and an investor would have a long term lease on it and would renovate the building. Financing for this deal would also include  low-income housing tax credits (“LIHTC).  In a idea world, we would not need this type of safety net housing for the elderly and housing would not have to be subsidized, but without the income based housing for the elderly, many elderly would be homeless and die on the streets. I support this method of providing housing for the low-income elderly. I am also pleased to see TIF used for serving the low income instead of used to finance only luxury super expensive condos downtown.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-168,   "A resolution recognizing April 15, 2016, as the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence in Davidson County and across the United States."

RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-169,  "A resolution supporting House Bill 2147 / Senate Bill 2098, currently pending in the Tennessee General Assembly, which would require the principal of a school to allow a patriotic society time to recruit students to the society during school hours."  An example of a "patriotic group" is the Girl Scouts.

 BILL NO. BL2015-32 on second reading is a bill to prohibit the selling of newspapers or other things in the right of way to people in automobiles. This would have the effect of outlawing The Contributor newspaper sales.  Nashville's Contributor has been one of the most successful street newspapers of its kind in the country.  A lot of people are now housed who were formerly homeless due to the success of their selling The Contributor. I approve of The Contributor as a way of providing charity to the homeless. It is much preferable for the public and the non-profit sector to help the homeless rather than the government. While selling The Contributor is still panhandling, it is a more dignified way of panhandling than simply holding a sign and getting contributions. Also The Contributor makes an effort to help their sellers get their life together and imposes certain restrictions on their appearance and behavior and teaches them certain skills. I oppose this bill.

BILL NO. BL2016-147 on second reading makes changes to a blighted property grant program for commercial properties. I do not have information about the current grant program so I do not know if these changes are for the better or not. The bill defines where and under what circumstances the grant would be available.

BILL NO. BL2016-157 on second reading "pertaining to tax increment financing:" Below is a press release from the Mayor's office explaining the bill:

Legislation Introduced To Strengthen Laws Authorizing Redevelopment Districts In Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 24, 2016) – Mayor Megan Barry, Councilmembers at-large Bob Mendes and Erica Gilmore are announcing new legislation, reached in consultation with the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA), aimed at clarifying and strengthening rules related to tax increment financing (TIF) in MDHA redevelopment districts.

“MDHA redevelopment districts are a great tool for helping to revitalize parts of Nashville, and this legislation will strengthen that tool in a way that create more clarity and promote transparency in the process,” said Mayor Barry. “Now, once the term of a TIF loan expires, the increment tax revenues previously used to pay down the loan will be returned to the general fund to be invested in areas such as public safety, education, and transportation.”

The legislation, filed by Councilmembers Mendes and Gilmore, revises laws related to redevelopment districts, which created by MDHA and approved by the Metro Council with the purpose of promoting redevelopment that is sustainable from economic, environmental, aesthetic, public safety, and historic preservationist perspectives.

"This ordinance changes the ground rules for tax increment financing in Nashville by letting Metro recover tax revenue more quickly, giving Metro more ability to decide what projects are funded with our tax dollars, and requiring new annual reporting about all TIF loans," said CM Mendes. "I want to thank the Mayor's Office and MDHA for working to improve how tax increment financing works and is reported to the public."

Tax increment financing is a tool used by MDHA in approved redevelopment districts that utilizes incremental increase in property taxes from projects to pay off loans used to get the projects built. Once the loans are paid off, the new tax revenues are available to Metro in the general fund.

“MDHA has a 30 year history of administering TIF for the better of Nashville. This tool has made possible countless projects including Hall of Fame Park, First Tennessee Park, Ascend Amphitheater and a mixed-use project at 1821 Jefferson Street,” said Ralph Mosley, MDHA board chair. “We hope these new refinements will help the general public better understand the program.”

Highlights of the legislation include:
  • It clarifies that tax increment financing (TIF) revenues collected for future TIF loans will stay with the Metropolitan Government general fund once the loans are paid off.
  • All new redevelopment district plans, and future amendments to existing plans, will require the proceeds from land sold by MDHA to be used solely within that particular redevelopment district area. The ordinance includes an express exception to allow revenues from the three Rolling Mill Hill properties being sold by MDHA to be used as part of the Envision Cayce project.
  • All new TIF loans approved after the effective date of the ordinance will require that the debt service portion of the taxes remain with Metro and are not to be pledged toward payment of the TIF loans.
  • The ordinance adds specific reporting requirements for MDHA to provide to the Finance Director and Council. This will include information about the terms of each outstanding TIF loan, as well as information about the use of TIF throughout all of the redevelopment districts.
The proposed ordinance, BL2016-157, will be heard on first reading on Tuesday, March 1st.
This is an improvement. Currently once the TIF loan is repaid, the tax revenue still flows to MDHA.  Many of the new downtown developments generate almost no tax revenue for the general fund.  TIF was originally intended to help redevelop blighted communities. Does anyone still think downtown Nashville is "blighted?"

BILL NO. BL2016-160 on second reading amends the distance requirements for a beer license. Currently a business seeking a beer permit must be a certain distance away from a residence, a church, playground, day care centers and schools. This waives those distance requirements if the establishment is separated from those entities by a four-lane state or federal highway. This makes sense to me.

BILL NO. BL2016-117 and BILL NO. BL2016-132 on third reading would amend the zoning code in an attempt to curtail alternative financial services businesses such as payday lenders. I oppose this bill. See my commentary on the bill when it was on second reading and the sponsors response to my criticism at this link.

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Monday, March 14, 2016



There will be a council meeting on Tuesday, March 15th at 6:30 pm that will be VERY important to attend with your RED SHIRTS in support of a Bill (ORDINANCE NO. BL2016-161) Steve Glover is introducing to Council to keep the dates of the Gun Shows at The Fairgrounds. This is VERY important because the gun shows makes up the majority of revenue The Fairgrounds receives in order to operate. Taking away these events will only hurt The Fairgrounds financially and we must ask ALL the Council members to support Bill 2016-161 to protect the dates for the gun shows at the Fairgrounds. This is the beginning of another concerted effort to once again CLOSE THE FAIRGROUNDS and redevelop it.  Currently the area is undergoing a major boom in development, and this property is PRIME REAL ESTATE for development of mix-use, housing, restaurants, and office space!  Even though there is a charter amendment to keep the existing uses, attempts will be made to do what is possible to make the property 'blight' and have Council vote by super-majority to make changes to the amendment.
If you cannot attend, please email and ask them to support this bill.  you can click on hyperlink to start your email!
PLEASE ATTEND THIS MEETING AND WEAR RED and SPREAD THE WORD by sharing this email!  Come early to get a front row seat to show your RED and support - Thank you for your continued support!
Thank you!
Friends of the

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Paycheck Protection bill promoted

Press release, (NASHVILLE, TN) –Tennesseans for Conservative Action announces the start of a web and radio campaign urging Tennessee conservatives in support of Rep. Spivey’s efforts to end the automatic dues deductions for political government unions.

Julie West, a founding member of the group said its time to stand against the National Education Association. "It takes 5 minutes of research to understand how the NEA uses taxpayers to help fund their dues-collection, and uses those dues for a SuperPAC to attack conservatives and promote their left-wing agenda.

The issue of payroll deductions came to light last year after a Memphis teachers association disaffiliated from the NEA, leaving the school district confused as to where to send teachers dues. The result was a lawsuit against Shelby CountySchools Schools by the former-NEA teachers.

Many teachers across Tennessee have complained that the process for dis-enrolling from payroll deduction is opaque and limited to small window of time each year. They also cite the TEA’s refusal to permit teachers to opt-out of supporting the NEA, an organization that supports ObamaCare, abortion, and left-wing organizations like ACORN and the Progressive States Network.

“Read the FEC filings. You’ll see that the NEA is buying billboards for Hillary Clinton, and they’re using member dues to do it. What conservative teacher wants to give up a piece of their paycheck for that? We need to make the process fair for teachers and taxpayers alike and get government out of the dues-collection business."

Watch or listen to TCA's ad here.

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Direct Primary Care Bill Unanimously Passes the Senate

Beacon Center - Today, a bill that would allow patients to contract directly with their primary care doctors for their healthcare needs. By a vote of 32-0, the Direct Primary Care bill that will remove government restrictions and allow primary care physicians to deal directly with their patients will now move through the House.
Beacon Policy Director Lindsay Boyd stated, "Direct Primary Care took a big step forward today by passing the Senate. This bill will restore Tennesseans' healthcare freedom and expand their access to quality care. Think of Direct Primary Care like a gym membership. With Direct Primary Care, patients pay as little as $40 per month directly to their primary care doctor. In exchange, they get more frequent and longer visits."
Boyd went on to note, "Ultimately, today is a victory for lower and middle class Tennesseans. This bill will give those without affordable access to care the opportunity to save money and receive better, more customized care that they can actually afford."
To watch a video that explains the benefits of Direct Primary Care, click here.

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The Council agenda and staff analysis.

Due to events that disrupted my schedule this week, I have not yet been able to read the Council agenda. If I am able to do so before the Council meeting, I will post my commentary and analysis but don't count on it. For you own copy of the Council agenda  follow the highlighted link. The Council staff analysis is not yet available.  When it is you can find it at this link.

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