Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Democrats Resist Ethics Reform

Here we see the Democrats didn’t like the idea of legislators having to wait one year before going to work as lobbyists. They need to get over themselves because we have way too many lobbyists as it is. Also, I don’t really care about special license plates, so let’s get rid of them. Lastly, I have no qualms about HB736 and don’t see why the Democrats do.
The following came from Republican Leader Tre Hargett’s Capitol Hill Week in Review for March 17, 2005.

A second bill, brought before the State Government Subcommittee by the same Republican sponsor, called for a mandatory one-year "cooling off" period for retired or defeated legislators who are considering a career in lobbying. The bill, HB247, is a simple way to discourage employment deals from interfering with official legislative duties. Despite the sponsor's description of the bill as a single step in dispelling any public perception of undue influence upon legislation by outside sources, Democrats labeled the bill as discriminatory and a hindrance to earning a living following service in the legislature. HB247 ultimately failed on a strictly partisan vote, with Democrats refusing to accept a proposal that is the current law in the United States Congress.

Further, before the House Committee on State and Local Government, Democrats slowed the passage of a Republican-sponsored bill to limit granting legislative license plates to only legislators and their immediate family members. Last week, Democrat members of the State Subcommittee killed the simple regulatory spirit of the bill by amending it to completely prevent any distribution of the plates - even to legislators themselves. This week, the bill was sent back to the subcommittee for even further discussion.

Finally, during a Wednesday meeting of the House Elections Subcommittee, Republicans proposed a bill to ban political action committee (PACs) contributions for 20 days prior to an election and also to require disclosure of those funds 17 days prior to the election. The bill, HB736, simply brings current law up to speed with Tennessee's early voting schedule - an opportunity seized by nearly half of all Tennesseans in the 2004 election. Democrats stated that the bill was unfair because it eliminated the last-minute fundraising efforts of candidates who can't raise funds earlier in their campaigns. Although the bill had previously been rolled by members of the subcommittee for further discussion, it failed again to receive passage from the subcommittee due to time constraints, and will receive further scrutiny next week.

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