Saturday, September 30, 2006


Matthew Hill: The Inaccessible Rep

The following two stories from the Johnson City Press demonstrate that Matthew Hill's “accessible” tag is a lie. He also demonstrates his allegiance to lobbyist groups like the Malt Beverage Association instead of his constituents. The Johnson City Commission had to turn to Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen when Hill failed them:
(June 16)The Johnson City Commission will now directly seek the help of Gov. Phil Bredesen when it comes to concerns over a beer bill that is on the verge of becoming law.

In May, the panel instructed City Manager Pete Peterson to ask local legislators to attend Thursday night’s commission meeting in order to discuss legislation recently passed by both the state Senate and House of Representatives that could take away the power of local governments to enforce their own beer ordinances.

Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, did not respond to messages left by city staff.

Rather than sit back and wait for the Legislature to make changes, some commissioners voiced a desire to ask Bredesen to act on their behalf.

“I think we need to be proactive in this and encourage him not to sign it,” Commissioner Ricky Mohon said. “We want him to veto it. Our local legislators ignored our request.”

Peterson said the bill was introduced and “heavily supported” by the Malt Beverage Association and retail beer vendors. While it includes provisions that require specific and ongoing alcohol education for business owners and beer sellers, Peterson said the drawbacks greatly outweigh the positives.

The bill dictates that local governments could suspend or revoke a beer permit only after multiple violations and once the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission deems it appropriate. In addition, the bill would greatly restrict the ability of law enforcement agencies to conduct undercover “sting” operations designed to catch violations at businesses.
(June 15) The Johnson City Commission will discuss new state beer laws tonight, even if some legislators aren’t ready to take part in that conversation.

While the commission is expected to discuss the matter, it is likely no legislators will be in attendance tonight.

Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, did not respond to phone messages.

I suppose we should be asking Rep. Matthew Hill if he attended the Bottle Bill "Educational" Breakfast Meetings in both Morristown and Knoxville that were sponsored by the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association (and perhaps other PACs) before the Tennessee Bottle Bill legislation was scheduled for a subcommittee hearing in Nashville...check the WATE-TV (Knoxville) forums.

Senator Ramsey was at the breakfast meetings along with Northeast Reps. Godsey, Vaughn, and others.
I am pretty confident that if he wasn't invited, he wanted to attend. Too bad Matthew Hill doesn't support the bottle bill. I guess he would rather see Northeast Tennessee's beauty marred by trash.
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