Now that it looks all but certain that Medicaid expansion will have to be OK'd by the legislature, TNReport went to legislative Republicans to see how game they'd be for such an expansion. Not very game.
While the Lt. Gov. doesn't have many hang-ups about the bill giving in-state tuition to U.S.-born children of immigrants in the U.S. illegally, giving in-state tuition to students who came here illegally themselves might be a bridge too far.
From the inbox:
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today sent a letter with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to the U.S. Department of Transportation in favor of prohibiting cell phone conversations on commercial airline flights, preserving what they called the “last vestige of quiet in our busy skies.”
Alexander said: “I’m glad the Department of Transportation is thinking about putting the brakes on a bad idea before it takes flight. Stop and think about what we hear in airport lobbies – babbling about last night’s love life, next week’s schedule, arguments with spouses – and then imagine hearing the same thing while you’re trapped in 17-inch-wide seats thousands of feet above the ground. With two million passengers hurtling through the air each day, the Transportation Security Administration would have to hire three times as many air marshals to deal with fistfights.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering proposed rules that could enable cell phone conversations on commercial airlines. In their letter, Alexander and Feinstein supported the Department of Transportation’s decision to explore prohibiting voice communications on commercial airlines. The Federal Aviation Administration, which is an agency of the Department of Transportation, would be responsible for implementing any proposed regulations regarding cell phone conversations on commercial flights.
In addition, Alexander and Feinstein have introduced the Commercial Flight Courtesy Act, which would prohibit the use of voice communication through cell phones on regularly scheduled commercial flights. It would allow the use of cell phones for texting and other electronic communication, if the FCC were to approve such communications. It would also allow the use of personal electronic devices such as Kindles and iPads during flight, which the Federal Aviation Administration recently approved.
Alexander’s legislation mirrors current regulation. It only applies to commercial airlines, not private charter flights or foreign carriers, unless the latter is flying between U.S. airports. It exempts federal air marshals and flight crews for official business.
The full text of the letter is below:
The Honorable Anthony Foxx
Secretary of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Secretary Foxx,
We are writing to express our strong support for a prohibition on the use of mobile wireless services for voice communication on commercial aircraft.
On February 24, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0002) regarding the use of mobile wireless devices for voice calls on commercial aircraft. We strongly support the agency’s efforts to preserve the last vestige of quiet in our busy skies. On December 12, we introduced S. 1811, the Commercial Flight Courtesy Act to codify the current prohibition of voice communication use inflight.
Today’s commercial air passengers often must tolerate a challenging flight experience. Constantly changing security measures, smaller seats, and unexpected fees are inconveniences air passengers have come to accept as the new normal. Adding the burden of listening to a cacophony of personal conversations while confined to a 17-inch seat strikes us as unnecessary. We are concerned that the addition of this entirely avoidable aggravation of a confined space will create a possibly hostile atmosphere on commercial flights.
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of the passengers and crew of commercial airlines. Flight crews endure long hours, separation from families, and sometimes difficult passengers. A clear prohibition of phone calls by the FAA, will reduce the likelihood that crew will be forced to place themselves in harm’s way to disrupt physical or verbal altercations between passengers.
Further, it is no secret our skies are being protected by undercover Federal Air Marshalls and we appreciate their service. Were the prohibition on voice communication ended, we are concerned that these agents would be forced to disclose their identity to resolve senseless disputes over inflight phone calls.
We strongly encourage you to finalize a rulemaking to prohibit the use of mobile wireless devices for voice communication inflight. Keeping phone conversations private on commercial flights may not be enshrined in the Constitution, but it is certainly enshrined in common sense. By doing so, we believe you will have the gratitude of the majority of the two million Americans who fly each day.
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein The Honorable Lamar Alexander
United States Senator United States Senator
The House will vote Monday — and is expected to pass — a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A separate bill (SB1432) lays out procedures for selecting delegates to the convention, if and when it occurs. Dubbed the “faithful delegate bill” by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, the sponsor, the measure also declares that the Legislature will lay out rules for delegates to follow and that they can be penalized – including a possible felony charge – for violating them.
But what of the unintended consequences?
Though the bill has won approval by lopsided margins in all votes, there has been opposition. In a House committee last week, for example, Bobbie Patray, president of the Tennessee Eagle Forum, and Hal Rounds, a Fayette County tea party leader, contended a convention could open the door to unintended consequences.
Rounds said that, despite the “faithful delegate” bill, delegates once the convention is underway will be under federal jurisdiction and can ignore state laws. He also complained that the convention call, as structured, only requires a balanced budget – not reduced federal spending – and could mean higher taxes rather than spending cuts.
Tennessee would be the 22nd state to call for the convention. Article V of the Constitution requires two-thirds of the states to call for a convention (that's 34, not 38 as the linked article says; approval of an amendment would require 38 states signing on)
The bill requiring legislative approval for "bus rapid transit in a city with a metropolitan form of government" (My goodness, what city could that be? Unless Metro Hartsville has a BRT on its mind) has the backing of Beth Harwell, who says she doesn't "favor" The Amp.