In Sesh with a rundown of all the hand-wringing about ALEC:
Tennessee’s chapter of OFA described its event as the “Sportsmen for Climate Action Press Conference” and promised to offer the details on “climate denier” legislation being promoted by ALEC. But, sadly, there were sportsmen, so instead a pair of Nashville Democrats — state Reps. Sherry Jones and Mike Stewart — did the deed of ripping into ALEC.
“Once again this front group, ALEC, is planning to unleash a wave of bad legislation in Tennessee,” Stewart said. “It’s important for the people of Tennessee to understand … that these bills just weren’t thought up here by Tennesseans in this plaza but rather were drafted in corporate board rooms far from Tennessee, handed over to this front group ALEC and then handed over the people of Tennessee in the form of bills.”
Despite the scattershot planning, the OFA/Sportsmen for Climate Action/Jones-Stewart press conference was part of a fairly sophisticated national public relations campaign put together by Democratic-leaning groups to throw a spotlight on their foes. Similar press conferences were held in other statehouses, protesters gathered at ALEC’s meeting place in DC, and a report published by the Guardian newspaper purports to show the state-by-state agenda of conservative groups.
The Times-Free Press has a piece on localities requiring prescriptions for pseudophedrine, setting off ordinances in surrounding areas. Is state action next?
In towns where the ordinance is passed, "smurfs" -- people who buy pseudoephedrine-based cold medicines from pharmacies for the clandestine production of meth -- can't buy the illicit drug precursor legally without a prescription, helping to sever that link from the supply chain.
All of the cities in Franklin County, Tenn., quickly followed Huntland's lead, and the man who has spearheaded the effort, Winchester Police Chief Dennis Young, began road trips all over the state to push for passage of similar ordinances. In many of his presentations, state Methamphetamine Task Force officials and local judiciary officials joined him to talk about meth dangers and legal angles of the ordinance.
But the meth ordinance has drawn fire from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service, the Tennessee Municipal League and the Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association, as well as drug companies that make cold medicine.
A proposal from Metro School Board member Will Pinkston would establish a fund for charter schools to secure old stores and malls for conversion to schools; they just have to agree to locate in places with the most overcrowded public schools.
Is Sara Kyle going to run for governor? Is she ever going to return the TFP's phone calls?
With just under 11 months to go until Election Day 2014, some Democrats say it's getting late for Kyle to mount a serious effort against Haslam, a multi-millionaire who commands a formidable fundraising machine.
"My sense is she probably should have started this a couple of months ago if she was going to get in it. And I don't think it's the right time considering her mother's health," Memphis-based political consultant Matt Kuhn, who helped create the Run Sara Run PAC last August and is the group's treasurer, said in a voicemail message.
Kyle's mother is in her 80s and battling pancreatic cancer. Kyle told reporters in September that was one of her considerations in deciding to run. But she also said she planned to meet with groups across the state to sound out support, including financing a campaign.
State Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron said "if Sara chose to run, she'd be a great candidate. She loves people and she's smart, attractive and energetic ... more energy than the Energizer Bunny."
Herron, however, demurred on her current status.
"I'll have to let her speak," he said.
Frank Cagle wonders what might happen if voters reject the judicial selection amendment:
But if the voters reject the amendment, conservatives will likely bring a bill to call for the election of judges to the courts of appeal and the state Supreme Court. A bill could be brought to require judges who are retained in the 2014 election, instead of having an eight-year term, having to face popular election in 2016.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the speaker of the Senate, argues that the constitution calls for judges to be elected by the “qualified voters of the state” and the amendment will make appointed judges constitutional. Ramsey is opposed to electing judges, citing his own statewide race for governor: “You are always raising money.” If the amendment fails, he says he will work to find a solution that is constitutional. The big question is: How?
White’s colleague at the University of Tennessee School of Law, Professor Judy Cornett, says the basic flaw in Kelsey’s plan is how the governor will be guided in his selections. Without a process for applicants to be vetted, how will the governor make his choices?
Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed another commission to advise him on judicial selections, similar to the old system abolished by the Legislature. But it is no longer required, Cornett says, “there is an absence in the law of any method of bringing qualified candidates to the governor.” White says “we have a good governor now, but what about the future?”
Kelsey argues that the governor can go out and recruit top-quality judges, be proactive instead of waiting for names to be sent to him. He cites the federal system as the model for his amendment, in which the president picks federal judges and they are confirmed by the U.S. Senate.