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Contributed by John Haley,  Mt. Juliet
I was very pleased to return home to Wilson County after being gone for 49 years as I considered Lebanon and Wilson County home since I grew up here from the fifth grade.  While attending Lebanon High School, I enlisted in the Air Force, served over 26 years in uniform and another 20+ as a civilian, and for a short time, I worked with the state of Colorado as a hearings officer.

Over the years I had become extremely proud of my home state being a Volunteer fan and hearing tales of the Tennessee income tax revolt as well as the Battle of Athens in  1946 when citizens foiled an attempt to steal a county election.

I regaled fellow Airmen with tales of my home state as I traveled half way around the world living in two foreign nations and visiting over 15 other nations and territories.  I visited several with great governments and many with corrupt governments.  I would proudly state that none were as good as my home state and county.

Upon returning about three years ago, imagine my amazement at finding the Wilson County Government appearing in some respects like some third world nations:  7 of 25 county commissioners were county or school employees, several others had ties directly and indirectly to the county employees, and some county employees are employed in more than one county position.

Therefore, it came as no surprise when, by a vote of 13 to 9 with 2 abstentions, the County Commission voted against supporting a state legislative bill, HB 1481, which would make it unlawful for county employees to serve on county commissions across the state as is the practice currently in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Metro Nashville. This seems to be a prima fascia case of conflict of interest.

A year or two ago when a vote was taken to increase property taxes, I was shocked by the number of commissioners who had to read a disclaimer about the vote being a possible conflict of interest but that they were voting their conscious.  A comment made by a lady speaking against the increase stated, to paraphrase, that she was working 3 jobs, had taken pay cuts in two of those, and wished she could step across this fence and vote myself an increase salary.

The state legislature has recognized that employees serving in a legislative body produce, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest and introduced a bill to end that practice in TN counties.  Not sure what the future holds for the HB 1481 bill but my hope is that the citizens of Wilson County will demand an end to this unseemly practice in the County.

A Tale of Two Counties (with apologies to Charles Dickens)

Contributed by Mary Stimek
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times in east Texas.  It was the best of times for the city of Beaumont; for they owned a convention center, a theater that hosted Broadway touring companies and the fairgrounds, home of the Southeast Texas State Fair, the second largest fair in the state. It was the worst of times for Jefferson County, for they owned none of this. So the County Judge and County Commission hatched a plan to circumvent the voters of the county and build a Grand Event Center!  It would have a new Convention Center, a new fairgrounds, an amphitheater and a new arena that would host great music acts and would also hold an ice rink for a new hockey team! Does any of this sound familiar? So, you may ask, how did that work out for them?  Despite local country stars Tracy Byrd and Tracy Chestnut shilling as front men for the county’s grand scheme, very badly.  The public was furious, for their taxes went up, and there was no referendum on the use of tax dollars to duplicate facilities already available.  The hockey team, the Wildcatters, folded after four seasons, for the area was unable to support it. The Southeast Texas State Fair did move to the new facilities, at the economic demise of the old area around the former fairgrounds.  The county didn’t entice any big conventions to the area with Houston as close as it is, big music acts preferred to play the Woodlands in Houston, and many local groups preferred the city’s old convention space as it cost half of what the county wanted for rent.  Ford Park was not the gold mine envisioned by the county; in fact it was only a gold mine for those already wealthy residents who made millions selling their formerly useless land to the county for this boondoggle.

Now that I live in Wilson County, I see the same thing happening again.  Yes, the situation isn’t exactly the same, however, it didn’t work when the next available facilities were 3 hours down the road in Houston. What makes our leaders think whatever we build in Lebanon will lure convention goers away from the Opryland Hotel or the new Nashville Music City Center, which are less than 30 minutes from Wilson County, and are far nicer than anything we can hope to build here?  One advantage, that hotel rates might be cheaper, will be erased by the plan to partially fund this grand scheme by raising the Hotel – Motel tax to the highest in the state.

Why do politicians attempt to take it upon themselves to do the work that professional developers know how to do? If such facilities were needed and seen to be profitable, then private developers would already be on top of it. By the way, Wilson County; how’s that Nashville Superspeedway working out for you?

Obamacare to Cost Family of Four $20,000 by 2016

CNS News just broke the story that the cost of Obamacare will  exceed $20,000 per family of four by 2016.  If your family is not on an Obamacare qualified plan you will be taxed (fined) about $2,400 per year.  Click here for details about how this legislation will impact you.

This proposed regulation is in the NPRM (Notice for Proposed Rulemaking) process which means it is still open for public comment.  These comments must be received by May 2, 2013 and a public hearing will be held on May 29, 2013.  We encourage you to respond to the NPRM and contact your legislators about how this assault on the family budget will affect you.

Costs ramp up over the next three years. In 2016 a family of four with two children under the age of 18 will pay $2,085 per month on the Obamacare plan.  Breaking it down, each adult will pay $695 and the cost for each child will be half of that amount.  If that family chooses a non-qualified plan or elects not to have health insurance they will be charged a “shared responsibility payment” of around $2,400 per year on their federal income tax.

Click here for more information.

What do you think can be done to deal with this mess?

HB 0042 by *Carr J. (SB 0100 by *Hensley.)

Representative Joe Carr of Lascassas, TN has sponsored a bill that would make it illegal for officials to enforce any ban on semi-automatic weapons or attempt to register any firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition.  Click here to view Rep. Carr discuss HB0042 on Dr. Carol Swain’s talk show, “Be The People”.

Do you think it will protect our 2nd Amendment rights here in Tennessee?

A short summary of HB0042 follows:

Bill Summary
HB 0042 by *Carr J. (SB 0100 by *Hensley.)

Firearms and Ammunition – As introduced, prohibits the enforcement and prosecution of certain federal law implemented or executed on or after January 1, 2013, concerning certain firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition. – Amends TCA Title 4; Title 7; Title 8; Title 38; Title 39; Title 41; Title 49 and Title 62

This bill prohibits any public employee, public official, or firearms dealer from enforcing or attempting to enforce any federal law, statute, rule, regulation, or executive order implemented or executed on or after January 1, 2013, within the borders of Tennessee if the law, statute, rule, regulation, or executive order attempts to:

(1) Ban or restrict ownership of a semi automatic firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition; or
(2) Require any firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition to be registered in any manner.

Under this bill, any federal agent or employee enforces or attempts to enforce any federal law, statute, rule, regulation, or executive order as described in (1) and (2) upon a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in this state and that remains exclusively within the borders of this state will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days incarceration and a fine of up to $2,500.

This bill requires the attorney general to defend a citizen of Tennessee who is prosecuted by the federal government for a violation of federal law, statute, rule, regulation, or executive order as described in (1) and (2).

Proposed Bills for Tennessee Legislature

The Tennessee Alliance of TEA Party and Liberty Groups reviewed proposed bills for the Tennessee Legislature at their January 19th meeting in Nashville.  A total of 30 bills were discussed which addressed the following five pillars (P) of concern:

  • P1- Rebuilding the separation of State and Federal Governments
  • P2- Restoring individual liberties
  • P3- Strengthening State Governance
  • P4- Strengthening State Economy
  • P5- Strengthening State Citizenship

The top two priority bills from each pillar are summarized here for further discussion:

(P1).2 – Federal Agency Exclusion Act – Repeals Tennessee statutes that were passed after 9-11 that improperly empower federal agencies to act as if they were state law enforcement agencies.

(P1).3 – Constitutional Enforcement Restraint Act – Clarifies that Federal law enforcement agencies have no Constitutional authority to investigate, make arrests, or otherwise act as state law enforcement agencies, unless specifically authorized by Tennessee State law.

(P2).1 - Property Rights in Forfeiture Proceedings Act – Forfeiture of any property for criminal reasons must be initiated with a warrant, and ownership of the property cannot be transferred to the government unless the owner is convicted of a relevant criminal act.

(P2).4 – Property Rights in Local Planning Act – Establishes rules requiring community planning to remain under the control of local elected officials (and not regional planners), requires all planners to undergo annual property rights training, and preserves owner rights when jurisdictional boundaries affect his property, or during the planning process.

(P3).2 – Sheriff’s Constitutional Duties Act – Clarifies the duties and superiority of the sheriff as the chief law enforcement officer in every county.

(P3).3 – Tennessee Constitutional Judgements Act – Requires judges to rely exclusively on Tennessee and United States law, to the exclusion of all foreign sources or standards, and to adjust their oath of office accordingly.   (ie. No Sharia Law -Ed.)

(P4).1 – Tennessee Constitutional Prohibition of Income Tax Resolution – Endorses the second enactment of the resolution providing for the next general election to include amendment of the state constitution to prohibit any state income tax in Tennessee.

(P4).2 - Budgeted Expenses Reduction Act – Prohibits the use of funds by Tennessee agencies to advertise welfare services, or to threaten law enforcement actions.

(P5).1 – Tennessee Civics Education Act – Requires Tennessee curriculum content in civics to promote true values of the United States and its founders, to include full understanding of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the success of capitalism, and the effect the United States has had in leading the world and its quest for freedom and prosperity.

(P5).2 Tennessee Textbook Selection Committee Act – Diversifies the staffing of the Tennessee text book selection committee to add subject matter experts from outside the education profession.

Which of these bills are important to you and why?


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