by Eric Holcombe
The Tennessee legislature currently has a 15-bill limit on House members. This means as a Representative, you likely have less than 15 bills of your own that you can advance because you also may be carrying companion bills for a Senator in the House – which may not be on you or your constituents’ radar at all, but all bills have to progress through both chambers. My Representative is now Jerry Sexton. He is a “freshman”, having just been elected, so this is his first House session. I was interested to see what bills Jerry would sponsor, hoping that maybe I could get a feel for his convictions and what he thought was important to change. However, I also realize the stranglehold the GOP (or whichever political club is in majority at the moment) has on the “freshmen” Tennesseans elect to represent them – as if somehow they are not equally as important as “ranking members” – even though obviously the actual voters wanted a change and booted the incumbent (Dennis “ghost-vote” Roach in this case). So I took a look at Jerry’s bills.
See HB0616 for example. Gee, it seems kinda odd that for some reason it is a real high priority for Grainger County residents to prohibit their own county and local governments from being able to decide if they want un-manned vehicles driving around on their roads. I have been asking my neighbors how they feel about “vehicles equipped with autonomous technology” and if they are the ones pushing Jerry to prohibit ourselves from accidently deciding we might possibly one day find a reason they are not a good thing. The typical response is “HUH?”
Why would a representative go to the state to pass a bill into law that further removes liberties from his own constituents (and those all across the state)?
Of course, I know this isn’t Jerry’s bill. It’s Sen. Brian Kelsey’s bill (You remember Brian. He’s the attorney that introduced the constitutional amendment to remove your constitutional right to vote for the state supreme court judges- and keep attorneys selecting them for you – just like they have done illegally for the last 40 years.).
Senator Jim Tracy has amended this bill to camouflage its original language that explicitly stated it was prohibiting county and local governments from being able to regulate the use of unmanned vehicles on their own roads. Now it says “political subdivisions”. And the new, johnny-on-the-spot general assembly website even substitutes the language on the bills themselves – so you can no longer see what it was prior to amending. Convenient, yes?
So, Sen. Kelsey, just whose corporate welfare bill is this? Nissan’s? What happened to all that 10th Amendment talk? You want to claim the US Constitution when the federal government oversteps its bounds (unless they offer a lot of Common Core money), but then are plenty happy to steal the authority from county and local governments or the voters. Sen. Tracy wants to claim “it should be a local issue” when it comes to maintaining unconstitutional traffic revenue cameras – but apparently you local yokels are too incompetent to think about unmanned vehicles on the county and local streets you pay to maintain.