Tag Archive | Representative Bob Ramsey

Knox News Spins Legislators Involvement in Pigeon Forge Liquor


It appears that the Knoxville News Sentinel is doing it’s best to cover for the legislators involvement in ram-rodding another liquor by the drink referendum on the voters of Pigeon Forge, after being rejected twice before.  The Knoxville News Sentinel has endorsed the legislators involved, so they are hardly an unbiased source.

In their endorsement of Ryan Haynes:

“Haynes has served only two terms but is making a mark for himself as a legislative leader. Haynes is disdainful of some of the more frivolous bills that created distractions during the last session and wants to build on education and tax reform begun by Gov. Bill Haslam.”

Leader of what?  The corrupt good ole boys club who seeks to circumvent the will of the voters?  His leadership must be appreciated by Speaker Beth Harwell, who made Haynes Chairman of the State Government Committee.  Rep. Bob Ramsey serves on that Committee as well.

Where’s the respect for the voters?

The article quotes Overbey saying, “I had no objection to an early referendum, provided that the local governmental body (was in favor).”  He also said he would sponsor it had he been asked in a timely manner.  This is very revealing about Overbey, because he is saying that he doesn’t care what the voters of Pigeon Forge want, just the local government.  He was elected to represent the people, not Pigeon Forge government.

Caption Bill

From the article:

After the city’s letter was written, Overbey and Montgomery turned to Rep. Ryan Haynes of Knoxville, who had a relevant “caption bill” on file that could be amended to handle what the city was asking for.

Commenter Privileged Tax calls out Knox News and the good ole boys for failing to report the facts instead of parroting the comments from the good ole boy legislators.

Riiiiight. Except the bill history for HB1171 shows that the sponsor changed to Ryan Haynes on 01/11/12 – it wasn’t “his caption bill” until then. Note that almost a month later (Feb. 5 or 6)the Mountain Press published an article where Montgomery, Haynes, Wear and Ken Maples all denied the presence of a bill and/or even lobbying for one. So, if the original Belle Island-only special legislation is just a fairy tale and never went anywhere, why did Ryan Haynes make the change to be the sponsor of HB1171 before he was asked to – you know some time later in March when the City wrote the letter to Overbey and Montgomery and Swann?

Overbey claims he wasn’t contacted in time? Gee, it seems that Bill Ketron, Bob Ramsey and Ken Yager were contacted in time to write amendment #1 to Ryan’s bill. Bill Ketron claims on video discussion of the bill that he has a letter from the City Manager and Mayor Wear asking for the illegal referendum. Why did they write to Bill Ketron? If the letter was to Doug, why did he give it to Bill Ketron? And Bob Ramsey…and Ken Yager? Why didn’t “legal” recognize the obvious violation of state law in holding the referendum in less than two years from the last one? Did “legal” not review this bill or was it ignored?

Read that amendment. Note how ambiguous it is. They were counting on no sunshine.

If Hayne’s newely adopted bill was a “caption bill”, then why was it repeatedly put on the calender each week until Ramsey’s amendment?

What day in March did Pigeon Forge write a letter to Overbey, Montgomery and Swann?  Haynes said he was never contacted by Pigeon Forge.  Why did Bill Ketron have a letter, but not Haynes who moved the House side of the legislation before Ketron?

Rep. Bob Ramsey was ready with his amendment in March.  Did he receive a letter from Pigeon Forge?  Why didn’t Montgomery or Swann sponsor the Pigeon Forge liquor by the drink amendment if they were the ones who received letters?

The Knox News Sentinel endorse all those good ole boys as well.  Guess Knox News is right, Ramsey has earned another “stint”, after carrying the water for Montgomery and Swann.  Speaker Harwell rewarded Ramsey with Chairmanship of the House Health Committee.

It’s not a good system, but it’s the way we do it.”  Looks like the Knoxville News Sentinel is happy to carry the water for their good ole boys they endorse and who support them with advertising dollars.

The Daily Slime does Puff Piece on Bob Ramsey

The Daily Times published a puff piece on Representative Bob Ramsey, giving him credit for something he isn’t even willing to sponsor.  This is the second recent article promoting Ramsey favorably on a bill he is doing little of the work on.

In the first piece, attorneys were working on the legislation.  In this puff piece Ramsey admits that he is not the prime sponsor, and he is still considering whether to be a co-sponsor.  Ramsey said he “may co-sponsor” the legislation.  Why is The Daily Times devoting so much space and coverage to Ramsey for a bill that he hasn’t comitted to being a co-sponsor, much less the prime sponsor carrying the bill? 

Is The Daily Times carefully calculating the coverage they are giving Ramsey, considering Amelia’s law was there top story of 2012?  This is a great way to ensure that your man remains in office.  At some point these articles become in-kind contributions, going beyond the first amendment.  If people who don’t buy ink by the barrell have to report their support for a candidate, why don’t newspapers when they do the same?

If The Daily Times wants to cover what Ramsey has been doing in Nashville (actually sponsoring, rather than talking about something for press coverage), why not cover his involvement in Pigeon Forge liquor, forcing the citizens to vote again on what they defeated twice before. On this issue he actually sponsored the amendment forcing Pigeon Forge to vote on liquor by the drink.

Ramsey Amelias Laws Ramsey Puff Piece

Forging Ahead Allowed to Intervene in Pigeon Forge Liquor-by-the-Drink

The Mountain Press reports that the group will be allowed to intervene, but not call it’s own witnesses due to time constraints per State law.  As of time of posting, The Daily Times has no coverage of the Chancellors ruling, but there is a video about how wild Heidi Klum is in bed.

One would think The Daily Times would covers this matter considering Blount County 20th District Representative Bob Ramsey’s involvement in matter and because Senator Doug Overbey’s district includes most of Sevier County.

Legislators Ryan Haynes, Bill Ketron, Bob Ramsey, Ken Yager and Pigeon Forge Liquor

Thanks to Eric Holcombe for his excellent detailed research on the subject, something much of the media has failed to do.  Representative Bob Ramsey and Senator Doug Overbey have their hands in this, with Ramsey presenting an amendment that cleverly excludes naming Pigeon Forge while forcing another vote, despite it’s recent defeat.  So much for the will of the people.

By Eric Holcombe

Hunting down the illegal Pigeon Forge liquor-by-the-drink 2012 referendum legislation isn’t easy. That’s because no one wants to own up to it. You won’t find a bill with Pigeon Forge in the title, but that isn’t unusual for liquor bills. It is quite customary to describe localities by their census population in the bill language without ever naming the locality in these bills. It also isn’t unusual for another legislator outside the district to sponsor these bills, because the local boys want to sell you on “family values and Sunday school” and let someone else get the liquor bill passed while they can “vote against it”.  Some bills are forthright in declaring their referendum intentions, like HB1086 allowing a referendum for Goodlettsville. Not so for the illegal Pigeon Forge 2012 referendum bill. It required deception, keeping the other legislators unaware that Pigeon Forge had already conducted two referendums – in 2009 and 2011 and that another referendum shouldn’t be allowed on the ballot before spring of 2013 at the earliest. It also required resurrecting a bill from the previous year and amending it to “rewrite the bill”.  It required getting legislators outside the district to sponsor the bills in the House and Senate. We know that both Representative Richard Montgomery and Senator Doug Overbey have denied any connection to the bills. Even Jess Davis’ press release found in the Pigeon Forge City Commission minutes from February 13, 2012 warned us of the collusion of city leaders, legislators and wanna-be liquor sellers, including the recruitment of legislators outside the district to run the legislation, naming only Representative Ryan Haynes in the letter – who allegedly gave his word to Doug Sager “that it is dead, and he will not be introducing it again”. Richard Montgomery allegedly gave pastors and leaders “his word that he has stopped it in the House, and that he will not allow the voter’s voice to be overruled and that he will find a way to thwart any further attempts.”  Remember that date, February 13, 2012. These promises would have been made before that date.

HB1171 is the tool that was used to force a new referendum on Pigeon Forge in November of 2012. The House bill was sponsored by Rep. Ryan Haynes. The companion Senate bill (SB1038) was sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron. Didn’t know Pigeon Forge elected them did you? Now reading the description of the bill doesn’t indicate any connection to Pigeon Forge because it mentions only Robertson and Monroe Counties. You have to look at the amendments. In the House version, see Amendment #1. Who sponsored the amendment? Why Bob Ramsey in the House and Ken Yager in the Senate. What? You mean Pigeon Forge didn’t vote for them either? Even this amendment doesn’t mention Pigeon Forge. It was carefully crafted in that Pigeon Forge is the only municipality with a Tourism Development Zone that has not passed liquor by the drink. Jess Davis was incorrect in the assertion that a special zone was created for Belle Island (though that may have been the intent at the time). A special state law was created just for Pigeon Forge and an illegal liquor-by-the-drink referendum. Note the language: “…the county election commission shall place the question on the ballot of the November 2012 general election.”

That doesn’t sound voluntary. So, the state not only usurped its own law forbidding placing a referendum on the ballot within two years, but required the County to place it on the ballot. So much for the “will of the people”.

Well, now you know the players and you know the claims of having nothing to do with it, or promising to kill it, etc. Here’s the problem: the stories don’t add up. You can watch the archived video proceedings on both bills, and I would encourage you to do so. You can start with Ryan Haynes’ presentation before the State & Local Government Sub-Committee on February 22, 2012 (note the date). He misrepresents the bill as authorizing Pigeon Forge to hold a referendum “if they so choose”.  I guess he forgot about Doug Sager pretty fast. Then it moves to the full committee of State and Local Government with no discussion on March 6, 2012. Next, Chairman Bill Dunn gives Haynes a jab at his numerous alcohol bills from outside his district in the Calendar and Rules committee on March 15, 2012. This happens after the bill following HB1171. This is the final committee to pass before a final House floor vote. Here is that House floor video and you can watch as Rep. Bob Ramsey reads the Amendments to the bill. You’ll see Haynes afterward state that this bill as amended “allows Pigeon Forge” to hold another referendum for liquor by the drink. Richard Montgomery made no objections here, and in fact voted for the bill. As the bill worked its way through the Senate, the House version was adopted, but a third amendment was added for Tellico West Conference Center to sell liquor by the drink and the House had to consider the bill again to include this third amendment and pass the same bill that the Senate had passed. Here is that video, and this time Haynes gets some flack from Representative Holt asking how long he has represented Monroe County. Again, not a peep from Montgomery and he voted for the bill again. Montgomery had said he supported referendums because the people could choose, but he also knows this referendum would be too early, contrary to state law.

On the Senate side, Sen. Bill Ketron begins in the State & Local Government committee on April 12, 2012 and states the bill “authorizes Pigeon Forge to conduct a referendum for liquor by the drink”. He gets some questions from Sen. Lowe Finney asking has Pigeon Forge communicated to him that is what they want to do. Sen. Ketron responds “that is correct”, and “they” wanted to put this item on the ballot for the November election.  Finney counters with a clarification that Pigeon Forge already had held a referendum or cancelled it. Ketron admits they already defeated liquor by the drink and stumbles around pushing the idea that “everyone” could vote on it in November. Not “everyone” is able to vote in the spring I guess.

Some questions: who communicated this to Bill Ketron? Why would residents of Pigeon Forge contact Bill Ketron and Ryan Haynes instead of Doug Overbey or Richard Montgomery? They both voted in approval of the bills, so obviously there was no objection to the idea.

Remember, Overbey and Montgomery claimed to have no involvement with this bill – especially Doug Overbey in the Republican primary debate.

Next up is the Finance Ways & Means Committee on April 17, 2012. Sen. Ketron gets questioned by Sen. Jim Kyle on why he is representing Pigeon Forge outside his district and asks does this bill have the support of the local county commission and local legislators. Ketron claims to have a letter from the City Manager of Pigeon Forge and also Mayor David Wear stating such. Note that this bill vote gets carried over to the next day, but is approved with no objections. Note that Doug Overbey was present, voiced no objection and voted in approval of the bill.

Some questions: Why would the City Manager or Mayor David Wear write a letter to Senator Bill Ketron instead of their Senator Doug Overbey? Obviously Sen. Overbey voted in approval of the bill so he is not opposed to it. Did they also write a letter to Ryan Haynes? Richard Montgomery? Bob Ramsey, Ken Yager? Might be interesting to get a copy of that letter.

The Senate floor vote took place on April 25, 2012. The House bill substitution is made and Sen. Yager has to withdraw the Senate amendments #1 and #2 because they are already in the House bill. Amendment #3 for Tellico West Conference Center is read and adopted into the bill. The subject of the actual bill is never stated as having anything to do with Pigeon Forge. Once again, Doug Overbey was present, voiced no objection and voted in approval of the bill.

What do we know? We know there was a state law created to force the County Election Commission to put a Pigeon Forge liquor-by-the-drink referendum on the November 2012 ballot. Jess Davis’ information was not correct (or a bunch of people are liars – you decide). Not only did Ryan Haynes continue to sponsor and carry a Pigeon Forge liquor bill all the way to the House floor, but both Sen. Overbey and Rep. Montgomery voted in approval. Neither  Rep. Montgomery nor Sen. Overbey made efforts to object to the bills. Apparently Pigeon Forge City Manager and Mayor David Wear sent a letter to Sen. Bill Ketron asking for the illegal 2012 referendum legislation. For some reason this was deemed necessary even though (obviously by their votes) Sen. Overbey and Rep. Montgomery had no objection to the bills.

The Mountain Press printed a story on February 5, 2012 related to this story. They have shelved it, but you can still see a cached version here. Note that at that time Haynes’ bill was claimed as “off notice” but also couldn’t be located (a scoop on a mystery bill yet to be filed?). But if we look at HB1171 bill history, we see that this is an old bill from 2011 and the sponsor changed on January 11. This bill was off-notice at the time but on February 8th, Haynes reintroduced it after the article. Keep in mind Jess Davis’ release in February. Which bill did Haynes promise to drop? Which bill did Montgomery promise was dead? In this story the bill is also sold as being for all Tourism Development Zones statewide, and it just happens to include Pigeon Forge so Richard Montgomery was against it and told Haynes he could not support it. Richard is also quoted in that article as saying: “This was sort of aimed at Pigeon Forge, it’s my understanding,” Montgomery said. Ryan told me one of his constituents asked for it, but he didn’t give me a name.”

So is it one of Ryan’s constituents that asked, or was it a letter from the City Manager and Mayor Wear? Why did Richard change his mind and fully support the bill after it was explicitly changed to ONLY apply to Pigeon Forge? Is it because it was a referendum (though he knew it was too early and therefore illegal)?

Then there are the statements by the mayor:

Mayor David Wear said he wasn’t aware of any action on the part of city leaders to ask for Haynes to introduce the bill .

“I actually had no idea a bill like that was introduced,” Wear said. “Of course, we had heard talk that something like that might happen, but no one informed me it had.

“The City Commission has nothing to do with that. I can guarantee none of the city officials or staff have been going down to Nashville to lobby for this, or against it, for that matter.”

Like I said, might be interesting to get that letter from Bill Ketron. When was it sent? What talk had Mayor Wear heard?

Then there are the statements from Ken Maples:

Ken Maples, past president of the Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association, said that group “did not sponsor and/or request any bill in Nashville with relation to liquor by the drink.”

Maybe that was true on February 5th  and maybe true for PFHA only. But Ken Maples and the Forging Ahead liquor lobby sure seem interested now, because their advocate is Sen. Doug Overbey’s law firm partner John Owings seeking an audience with Telford Forgety to help him assess the situation of the obvious election fraud.

But I’m sure Doug would say he has nothing to do with it.

Correction: This story was edited to reflect the correct date of the Mountain Press article of February 5, 2012, rather than January 3, 2012.

Early Voter’s Guide – Part 1

Richard Hutchens has started a series of voter guides.

For Those who Live in TN State Rep (District 20)

22 year Career Politician       Future Stateswoman
           Bob Ramsey          vs.      Tona Monroe

I encourage my fellow Patriots to take a minute to watch the attached video and read the attached Mailer of
Big Government Bob Ramsey’s voting Record

of Raising Taxes and voting to triple his salary when he was on the Blount County Commission.

If this is the kind of government we get when we elect
 “seasoned, experienced”politicians,
then I think it is Past Time to elect citizen representatives,
like you and me who have pay these high taxes.

Post Note from Richard Hutchens

I have known Tona Monroe for four years, and she knows and understands the Constitution more than I do.  She will be a Great, TN State Represenative for Dist 20.
Tona has outlined 9 Principles on her website which I encourage you to study.
Please Forward this to Fellow Patriots in Blount County

Big Government Bob Front                        Big Government Bob Back


Big Government Bob

A 22 Year Career Politician
with a Record of Wasteful Spending & Tax Increases

As County Commissioner, Big Government Bob Ramsey voted:

  • to Triple his Pay (from $300 to $900 per month pages 6-7)
  • to Quadruple the County Debt;
    • $506 Debt Per Capita when Bob took office in 1990 (page 3)
    • $2,038 Debt Per Capita when Bob resigned from the Commission in 2008 (page 84)
  • for 11 Tax Increases, including 10 Property Tax Increases
  • against a Senior Property Tax Freeze (page 5) after sponsoring a resolution in support of it (page 75).

Big Government Bob as State Representative:

A lobbyist used Big Government Bob’s Nashville computer to send an email.  Bob Ramsey must be cozy with the special interests for this to happen.

Big Government Bob has taken $13,050 in Dental PAC money.  In 2009, 3 of the 5 bills he sponsored were for the benefit of dentists.  Take a look at all the dentists that donated to Big Government Bob in the 2nd quarter of this year.  Notice how few local people actually donate to Bob Ramsey.  What’s he done to help you during these difficult economic times?  Nothing, unless you’re a dentist!

We are facing serious economic times that require careful and thorough analysis of government spending.  Instead of being meticulous with your tax dollars by thoroughly examining the State budget, Big Government Bob is spending his time collecting donations from PACs and dentists and sponsoring bills for them, while slothfully voting to let the State spend $250 million more than its projected increase in revenue.

Is Big Government Bob too lazy to do the work needed to stop wasteful spending in Nashville?  Or, is he in too thick with the good ol’ boys to care?  In any case, 22 years of this career politician are enough.  You deserve better!

Bob and Doug or Mickey and Donald?

Tennesseans can sleep better knowing that the limited duo Bob Ramsey and Doug Overbey are keeping the roads safe from short people.

The only debate on the Senate floor came when Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, asked Overbey how the law would apply to “a person doesn’t have any feet” after amputation or a “small person.”

“Frankly, that question has not come up,” replied Overbey, who went on to suggest that “we can expect law enforcement to use good common sense in the exercise of this enforcement.”

Oh yeah, we can always trust prosecutors to do the right thing.  I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that diabetic amputees won’t be maliciously prosecuted because Overbey says they won’t.

Seriously, Blount Countians should consider sending Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck as replacements for the limited duo, Bob and Doug.  At least Mickey and Donald would be entertaining.


From the LA Times

The TSA’s 25 “viper” teams — for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response — have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year.

Read the rest of the article here.

Where’s the outrage?

About this time last year people were upset about the TSA and had a refuse to be groped at airports day (Opt-Out Day), which accomplished nothing and the outrage fizzled out.  Now the TSA has gone further and is coming to other forms of transportation near you.  That’s right, look for the TSA on a transit system near you.

I need to clarify what I said, in this video, about the federal and State governments working together.  The State has general police power, while the federal government is charged with providing for the common defense of the nation.  Each should fulfill their duties, and the two should not be fused into one entity.

Earlier this year I contacted my State Representative Bob Ramsey and expressed my disgust for the VIPR program on TN Roads and Greyhound Bus Stations.  He wrote the The Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security and got a very similar response to the one that I received.  Here is what I received from Rep. Bob Ramsey and below that is my request for more answers, because the The Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security response raised more questions than it answered.

On 11/4/2011 11:48 AM, Bob Ramsey wrote:

This is what I was answered by the Department

“In response to your email message sent to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, I wanted to clarify and correct the misinformation being reported about the joint federal-state VIPR operation that took place in Tennessee on October 18. During the four-hour, one-time VIPR operation, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and local law enforcement officers did randomly inspect semi-tractor trailers at five weigh stations on interstates throughout Tennessee. The inspections were made at the weigh stations and only on the cargo inside the trailers of the trucks, which are mandated to stop at the scale complexes to be weighed. Under Tennessee law, law enforcement officers have the authority to randomly inspect cargo at weigh stations. The TSA was on hand for this operation, but did not participate in the inspections. The TSA was present for the educational phase of this operation. TSA officials distributed information to truck drivers about the “First Observer” program in which truck drivers are encouraged to report any suspicious activity they see while driving across the country. The TSA did conduct security checks on individuals boarding Greyhound busses in Knoxville and Nashville, but they have the authority to conduct such inspections, as they do at airports. No vehicles were ever pulled over during this operation, as many news stories incorrectly reported. The purpose of the VIPR operation was to detect and deter criminal activity on Tennessee’s roadways and educate professional truck drivers to look for and report suspicious activity to help protect citizens and critical infrastructure across the country. While Tennessee is the first state to conduct a VIPR operation on this large of a scale (simultaneously at seven locations), Tennessee is not the first state to ever conduct a joint federal-state VIPR operation. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security participates in such operations to protect our citizens and visitors to our state.”

Hello Bob,
I got a similar response that was not quite as lengthy.  There are several questions that still need to be answered.

Why under TCA, can cargo be randomly inspected?  I understand specific inspections that meet potential crime descriptions, but why are random inspections allowed?

What were authorities looking for in the VIRP operation?  Was anything harmful found?  If not, how can random inspections be justified?  This law needs to be changed.

Tennessee is not a border State.  I can understand having customs inspections at the border, but not random inspections of goods that have already crossed the border or may have always been in the USA to begin with.

Furthermore, are private citizens subject to random inspections under a similar provision in TCA?  If so, why?  Repeal it, if so.  If not, why random inspections of trucks and not other vehicles?  Are passenger vans which can hold larger loads than cars subject to random inspection?  What about moving trucks?  Where is the line drawn in what vehicles contents can be randomly searched?

Can said persons driving these vehicles be searched?  If not, why can the contents of semi-tractor trailers be searched but not the persons driving these randomly searched semi’s?

If the TN Highway Patrol already has authority to conduct these random searches, why have the TSA involved?  What is deficient in the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s efforts that warrants federal involvement?

Why are people boarding Greyhound buses subject to security checks?  Was there any suspicious activity reported that would deem these searches necessary?  Why is it necessary to have such searches performed by the TSA rather than State officials?  Did any of these searches violate 4th amendment rights of those searched?  Have there been any terrorist activities on buses in Tennessee?  How can the Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security justify searches of people taking a bus, when they aren’t in physical control of the vehicle, when those driving their own vehicles are in physical control of their vehicles, and tell us that no cars were stopped?  Wouldn’t a smart terrorist realize that it would be easier to take a car, rather than be inspected before boarding a bus?

If, “The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security participates in such operations to protect our citizens and visitors to our state,” then ask the TN Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security to prove that we are safer because of these inspections.

Are you willing to change State law to ensure that the 4th amendment is not violated?  Are you willing to stop the VIPR program, if there is no proven benefit?

In conclusion, telling us that Tennessee is not the first State to do this does not justify doing it.

I await your response,

It’s time to get rid of the TSA and the only Presidential candidate with a plan to do that is Ron Paul.

Read about one of Ron Paul’s bills here.

Click on the categories Police State, Privacy, and Tennessee Fusion Center for more information on VIRP.