Tag Archive | Senator Doug Overbey

Senator Overbey’s Canned Response on Sales Tax on Gold and Silver Bullion

Here is my email to Senator Overbey:

Senator Overbey,
SB0301 removes the State sales tax from gold and silver coin.  This is not only a good idea, it’s a constitutional one.  The Constituiton makes gold and silver coin mandatory for payments, but this isn’t happening.  The medium of exchange for payment of debts should not be taxed.

Support this bill.

Here is Senator Overbey’s response:

Thank you for your thoughtful email. You make several good points which I will bear in mind as this bill works its way through the legislative process. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts and views with me.

Senator Doug Overbey

306 War Memorial Building
Nashville, TN  37243-0208
615/741-0981 — phone
615/253-0224 — fax
800/449-TENN; ext. 10981

A friend of mine wrote Overbey on this bill and asked him to cosponsor the bill.  He didn’t address the merits of it.  He got the same canned response, even though he didn’t make “good points”.

State Gov’t Legislative Update March 15, 2013

3 Minute Truth Update March 8, 2013
Listen to the update here:

On Wednesday, Tennessee House Bill 42 dealing with federal intrusion on gun ownership was defeated by the State House Civil Justice Subcommittee.  This is the second defeat at attempts to reign in federal government regulations on guns after Senator Mae Beavers bill 250 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee is set to hear HB10 another gun bill, which prohibits state and local funds from being expended to implement federal gun laws but allows state and local government officials to assist the federal government in federal gun regulations, if the federal government pays for the regulations.

Senator Beavers has placed her Senate Bill 227 in the general sub of the Judiciary.  General sub is where bills are placed when Senators aren’t going to proceed with their bills. This bill put a limit on the length of the service of the Grand Jury Foreperson.  Beaver’s office said she didn’t have the votes to pass the bill this year.  Blount County Senator Doug Overbey the Vice Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee told this reporter that after talking with those whose opinions he values, he believes the system is working well as it is and that the Grand Jury doesn’t need to be reformed.  Senator Overbey’s number is (615) 741-0981.  Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey stripped Beavers of her Chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee and made attorney Brian Kelsey the Chairman and attorney Doug Overbey Vice Chairman earlier this year.

Utility Bill HB1186 allowing for a referendum on fluoridation of water and HB373 allowing customers to opt-out of smart meters are scheduled to be heard on Tuesday by the Business and Utilities Subcommittee in the House.  The fluoridation bill HB1186 has been flagged by the Governor, which means he is philosophically opposed to it.  Blount County Representative Art Swann chairs the Business and Utilities Subcommittee.  His number is (615) 741-5481.

HB1078 which stops civil asset forfeiture without a warrant prior to seizure is scheduled to be heard by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday the 19th.  This bill is in response to policing for profit, where police seize assets they claim are being used in the commission of a crime, leaving it up to the property owner to prove otherwise.  The current law and practice allows police to seize your property without due process.  HB1078 currently has 10 cosponsors.

This is Tona Monroe with Blount County Public Record.  I am delighted to bring you these weekly State legislative updates and thank Truth Radio for the opportunity.  For more information on these bills visit www.bcpublicrecord.com.

Letter to Business and Utilities Chairman Art Swann on Fluoridation Referendum Bill HB1186

Dear Chairman Swann,
As a Blount Countian, I feel as though I have little to no representation in Nashville.  I have thought that you were better than Bob Ramsey and Doug Overbey who are dyed in the wool career politicians and because you are a small business owner and understand that red tape kills small businesses.

Doug Overbey use to respond to my emails when he was a Representative but as soon as he because a Senator his head became to big to respond other than once in a blue moon.  Big Government Bob Ramsey is pathetic.  He rarely responds and when he does, a elementary school kid could write a better response.  3 Representatives have joked or said very sharp things about Ramsey when I’ve had conversations with them about how he is so wishy washy and doesn’t take a stand on anything useful.  Harwell loves him, but those with principles don’t.  She’s a hypocrite, going around talking about how bad fluoride is, then donating the maximum allowable limit by law to ensure that the dentist is strongly for forcing us to have fluoridation is reelected.  Even the former Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the Blount County Republican Party in separate conversations told me that Bob is lazy.  The people of Blount County can’t depend on Bob or Doug to assist them on anything.

I did believe that you were different, but I am not so sure anymore.  Your failure to cosponsor HB1186 when a constituent of yours asked you to, when the bill doesn’t require you to take a position on fluoride is absurd.  You know that utilities deserve stricter scrutiny than regular businesses because they are given government granted monopolies.  All HB1186 does is let the people have a voice where they have none with unelected boards that are so closed looped that they get to choose the nominees for the mayor to make his appointment from.

This isn’t even a difficult bill.  It just says the people can decide if they wish to continue being poisoned.  It’s a sad day for Blount County and Tennesseans when their legislators resist them against simple bills like this.  It doesn’t commit the State to spend anything and it doesn’t commit you to having to take a stand.  It passes the buck to the people, where it rightfully belongs.

Stand for freedom.  Don’t be Bob or Doug.  Blount County deserves at least one elected official who stands for something beyond the status quo in Nashville.

Vote for HB1186 and encourage your Committee members to support it as well.

Also, vote for HB373.  So as not to write a treatise, I’ll give you one good reason to vote for it.  I want you to.  I have the right to determine what is on my house and what isn’t and I don’t want a smart meter.  You were elected by the people, not the utility companies.  Support the smart meter bill because the people deserve to choose whether they want one of these contraptions or not.  I don’t and that’s all this bill does is says I don’t have to have one.

Both of these bills are necessary because of unaccountable utilities created by governments who set them up with very little accountability.  It’s time to demand some accountability to the customers.

Let freedom ring!

Bill to Limit Grand Jury Foreperson Length Filed

In the past I’ve written about the problems that exist within the Grand Juries of Tennessee and I spoke to Senator Mae Beavers about some of those problems.  She apparently listened, at least partially.


One problem is the length of time that a foreperson can serve, which is basically until the person dies if the Circuit Court Judge chooses.  While this bill doesn’t address the appointment process, it is a step in the right direction.  I do believe the 4 year time frame should be limited to a 2 years, because you should have the opportunity to go back to a different Grand Jury Foreperson before the statute of limitations runs out on crimes, but at least this bill stops the same person from serving for 20+ years as we have seen in several Counties.


This bill isn’t before a Committee yet, but when it is we need to support it.  Unfortunately, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey recently stripped Senator Mae Beavers from her Chairmanship on the the Senate Judiciary Committee and turned the leadership of the Committee over to attorneys, which is not good.

As far as I have seen Mae Beavers in action she ran a fair Committee, allowing all sides to state their positions even if she disagreed with them.  That has not been the case with Senator Kelsey.  When I watched him Chair a hearing, he cut the opposition off and ram-rodded the bill through making the hearing a dog and pony show.  When I spoke to Doug Overbey about Grand Jury problems, he was happy with the status quo.  Thus, I do not believe the change in leadership to be a good thing.

I’ll try to keep everyone informed when this bill is before Committees but if I don’t and you see it up for a hearing, please let me know and contact the members of the Committee urging their support.

Personal Message Re-‘Smart Meters’/’Smart Grid’

Dear Fellow Citizens and Elected Public Servants,
Please read and prayerfully assess the account below regarding a mother who resisted installation of a ‘Smart Meter’ because she was concerned for the health of her children.
GLOBAL Governance via AGENDA 21 fully intends to install the privacy invasive surveillance devices on every home. These meters can be readily enhanced for further invasion of one’s privacy. It is beyond reasonable to presume they only want to save YOU money on your electric bill.
Some individuals are hypersensitive to electromagnetic and radio-wave frequency energy and are experiencing potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and other disturbing adverse reactions since the installation of the ‘Smart Meter’ on their home. DENIAL by the power supplier does NOT make such adverse effects go away.
BIG Tobacco denied ill health effects of smoking for many years.
I have been advised by the Tennessee Regulatory Governing Authority Board that local power distributors are not accountable to the governing board and the board has no authority over the electrical entity that is owned and operated by the city. Are citizens not the ultimate owner of such a city-owned power distributor? 
We also have the ‘self-proclaimed conservative’, State Senator Doug Overbey who represents the local power provider as legal counsel. 
Have we a CONFLICT of INTEREST issue? 
Since the meters were not federally mandated, permission to install was not asked for or given, and full disclosure regarding potential health risks was not provided, I ask that you please use your influence to insure that an OPT-OUT is possible for those who want to have an Analog Meter due to their adverse health effects.
One should have the right to live with peace of mind regarding personal health and that of loved ones within their own home.
Barbara M. (Susie) Bowman-retired R.N.
Alcoa, TN

Woman Arrested While Refusing Smart Meter Installation on Her Property Tells Us Her Story

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.

A New Direction Alright: Lawyers to Rule Judiciary Committee

Senator Mae Beavers was stripped of her Chairmanship on the Judiciary Committee.

On the decision to remove Beavers from the Chairmanship, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey said that Beavers has not always been a “team player” and “we wanted to take a different direction.”

Empty explanation here.

A new direction alright, a direction where attorneys control the Committee.  Attorney Brian Kelsey was appointed Chairman and Attorney Doug Overbey was appointed Vice Chairman.

Wonder who that “we” is in the new direction?  Lawyers and Judges?  Now that’s a great direction.  I guess “we” really are in for new direction in Tennessee, like Judicial selection/retention.  Oh wait we already have that.

It’s Brian Kelsey who is pushing for the Constitutional amendment to make that legal and Doug Overbey who said not to use the Constitution on that issue, reported here first.  Good ole boys who wish to make it legal to do what they’re already doing illegally.  What a great new direction.

The people voted the last attempt to legalize judicial selection/retention down.  It looks like the Republicans want their turn at defeat as well.  Schizophrenia here “we” come.

Doug Overbey Appointed Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee



Next thing you know Ron Ramsey will appoint Newt Gingrich Sergeant-at-Arms of the Ethics Committee.

It’s a position that no one wants because there’s very little power and no one is more suited for it than James Douglas Overbey.  Doug Overbey, Blount Counties Permanent Latrine Orderly (PLO).

Conservative Republicans™ Carr, Farmer and Overbey want to increase local taxes except on booze

I have been interested to see what legislation Andrew Farmer would sponsor as a new member of the TN House of Representatives – especially with the new 15-bill limit. Mainly because I believe he will be used, or should I say encouraged, to carry legislation originating by someone else’s doing, say those GOP supporters who were (and still are?) willing to overlook Farmer’s interest in a liquor store contrary to state law for elected office holders.

Here’s the first bill, HB0023. Andrew is a prime co-sponsor with Dale Carr in the House and Doug Overbey has introduced it in the Senate. What does this bill do? Why, it grows government and increases taxes of course! What else would you expect from Conservative Republicans™ who campaigned as if they were running against Barry Sotero and his over-reaching, too big, $16 trillion debt, tax and spend government? We heard about cutting spending, less government interference, family values, etc. and right out of the blocks, a “privilege” tax increase on food and entertainment/amusement.

And guess where the new taxes would apply? I seriously doubt those residents were asking to pay more to go out to eat. I wonder who requested Overbey, Carr and Farmer to raise taxes? Maybe one of Ryan Haynes’ constituents again?

But that’s not all, there’s some interesting language here if you happen to no-longer-own-a-liquor-store-and-sold-it-to-your-wife-so-you-have-no-connection-to-it-whatsoever-now:

“In addition such tax shall not apply to the sale of alcoholic beverages in any form, manner, time or place.

Seems strange the constituents would ask their representatives to raise taxes on all amusement, food and drink – except alcohol – especially since the community is against it and has voted it down in three referendums now. I am also guessing that there would be a claim of no conflict of interest in proposing and voting for a tax increase for everyone but myself…..uh I mean my wife…..whom I have no indirect interest in…..or something.

Conservative Republicans™ like to quote their idol Reagan when it comes to the 11th commandment, but they neglect the weightier matters: his teachings on taxes. If you want less of something, tax it. Keep at it and you will have that tourist trap you always wanted. I will be exercising my “privilege” to spend my money elsewhere on food instead of taxes.

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.

Doug Overbey and Pigeon Forge liquor

By Eric Holcombe:

Former Knox County Law Director John Owings surprisingly showed up at last week’s depositions.” Owings, now in private practice, told Howard he represented Forging Ahead, a pro-liquor advocacy group, which is not a party in the lawsuit.

Owings, who was law director on Knox County’s controversial “Black Wednesday” in 2007 that involved Open Meetings Act violations, is special counsel at the Knoxville firm of Robertson, Overbey, Wilson and Beeler.

State Sen. Doug Overbey, whose 2nd District encompasses parts of Sevier County, is a partner in that law firm. He has repeatedly denied any involvement in Pigeon Forge’s liquor politics.”

Doug Overbey claimed in a state Senate primary debate with Scott Hughes that he had nothing to do with getting Pigeon Forge liquor by the drink (LBD) back on the ballot again (earlier than it should have legally – state law is two years) or involvement with other representatives to bring this before the state legislature. At one of his debates with Scott Hughes, both were given the opportunity at the end of the debate to ask any question directly of his opponent. Scott paused and asked Doug if he had anything to do with getting the Pigeon Forge LBD referendum legislation passed in Nashville or getting it back on the ballot early. Doug completely denied it.

I think these City of Pigeon Forge commission meeting minutes from February may have been the source of Scott’s question. See the press release at the end. Somebody knows who was asked to get this issue on the ballot. They know authority figures that are aware and participated and are giving them an opportunity to do the right thing (which has yet to happen). Montgomery and Overbey didn’t want to be associated with bringing this back, so other representatives in the house and senate had to run bills or allow amendments to their bills for this to take place. At one time it was Ryan Haynes and he received some public pressure to drop it. There are a number of legislative prostitutes in Nashville who have done the dirty work for representatives in the past. Kind of like “ghost voting”, they take care of their own.

At any rate, we now have Doug Overbey’s business partner John Owings inserting himself as an advocate for a liquor lobby, Forging Ahead, in the midst of depositions for this lawsuit. Recent reports now claim that Owings has requested to appear before Chancellor Telford Forgety to “assist the court in consideration of this matter”.  I am not sure why a liquor lobby needs to assist Forgety in voiding a ballot initiative where illegitimate voters participated. I assume Doug would still claim no involvement, but it sure seems like this liquor lobby formed awfully fast. I wonder if any of those “1%-owners-of-bankrupt-Belle-Island-just-in-time-for-the-referendum-and-then-sell-it-back” folks are part of the lobby? This lawsuit may have opened some cans of worms that weren’t expected.

On another Sevier county liquor front, I have been watching to see if Andrew Farmer sells his liquor store in Gatlinburg. It is against state law for a liquor store owner or someone that has any direct or indirect interest in a liquor store to hold public office.  Apparently, listing that in your candidate disclosure wasn’t enough to attract the attention of the TNGOP. Overbey, Montgomery, Harwell and the status quo in Sevier County endorsed Farmer and in the case of Harwell and to a much lesser extent, Haynes, donated a lot of money to him. The local newspapers ignored this liquor store ownership during the election cycle. It was brought up in multiple debates they attended and was rather embarrassing for Farmer who was trying to sell local boy family values and Sunday school attendance, but for some reason it wasn’t newsworthy.

TCA section 57-3-210 is a problem for public office holders having a connection to liquor wholesale/retail sales. The damning text: “No wholesaler’s or retailer’s license shall be issued to a person who is a holder of a public office, either appointive or elective, or who is a public employee, either national, state, city or county. It is unlawful for any such person to have any interest in such wholesale or retail business, directly or indirectly, either proprietary or by means of any loan, mortgage, or lien, or to participate in the profits of any such business“.

This law is why Andrew had to sell the business before taking office. He “sold” the liquor store to his wife – that he just married this summer. This apparently is an attempt to satisfy this law.

Here is the link to the October 26 meeting agenda for the Alcoholic Beverage Commission. See item #3. Here are the meeting minutes where it passed. See item #2. Andrew created a new corporation in September called AMCH Inc. at the same address as the former liquor store owner (A E Farmer Inc. at his law office address) and he is the agent of this company also. Note that this change occurred after the Republican primary when his ownership of the liquor store was brought to light. The ABC minutes indicate that his wife has purchased the business from him as AMCH Inc. They were just married this summer during the primary campaign. “Here honey, sign this paper….”

So, Andrew created a new corporation, “sold” the liquor store to his wife, and now apparently will claim no indirect interest in a liquor store that is owned by his wife. The ABC may appear o.k. because they didn’t issue a liquor license to a public office holder – however they did transfer it to his wife, knowing he was a candidate for public office whom had already won the primary election. I don’t believe Andrew can claim he has no indirect interest in the liquor business, but he can claim he does not hold a retail liquor license. So, Harwell, Overbey, Montgomery, Haynes, et al got their lawyer liquor store owner in. As the state Republicans like to crow “it matters who leads”…

Senator Overbey’s TNInvestco Unaccountable Flop

Senator Doug Overbey touted his job creation efforts during his reelection campaign this year by saying that the TN Investco program has created jobs.  The latest review shows it to be largely unaccountable and a big flop at creating jobs.  The Beacon Center of Tennessee is calling for it to be shut down.

$200 million is a large sum of money, particularly when estimates show only 752 jobs created at a cost of $140,000 per job.  However, that number may not be accurate because auditors don’t know exactly how many jobs have been created.

Reported in the Times Free Press:

The audit found “pervasive noncompliance with program requirements,” which increased the “risk of fraud, waste and abuse,” as well as “increasing the risk that the state may be liable for unauthorized services.”

This kind of agency/program is ripe for abuse and is nothing more than fascism.  Government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.  Let the free market work.  Tax incentives should be given to all and capital should only be obtained if people are willing to finance it.

It’s ashamed that challenger Scott Hughes didn’t offer something besides, I am more conservative than Overbey.  Tea Partiers across the State went gaga over Hughes, who offered nothing in the way of reigning in out of control government, and wasted almost all their efforts on the Hughes Overbey race.  This was a poor choice to focus efforts on, when the sizable sum of money that Overbey has and continues to raise is considered.

The other race that Tea Partiers focused on was the Maggart Rogers race, but I don’t consider the Rogers win a Tea Party success.  Rogers success came largely from the gun groups throwing big bucks into that race.  There are good people within the Tea Party groups, but the overall efforts in supporting and electing good legislators have resulted in mostly failures or no effort at all.  Thus far, Tennessee Tea Partiers have put little money behind their saber rattling.

Doug Overbey’s Position on Judges is Schizophrenic

Blount County (BC) Public Record was the first news source to publish Doug Overbey telling Senators to not base their vote for the election of Judges on the Tennessee Constitution.  Tea Party and Liberty Groups and a Conservative PAC went viral with this story after I posted it last year, but never mention that I was the first to bring this story to light.  Stacey Campfield posted the Senate hearing on the election of Judges on his blog and I was disgusted when I heard Overbey be so flagrant in trashing his oath of office.

Proposed Judical Ethics Reform would have prohibited Judges from financially contributing to popularly elected offices.  However, the Tennessee Supreme Court quietly removed that.

Doug Overbey has opposed following the State Constitution because he believes that money will have an influence on the judicial races, or so he says.  But what about Judges contributing to legislative races?

Overbey has received donations from 3 Appeals or Supreme Court Judges.  The Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, Cornelia Clark, donated $200.  Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Charles Susano donated $500 and Judge Michael Swiney, also a Court of Appeals Judge, donated $125.  Judge Swiney’s wife donated $125, for a total of $250 donated from donated from the Swiney household.

There may be more.  I haven’t had time to review all of his donations.

This raises an important question.  Why is a bad idea to allow money to be donated to Judges, but not a bad idea to allow Judges to donate to non-judicial races?

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.

The TSA is Expanding Beyond Airports

There is no greater example of waste and tyranny, from the federal government, than the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  The Washington Times reported on Oct. 26, 2011, that the TSA has failed to catch a single terrorist suspect.  Despite having a success rate of zero percent, the TSA is expanding it’s failed policies beyond airports.

Last October, the TSA was simultaneously present in Tennessee at 5 weigh stations and 2 Greyhound bus stations for a Visible Intermodal Prevention Response (VIPR pronounced viper) operation.  According to Jennifer Donnals, Communications Director of the Tennessee Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security, only the cargo was randomly inspected at the weight stations and the TSA didn’t actively participate in the inspections but, “The TSA was present for the educational phase of this operation.”  She further stated that the TSA did conduct “security checks on individuals boarding Greyhound buses,” but alarmingly justified it by saying the TSA “ha(s) the authority to conduct such inspections, as they do at airports.”

The stated purpose was crime detection and prevention, but the Los Angeles Times reported in December that the TSA admits that it has no proof that it’s roving VIPR teams are successful.  Donnals’ response states that Tennessee is not the first state to conduct a joint federal-state VIPR operation, but the October operation was the largest to date.

On multiple occasions, I have instructed my State legislators to stop the federal government from fusing with State and local law enforcement.  Senator Doug Overbey never responded to any communication.  Representative Bob Ramsey responded by forwarding me Donnals’ response, which is the same response I received when I contacted the Dept. directly.

I composed a list of questions based on the response of the Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security, and sent them to my State legislators.  Primarily I wanted to know what they were going to do to stop the unreasonable searches and also inquired why State law allows random inspections, what is deficient in our State law enforcement which warrants fusing with the TSA and if there’s any proven benefit to these roving random search operations.  The list of questions can be viewed here.

Additionally, I asked Rep. Ramsey to sponsor legislation to stop the TSA from teaming with the Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security.  His response was, “I can only hope that TDOT can help.”  Sadly, I am left to wonder if Rep. Ramsey even realizes that TDOT is a separate agency from the Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security, which is the agency that coordinated with the TSA to conduct the random inspections.

The 4th amendment to the US Constitution is clear, but agents in all levels of government don’t care.    The TSA conducted 9,300 roving random checkpoints in 2011, with 25 VIPR teams.   Now this failed agency is asking Congress for an additional $24 million to add another dozen roving teams to grope you at bus stations.  You will no longer be able to avoid the TSA by choosing not to fly.

There are two solutions.  The first is to put your state and local elected officials feet to the fire by instructing them to stop taking federal grant money, to stop fusing with the TSA and to stop violating the 4th amendment.  The other is to vote for Ron Paul for President in the March 6, 2012 Republican Presidential primary because he has proposed abolishing the TSA.

Senator Overbey Violates Oath of Office: Tells Judicial Committee not to Vote Based on Constitution

On Tuesday, Senator Stacey Campfield’s bill SB0127 to restore popular election, as required by Article VI Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution, was heard and debated by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The good news, it passed 5-4 with an unusual tie breaking vote cast by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey.

The bad news, Senator Doug Overbey violated his oath of office and told the Senate Judiciary Committee not to use the State Constitution as a means for voting to restore a constitutional requirement.

Listen to the discussion here:

Senator Overbey’s egregious remark begins at about the 10 minute mark, “You should only vote for this bill if you think direct election is the best policy.  Period.  If you think it’s the best policy then vote for it, but don’t use the Constitution as a means for voting for it.”

Here is my email to Senator Overbey, as he is suppose to “represent” me.

Dear Senator Overbey,

Article VI Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution states: The judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state.

This sentence is so clear that a blind man could read it.  You took an oath to the Tennessee Constitution, but you clearly violated it on Tuesday with your vote against restoring the election of Supreme Court Judges.

Since you are in violation of your oath of office, you have two options: resign since you have no intention of honoring your oath of office, or repent and vote for this bill when it comes before you again.

Those are the only honorable things to do.  Otherwise you lied to the people of your district and ultimately to all Tennesseans and you should be ashamed of your unfaithfulness to the Constitution.

Let freedom ring!


Local Solution to Systemic Grand Jury Foreperson Appointment Problem in Tennessee

Rule 6(g)(1) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure allows The judge of the court authorized by law to charge–and receive the report of–the grand jury to appoint the Grand Jury foreperson.  Rule 6 specifies that the term of the appointment is two years, unless dismissed by the Judge, but does not specify a limit to the number of terms that the foreperson can be appointed.  The other 12 members of the Grand Jury are ineligible to serve on another jury for two years after their service on the Grand Jury.

Allowing the Judge to appoint the Grand Jury Foreperson may render ineffective one or more of the important duties of the Grand Jury, which are defined in Rule 6 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.  Grand Juries are supposed to be free and independent to investigate the actions of state and local public officials, and to examine the condition of the County treasury.  While it’s possible for any Grand Jury member to initiate investigations into any criminal matter, many simply don’t know that they can look into matters without the direction of the District Attorney.   Thus, it’s not likely that Grand Jury members understand the full range of their duties and the 12 that don’t serve as the foreperson are poorly paid and generally looking to go home as soon as possible to tend to their own affairs, as most don’t want to participate and are only present because they have to be.  It’s a sacred role that is poorly understood by most and under used as a result, and even less likely to be used by allowing Judges to pick the foreperson and allow that person to serve indefinitely.

The Judges role in overseeing matters of the Grand Jury and it’s foreperson should be strictly limited to three things: seeing that it’s properly empaneled, administering the oaths to it’s members and appointing a pro tem foreperson who will only oversee the first meeting of the Grand Jury long enough for it to choose it’s foreperson.  Even in the event that the foreperson can or should no longer serve, the Grand Jury should have it’s own appointed pro tempore Grand Jury foreperson to assume the vacant role.

The Foreperson of the Grand Jury is not a popularly elected office; therefore, it should be independent of all other influences and should not be a lifetime appointment or career.  Attorneys already have a monopoly on the judicial branch of government in the State of Tennessee, and have great strength in both the Legislative and Executive branches.  Thus, it’s vital to our Republic that the bulwark of impropriety of government officials provided by the Grand Jury and it’s Foreperson be free and independent from the Judge and DA, and truly be our 4th branch of government.

I have emailed my State Senator Doug Overbey, who is an attorney, about this matter.  He told me that he discussed this matter, with those whose opinions he values, and that they told him the system works fine and doesn’t need to be changed.  When I pointed out that he went to the people that make their living off the system and have no reason to change a system that pays them well, he mearly reiterated that he valued their opinion more than mine.  If you believe that the system does need to be changed, give him a call at (615) 741-0981 or send him an email.

The whole reason we have Juries, whether Grand or trial Petit, is because Judges have historically demonstrated that they can not be trusted.  If all Judges were honest, there would be no need for any type of Jury.  This is why it is a bad idea to let the Judge appoint the Grand Jury foreperson, because the whole point of a Jury is to be a check on the Judge, Prosecutor and government.

There is a very serious problem with the Attorney monopolization of the Judicial branch of government and the closed system it creates.  In Tennessee, with the limited exception of municipal Judges, one must be an attorney to become a Judge.  The Tennessee Constitution specifically states that Judges are to be elected, yet beyond the trial courts the Judges are appointed by the governor, through a recommendation process controlled by attorneys.  The Tennessee constitution authorizes the Supreme Court Judges to pick the State Attorney General.  It’s convenient that the Judges follow the constitution when it suits their power structure, but are willing to violate the State constitution and their oaths of office, when it makes them accountable to the voters.  The Tennessee General Assembly delegates it’s authority to the Supreme Court, by letting those 5 judges propose the rules.  It’s true that the General Assembly retains power to amend the proposed rules, but most of the rules are rubber stamped by the legislature.  The same 5 judges that are appointed, rather than elected, have written Rule 6(g)(1), empowering the Circuit Court Judge handling criminal cases, to appoint the foreperson.  The current Judicial system violates both the state constitution, and the lessons of history, which demonstrate the need for an independent Grand Jury.

All of this is compounded by the fact that in Tennessee the Grand Jury consist of only 13 members and it takes 12 yes votes to obtain an indictment or true bill.  If the foreperson is too close to the Judge or Prosecutor, there is one no vote and all it takes is one other no vote to allow corruption to continue.  The number of Grand Jurors should be expanded to 23 to allow for more votes to obtain the 12 needed for an indictment and to process more complaints without having to empanel two separate Grand Juries.  Expanding the Grand Jury to 23 members would allow for Grand Jury committees to examine more complaints, and in greater detail.  These committees could report to the Grand Jury as a whole with a recommendation and then a vote by all 23 members.

Here are my communications with Tom Hatcher, the Circuit Court Clerk, and his responses.
Inquiry 1          Response 1
Inquiry 2          Response 2
Inquiry 3
          Response 3
Tom Hatcher did not answer my question regarding the next opportunity for public comment on the local rules.
Blount County Grand Jury Statistics for 2006-2010

Information received from the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) on Grand Juries

When there is a problem, it is always wise to have a solution before complaining to those in authority about a problem.  Don’t complain to those who claim to be benefactors yet exercise authority over you, by telling them they need to do something.  They may do something alright, but you may not like what that something is that they do, if you provide no solution.  Always have a well though out solution before approaching those in authority about a problem.

Read my letter to Blount County Circuit Court Judge David Duggan here.

The local solution proposed in my letter is not a permanet fix to the problem, and certainly doesn’t fix the problem in the other 94 counties in Tennessee.  It is up to the citizens of each County to fix the problem at a local level, or come together and fix the problem at a State level, which is the more complete solution.

PK Lowery, of the Tennessee Institute for Responsible Government, and I have been working for reform on this matter at the State level.  PK obtained a House sponsor and I obtained a Senate sponsor, but the House sponsor did not deliver the bill to the Senate sponsor before the filing deadline; therefore, the bill is dead this year.  We will be working to have this bill reintroduced in 2012, and your help is needed to make this happen.  This attorney-Judge stranglehold of government can be broken, if you will get involved.