Has the Legislature done anything to help the citizens this year?
The last session of the Tennessee legislature was the worst in history, even more embarrassing than the state legislature that made it possible for Tennessee citizens to eat the possums that they run over in their car. The bottom feeders list of malfeasance, dereliction, and negligence is lavish.
After making it possible to carry guns everywhere except the Legislative Plaza, they blamed the Chamber of Commerce for the bloodshed and gun massacres in Chattanooga. How can guns be safe in bars and not in the Legislative Plaza? But thanks to these geniuses we have a “state rifle” and we almost had a new, utterly unconstitutional “state book”.
The state rifle is the Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle that is powerful enough to bring down an aircraft and is too expensive for average Tennesseans to buy ($8,000 to $12,000). And if these savants had had their way, we would have the Bible as the state book—a blatantly clear violation of the First Amendment. Also, it would have displaced “Green Eggs and Ham”, which is more on the reading level of state politicians.
This group of nincompoops continuously complain about “government overreach” while micromanaging the University of Tennessee departmental budgets, moving hundreds of thousands of dollars from one department to another, based on their political prejudices. Now they want to monitor bathroom utilization. Their plan is that you would need your birth certificate to use a Tennessee bathroom or be prepared to stand inspection of your genitals before you are allowed admittance.
However, the biggest fiasco is the failure to expand TennCare. While the vast majority of Tennesseans favor this expansion, the legislators cast their lot with ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, and the superrich Koch brothers, blocking expansion. Tennessee has lost billions of dollars in federal funds that would have been used to care for hard working Tennesseans and helped to salvage our struggling rural hospitals. Although 450,000 taxpayers don’t have access to health care, the Legislators have high quality health care thanks to these same taxpayers. This is not only a colossal failure of leadership, but is indicative of moral degeneracy.
In an attempt to cover this moral bankruptcy and gross incompetence, Speaker Beth Harwell formed a “task force” made up entirely of Republicans. Under pressure, she added one lone Democrat. Her buddy, Rep. Sexton was appointed Chairman.
When the task force came to Chattanooga, it was obvious that it was nothing more than a charade. Sexton was the only member that bothered to show up. The “hearing” included two businessmen, a UT economist, and six providers. There was not one representative of the 450,000 without health care on the panel.
There was lots of discussion about overutilization of emergency rooms, unreimbursed care, and provider stress from dealing with dual diagnosis, but there was an absence of discussion of the suffering of people without health care. This is a giant legislative hoax meant to give the impression that they have good intentions. Truth is, they don’t and never have.
Terry Stulce served two combat tours in Vietnam, one with the 101st Airborne and one with the 69th Border Rangers. He was an LCSW and owner of Cleveland Family Counseling before retirement in 2009.