Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

May 20, 2013

Stumptalk: A super majority legislature

By Jim Sykes
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — Much media attention has recently been focused on the inability of the super majority of Republicans in the 2013 legislature to enact every Republican bill into law. Why is this different from some of the recent super majority Democratic legislatures? If you were paying attention to the debates in the committees, and analyze that debate, you will find that Republicans don’t automatically follow their party leaders when it comes to doing what each individual legislator thinks is best for Tennessee. Republicans actually try to do what they think is best for our citizens.

It is understandable why the Democrats would think this is unusual and labels the Republican actions as “in-fighting.” The Democrats don’t seem to understand that each Republican considers the facts when deciding how to vote on issues. Most also don’t criticize the individuals who have a different opinion. They debate the differences on the issues. After all, it doesn’t take much intelligence to criticize someone but it does take more than a little intelligence to actually study and evaluate the issues in determining how they are going to vote.

To those of you who wish to learn the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans in our state and nation, the 2013 state legislature has provided an opportunity to learn the difference between the approaches of each party. The members of the Democratic Party concentrate on criticism of those who disagree with them and the members of the Republican Party actually consider and analyze the factual issues in deciding how to vote on the issues. Democrats simply vote the party line.

There has certainly been bills presented that defy logic and common sense and some discussions have shown that some of our legislators don’t understand the issues but, if you consider the differences in a super majority Republican legislature and a super majority Democratic legislature, you might learn why some of us prefer conservative legislators.

Our Tennessee legislature has one of the best websites in the country and most of the committee hearings are “streamed” online so that you can listen to the discussions and learn what each legislator believes and why they vote as they do. It is very enlightening if you take the time to watch and listen. All of the bills are posted online so that you can read them and every legislator has his/her telephone number and email address posted online so that you can let them know what you think about each bill before they vote.

You can personally learn what is happening in your legislature and you have no excuse for not being involved in what is happening in our state. If you don’t agree with what your representatives are doing, you don’t have to wait for the next election to let him/her know what you think. You also have an opportunity to let your friends and family know what is happening so that they can contact their representatives. If you don’t get involved during the legislative sessions and let your representatives know what you think then you have no right to complain later about what happens. The legislators work for us and we need to become more involved in what they are doing if we want better laws and better representation.

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Stumptalk is published weekly in the Crossville Chronicle. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. To contact Stumptalk, email coordinator Phil Billington at