Because I clearly hate myself, I am going to try writing a weekly digest that highlights key moments in our elected officials’ public lives. If you have an idea for a catchy series title, provide it below.
In the state House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads) introduced a bill that would change the rules and prohibit last-minute floor amendments, even though when Democrats controlled the Legislature, Republicans—including Majority Leader Gerald McCormick—had a lot of fun introducing such surprises. Tom Humphrey explains.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Germantown) championed a new state law that prohibits the Memphis City Schools system from immediately dissolving if a referendum scheduled for March 8 passes. Fellow Shelby County Senators Beverly Marrero and Jim Kyle, both Democrats, argued against it. Kyle shrewdly (if unsuccessfully) used the typically Republican argument for more local control over local matters. Norris countered that the Memphis school system is “a special special school district” and that the state has an overriding responsibility to make sure adequate education is provided. From the Memphis Flyer:
The bill, a response to the ongoing controversy over school-system merger and/or special school districts in Shelby County would restructure public-school education in the county and allow a merger of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools in such a way [that might create] one or more special school districts.
Governor Bill Haslam created a little distance from some of his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly by suggesting that if immigration reform laws are too harsh, they might prevent international businesses from choosing Tennessee. Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) said that he will work with the governor to address some of these concerns.
U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann invoked Mark Winslow's favorite British prime minister during a floor speech on behalf of small businesses. Meanwhile, Fleischmann’s chief of staff, Chip Saltsman, was quoted in a Politico article on the backlash suffered by former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum after Santorum made some admittedly gauche remarks about potential 2012 rival and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “’One thing they don’t like in a Republican primary is attacking other Republicans,’ (Saltsman) said. ‘That’s not the best way to make a name for yourself.’” Is he perhaps citing a lesson learned?
Fleischmann also granted this blog an exclusive interview last week, the results of which are posted here.
U.S. Senator Bob Corker kept all of his committee assignments, which are Banking, Energy, Foreign Relations, and the Special Committee on Aging, of which he is the ranking Republican.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander will make another attempt for the party’s whip (my hair back and forth?) position in the Senate, following the announcement that Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) will retire. Side note: some Arizona Democrats are pushing for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to run for the open seat. Um, what? The courageous lady is amazingly recovering from being shot in the head. She ordered toast with breakfast. One step at a time, please.