Democrats recalled sit-ins of the civil rights era and argued Occupy Nashville has the right to demonstrate on War Memorial Plaza just as the Ku Klux Klan and Tea Partiers have that right.
"We give the Ku Klux Klan, as reprehensible as they are to me and I hope to you guys, they have the right to protest in this country," House Democratic Caucus chairman Mike Turner said. "They were camping at Tiananmen Square and they put the tanks on them and they threw them out. Most of you would defend the right to carry a gun anywhere in the state. We're going to carry guns everywhere in the state of Tennessee, but by God, you can't camp."
Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, called the legislation "unprecedented in our country."
"We've allowed super PACs to rise up such that any billionaire can roll out of bed and secretly fund somebody's campaign. The point is, here we are in a country right now where wealthy people have been given the power to literally control presidential campaigns with their money" because that's free speech, yet the legislature is outlawing Occupy Nashville's encampment.
The editorial board at the Jackson Sun are troubled by SB2207. LINK
The potential for trouble with the bill up for consideration today is in the wording that would also allow a company's ownership to remain secret. A number of concerns arise from this, not the least of which is that state residents might never know who specifically is receiving and benefiting from our state tax dollars.
This also sets the stage for corruption that could involve hundreds of millions of dollars. An investor in a company, for instance, could make a generous donation to an elected representative, who could then advocate for an incentive deal for that investor's company. Or the investor could make a donation after the deal is done as a reward. No trail of public records would exist to connect the two.
Are you going to use your right to vote Super Tuesday? LINK
We have seen the leadership for the 2012 GOP nomination teeter on headlines and on results from even smaller turnouts, and shake our heads at the willingness of citizens to cede their voice to neighbors and strangers with whom they willingly argue over every little thing. In the Republican presidential primary alone, Tennessee could make a statement at a time when four contenders are still competitive nationally.
Then there are the primaries for local offices on the ballots in most counties. In a year when so many city and county governments are struggling to meet debt obligations and continue to encourage economic growth, the only real question is: Why would you opt NOT to vote?
Granted, this year state government has made voting more difficult for some groups of people, with a new photo ID requirement. That is all the more reason that every registered voter make the effort. Aside from the ID issue, early voting, which begins today, makes it convenient to get to the polls between now and Super Tuesday, March 6.