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As we finally begin to transition from winter coldness into the warmth of spring, things have definitely been heating up on the political front here in Nashville. This past week has truly brought “the good, the bad, and the ugly”, where politics is concerned.
One of the best of the good moments came when Sheriff Murray Blackwelder and Sandra Metcalf visited from Lincoln County to support HB1860, which was heard before the full House Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday morning. The hearing went very well and the bill passed through the Committee, clearing the way for the next step in the legislative process.
HB1860 allows local communities to choose whether or not they would like to initiate a notification program by which certain residents and business are notified as to the arrival or presence of certain sexual offenders. The bill gives full authority to locals to decide whether or not they want to pursue such a notification program, so it is not forcing anything on anyone while allowing for communities who are concerned about the safety of residents (and particularly children) to do this sort of thing if it is what they deem best at the local level.
Sheriff Blackwelder and Sandra Metcalf have been incredibly helpful and encouraging throughout the process of crafting and guiding this important piece of legislation through the process. There have also been many good people in Lincoln County who have taken it upon themselves to champion this cause. The help and support that I’ve been given by these folks has been humbling, invigorating, and inspiring all at once. I cannot thank the good folks of Lincoln County enough!
HB1860, in so many ways, epitomizes the best that our political process has to offer. It was initiated by concerned citizens contacting my office. The bill was embraced and pursued by my office once we were made aware of its need. It is now being advanced by everyone from the grass roots of Lincoln County to the General Assembly in Nashville. With things seeming to go so wrong so often in government, this particular bill has represented a most refreshing ray of light in the darkness.
That said, let’s not assume that this ray of light has reached “mission: accomplished” status just yet. Please, now more than ever, contact state representatives and senators and make your voice heard on HB1860.
On the less encouraging side of things, HB2290, a bill that I have introduced in order to prevent an unfunded mandate, has suffered a setback after a wave of political maneuvering the likes of which I have not seen before in my time here in the General Assembly. It is clearer than ever to me that some of the most powerful proponents of Common Core will flex whatever muscle necessary to advance their cause. There seems to be a deliberate effort to keep out of the discussion how much this is going to cost.
Let me be clear that not all advocates of Common Core are on this same page or in this same category. There are many sincere, honest, and good people advocating for Common Core itself, but most of those sorts of Common Core advocates would never want to see already strained local school budgets burdened by massive unfunded mandates from Nashville. They want to see Common Core done responsibly and right if it is going to be done at all.
With that understood, it is equally important to note that many of the most powerful proponents of the Common Core system seem to be willing to exert whatever influence they can to see it cemented into place. There are wagons circled around Common Core to prevent any arrows of negativity from penetrating it, even if those arrows only aim to address fiscal responsibility. As I have stated many times, Porsche makes a heck of a car, but there’s not one in the Spivey driveway. No matter how good something is, if we can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter if it is the greatest thing in the world.
There will be more to report on this subject soon, but, for now, please pray and keep on contacting each and every Tennessee state representative and senator. Let them know that local schools cannot be allowed to be financially crushed under the weight of Common Core implementation. Let them know that if the state wants Common Core and the state is going to require Common Core, then the state must fully fund Common Core. Period.
Through all of it this week – the good, the bad, and the ugly – I have never felt more humbled, honored, and blessed to be the representative of Tennessee’s 92nd District! Thank you so much for your prayers, support, and even sometimes your patient correction!
Lord willing, there will be much more to report next week.
In the meantime, please feel free to stop by my office, give me a call, or shoot me an email if you have any thoughts or ideas to share. My office is in suite 110 of the War Memorial Building in Nashville, my number is (615) 741-4170, and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also connect and let me know what you think on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RepSpivey.