Dunn, a leading member of the House leadership team, says he’s voting for legislation requiring the Transportation Department to advertise bids for contracts by publishing notices on the department’s website instead of in newspapers around the state.
That’ll cost newspapers $250,000 a year. At a House Transportation subcommittee meeting, Dunn said it serves them right.
Tennessee Republicans in the legislature want to retaliate? Oh, shock me. What else do they do up at the state capitol these days except retaliate against perceived grievances? Their entire existence is devoted to sending a giant “fuck you” to every group they don’t like, starting with the cities of Nashville and Memphis.
These are the same people who got in a fit of pique when the Nashville school board denied Great Hearts Academy their charter (for reasons I outlined here); now they’ve decided to pass a law saying charter schools could bypass the school board and go straight to the state for approval — but this law only applies to Nashville and Memphis!
This is the same group who got so offended when Nashville’s city council passed a non-discrimination ordinance which included GLBT people that they passed a law which effectively overturned it.
This is the same group who, when Memphis renamed their Confederate parks a week or so ago, put forth a bill banning the renaming of Confederate parks and monuments in the future.
This is the same group who, upset at the private Vanderbilt University’s anti-discrimination policy affecting campus organizations, actually passed a law against it, prompting our governor’s first veto. This is the same group which has brought that bill back, this time limiting it to just state schools.
And I haven’t even started on the crazy crap, like “Don’t Say Gay,” “We Love Guns Rights More Than Property Rights,” and “Let’s Shame & Torture Slutty Ladies Who Want Abortions,” not to mention “Hey The United Nations Is Really Scary” and today’s doozy, “Let’s Celebrate Black History Month By Banning Affirmative Action.”
So no, don’t blame the media for reporting when y’all act like the nation’s crazy uncle.
I can’t decide if Tennessee Republicans are on a mad little power trip with their supermajority, or if they’re just little children who have to legislate their way over everyone they disagree with. Memphis and Nashville are the economic drivers of this state, but the Republicans just hate they’re we’re also more liberal than they can tolerate. And by God if they could pass a law making it illegal for a city to be more liberal than their narrow-minded, petulant, petty little hillbilly selves, they sure would.
This is headed for a big-time showdown. Nashville’s mayor and Chamber and CVB are all-in on branding Nashville as a creative center, a place not just for all kinds of musicians and artists, but as a center for the technology industry. They are trying to draw young people, creative people, innovative thinkers, entrepreneurs. And the crazy crap coming out of the state legislature is definitely sending the opposite message. It sends the message that Tennessee is a place for knuckle-dragging racist Neanderthals and Bible thumpers, and if there’s one blue spot in the middle of this sea of red they will rub it out.
I do not know which side will win out in this battle, but I have to think it’s the side with the money, and that would be our cities.