Friday, May 27, 2005

Tennessee politics and knee jerk laws

With everyone sitting back and enjoying the circus occurring in Nashville with the arrest of several of our politicians and other cohorts I think some credit should be given to a couple of other.

To sat that there is a lot of stress in the capital building would be an understatement, but some have kept a level head and that I respect, on the surface.
Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, said when asked whether the arrests indicate the need for stronger ethics laws for legislators, ''If you pass you ethics bills in a hurry, you're reacting to headlines.''

Even though two members of his Senate Finance Committee were arrested this morning, Henry still plans to continue discussing and voting on the state's appropriations bill for the coming fiscal year. ''I'm sorry it happened.''

Sen. Mike Williams, R-Maynardville, who is Senate speaker pro tem, said, ''It's a sad day for the legislature and the families. I ask for the prayers of the citizens of the state. It's a tough time. Our priorities are the state budget and moving forward on TennCare.''

He, too, was asked about the need for stronger ethics laws on Capitol Hill. ''We should not have a knee-jerk reaction,'' he said.
Now these two statements could be taken two ways. The first is simple self protection. If they pass tougher ethic rules it may hurt their "side businesses", but that is just one option.

I am leaning more towards the second option that they simply know that you should not act in haste. One of the knee jerk laws that we live under is the patriot act and its bastard children. Now those are prime examples of what a knee jerk reaction bill can become. What the heck is an ethics law anyway. If you plan to take bribes and make money one more law will not stop you.

Right now any bills passed will be passed less for ethics reasons and more for "see how good we are" reasons. So a few politicians in Nashville are using the few gray cells they possess.

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