Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee’
The Knoxville News Sentinel printed part of my letter, but here is the entire letter.
The abortion debate is usually quite polarized, so people are always asking me, “Isn’t there some room for common ground between pro-life and pro-choice?” I never thought so until now, but clearly, Amendment 1 is that common ground.
People on both sides agree that abortion facilities should be licensed and inspected. Amendment 1 allows that to happen.
People on both sides agree that women should never be coerced into having abortions, yet the Elliot Institute reports that as many as 60% of abortions are coerced (Forced Abortion in America, accessed online). Amendment 1 allows measures to curtail unwanted coercion.
People on both sides agree that women should be given all the information regarding medical risks and alternatives to abortion, yet the Elliot Institute reports that 79% of women were not told of available resources.
If you follow the money, the big money against Amendment 1 is coming from the abortion industry. Go figure. But most people agree that regulatory oversight is important and necessary to ensure women’s health.
by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
Tennessee is one of the best-managed states in the nation. Our budget is balanced every year, we have cut taxes and our recent education reforms are the envy of other states.
Due to its many attractive qualities, Tennessee has become a great magnet: for retirees looking for a place to spend their golden years, for working people looking to escape states that bleed their earning through state income taxes and for entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of our business-friendly environment.
Unfortunately, there is another reason people come to Tennessee that is not cause for celebration: our liberal abortion laws.
In fact, just a few days ago, the New York Times asked in a headline whether Tennessee was the “abortion capital of the bible belt.” It is my hope that Tennesseans will go to the polls Nov. 4 and vote YES on Amendment 1 so that question will never be asked again — rhetorically or otherwise.
The origin of this amendment is rooted in a Tennessee Supreme Court decision which asserted Tennessee’s Constitution prevents the legislature from passing common-sense laws regarding abortion. Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist (2000) resulted in the removal of three protections passed by the General Assembly: informed consent, a 48-hour waiting period and a requirement that late term abortions be performed in a hospital setting. A fourth protection passed after the ruling that would have required state inspection of abortion facilities and licensure of providers was also struck down.
So in Tennessee, hairdressers and exterminators are licensed and inspected – but there is no oversight of people who perform abortions.
The lies told by those who oppose Amendment 1 are cynical and misleading. They insinuate the amendment could end legal abortion in Tennessee. It does no such thing. The amendment would merely allow the legislature to pass common sense laws regarding abortion that many, many other states have passed. Nothing more.
These measures have widespread support. While the extreme liberal activists at the Tennessee Democratic Party are spreading half-truths and conspiracy theories, the fact is Amendment 1 has support across ideological and party lines. Amendment 1 passed the legislature by wide margins.
That means legislators, Democrat and Republican, pro-life and pro-choice, believe Tennesseans should have the final say.
Those who support unrestricted, unregulated abortion on demand are trying to make Amendment 1 a litmus test on whether one believes in legal abortion. It is not.
This issue is beyond simplistic labels. Personally, I am pro-life and believe that abortion is the killing of an innocent human life. But even those who believe abortion should remain legal think the practice should be safe, legal and rare.
This amendment does not eliminate the right to choose; it simply allows us to join with other states to pass common sense laws that protect women and ensure their safety.
Many Tennesseans are decidedly pro-life and some are militantly pro-abortion but a plurality are somewhere in between. Polls indicate that nearly half of the electorate falls somewhere between the two polar extremes. This amendment not only brings us in line with a majority of other states, it allows us to put safeguards in place on which most reasonable people can agree.
According to the Department of Health, nearly one-fourth of women having abortions in Tennessee were from out of state. Tennessee should be known for its scenic vistas and pro-business economy, not for having the most liberal abortion laws in the southeast.
Vote Yes on Amendment 1 and bring common sense back to the abortion discussion in Tennessee.
FAB contributor Ron Ramsey also serves as the Tennessee Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate … in his spare time.
Pro-lifers voted for Gov. Haslam in 2010 and would do it again. But this year, many will skip the Tennessee governor’s race altogether. Why?
Because a vote for governor (any candidate) will be a half-vote against pro-life Amendment 1. The Tennessean explains in this article. According to the Tennessean … and have no fear, they are correct this time …:
That logic … hinges on a provision in the state constitution that outlines the threshold an amendment must get for it to succeed — a majority of the votes cast in the gubernatorial election regardless of the number of votes cast on the amendment.
Watch this video and pass it on!
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is now a featured author at FAB! (OK, he just blasted out this e-mail, but what the heck.)
Boldness in Education Policy is the Only Answer
by Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
When I first arrived in the state Senate in 1996, Republicans were in the minority. That fact didn’t bother me in the least. I’ve embraced challenges all my life. So when I got to the Senate, my primary goal was to build a conservative majority in the state Senate.
The guardians of the status quo had other ideas. Democrats, of course, pushed back against us. But even those on “my side” warned that talk of a GOP majority was “dangerous” and that I shouldn’t upset the apple cart.
It took a lot of hard work, but today we have not only a majority in the Senate but also a supermajority in both houses of the General Assembly.
Our road to a conservative majority comes to mind often when I am engaged in battles on education policy in Tennessee. The guardians of the status quo, it seems, are everywhere.
While our state is featured frequently at the top of various “best of” lists, there is one area in which Tennessee has historically lagged behind: education. We have ranked near the bottom of states by various different metrics. When Republicans finally got our majorities and captured the governor’s mansion, we moved quickly and deliberately to change that history. And we have.
We abolished the teachers union monopoly on collective bargaining so that teachers, not union representatives, have a voice and a seat at the table. We made test scores part of teacher evaluations so that our best teachers can be rewarded for their hard work. And parents now have more choices in education thanks to our expansion of the state’s charter school law. Most importantly, we have ended the tenure entitlement for teachers.
Results have been encouraging. Already, our schools have posted three consecutive years of gains on state assessments in all areas. Nearly 150,000 more students are proficient or advanced in elementary and middle school math and science than in 2010. And we are one of only two states making double-digit gains in high school graduation rates.
None of this could have been done without the outstanding education reform team we have in place. One member of that team has drawn the ire of the enemies of innovation and the defenders of the status quo.
Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman has been under fire for advocating a new salary schedule for teachers which, for the first time, would reward our very best or highest-need teachers with truly competitive pay. No longer would low-performing teachers receive higher salaries and benefits just for punching a clock. To the old education establishment, this is a revolutionary concept. To most people, this is just common sense.
I find it amazing that just because Commissioner Huffman stands up to special interests to create a better Tennessee for our school children, he gets pilloried.
Opponents can claim that teacher pay will be cut, but the truth is just the opposite. Gov. Bill Haslam and the General Assembly have added $130 million for teacher salaries over the past three years, compared with $22 million over Gov. Phil Bredesen’s last term.
Tennessee is changing the game when it comes to education — and change is not easy. The inertia of the status quo is strong. This “Race to the Top” is not a sprint; it is a marathon.
Fortunately, we Republicans are not immune to hard work. We thrive on it. I’m proud of our governor, our Republican legislators and especially our education commissioner for being willing to battle complacency and strive to do better.
This is about our children. It is about their future and the future of our great state. Boldness in education policy is not just one option among many. It is the only option.
Originally published in the July 20, 2013 edition of the Nashville Tennessean newspaper
Your help is needed to stop an ObamaCare State Exchange in TN. From the Nashville Tea Party:
Governor Haslam must make a decision by December 14, and reports indicate he is still undecided. Please Join Nashville Tea Party and many other groups to raise our voices together and petition the Governor to Just Say NO to an ObamaCare State Exchange. We will have a petition for you to sign at the Rally. Please join us. Here is a map link. We will rally on the east side of the Tennessee State Capitol Building at 12:oo Noon on Wednesday, December 5.
When ObamaCare becomes the debacle that we believe is inevitable, we cannot allow ourselves to be in the position of taking the blame. If Republicans become the face of ObamaCare in Tennessee, we will be blamed. We cannot allow that to happen. Please do the following:
- Call Governor Haslam’s office: (615) 741-2001
- Contact Governor Haslam through his website: http://www.tn.gov/help/. Under “Choose a Topic”, select “MESSAGE TO GOV. HASLAM,” then type your message.
- E-mail Governor Haslam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Attend this rally on December 5.
More from the Cato Institute:
Frank Cagle has a great column in the Metro Pulse commemorating the 10-year anniversary of Tennessee’s most recent defeat of the state income tax. Cagle writes:
… someone ought to mark the occasion when almost the entire state political establishment, academia, and virtually all editorial writers were impatiently explaining to us Neanderthals that unless we passed a state income tax, the state was headed for financial collapse.
We were confidently told by University of Tennessee economists that the state tax structure could not support state government.
The income tax bill came to the House floor and was defeated.
Surely Armageddon would ensue.
Tennessee, 10 years on, has a current budget surplus of $600 million. The Legislature this past session eliminated the inheritance tax, the gift tax, and cut the rate of the sales tax on food. This year K-12 was fully funded and funds for higher education were increased. There will be an effort next year to eliminate the Hall income tax for those over 65, and possibly eliminate it altogether.
Name another state during this bad recession that has cut taxes. Around the country, state governments are in crisis. California cities are going bankrupt. Taxes are being raised to cover budget shortfalls.
When Tennessee state government was “starved for revenue” in 2002, the state budget was $20 billion. This coming year the budget is $31 billion.
LifeNews.com has reported that the Obama administration has sent a family planning grant of $395,000 to a Planned Parenthood abortion business in Memphis, Tennessee. (Story here.)
In a related story, we constantly hear that we have a humougous federal deficit because the working people who create wealth in this country are too stingy and won’t send enough of their money to Washington. That money is needed in Washington, they say, so the political class can claim to be compassionate to America’s poor people. (They love to be compassionate with somebody else’s money.)
Anyway, as long as they take our money and give it to baby-killers, their faux compassion for America’s poor will remain unconvincing, to say the least.
The Nashville Tennessean has published an extensive series on abortion in Tennessee. Did they get it right? Please comment below! Here are the links:
Abortion in Tennessee
- TN, with few restrictions, attracts out-of-state women seeking abortions
- Churches shift positions on abortion
- TN man’s fight to stop embryo donation set stage for abortion rights
- 2 women, 2 clinics. 1 goal: To help
- At 40, Memphis abortion clinic gets bold with its mission
- Fort Campbell woman changed mind after husband landed job
- 17-year-old knew decision as soon as she saw baby’s heartbeat
- ‘It still hurts,’ says woman who had abortion in 1979
- ‘I think God forgives and I will be fine’
- Nashville pregnancy center helps women sort out warring emotions
On Friday, May 11, Governor Bill Haslam signed the new Tennessee sex education bill (SB 3310) into law. The bill was initiated in large part due to parental outrage over explicit sex education taught in Nashville schools. The new law sets a standard for other states to follow. It places a clear priority on sexual risk avoidance abstinence education. The law also puts provisions in place that will prohibit explicit sex education from being implemented in classrooms – a first for any state. It also empowers parents to protect their children from harmful sex education through their right to pursue legal options should a school ignore the protective provisions of the law.
The sex education bill received broad bipartisan support in the Legislature. Tennessee Legislator, Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis) earned an enthusiastic standing ovation for his straight talking defense of the bill which encourages youth to choose healthy behaviors.
Read the story on “gateway sexual behavior” here. Be sure to read the entire story. Opponents tried to lampoon the bill, saying it banned hugging and holding hands, but Rep. DeBerry (D-Memphis) stood up to set the record straight. Watch Rep. DeBerry’s speech in the Tennessee Legislature here:
David Fowler, President of the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), explains to a group of pastors how Tennessee’s lack of sane restrictions on abortion condemn thousands of babies a year to death, and lays out the battle that lies ahead as the pro-life community works to pass a constitutional amendment in 2014 that would make those sane restrictions possible once again.
This is an excerpt from David Fowler’s speech at Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall pastor’s briefing in Nashville, Tennessee on February 16, 2012.
This is our 8th day of GAP in the last 3 weeks. If you count our Pro Life Training Academy, travel, and prep work, it’s my 16th day of hard labor in 19 days. By hard labor I mean up at 6:00 am and to bed at midnight or later on GAP days … with only slightly more sleep on the other days. There would be 3 more days after this one.
But God is good. He knew that we were all tired. He didn’t test us. After we got the exhibit set up, I propped myself up on a wall underneath a shade tree, right near the poll table. They would have to come to me.
At the poll table, students answer the question, “Should abortion remain legal?” A “no” response means pro-life; we sign them up for the Pro Life Collegians. A “yes” response means pro-abortion; we initiate dialogue with the goal of helping them rethink their position. For most of the day, I just quietly asked the “yes” responders, one at a time, “May I ask why you responded that way?” If they answer, we’re off to the races.
For a nice change of pace, God didn’t send any combative people over to the table this day. The combative types can offer awesome opportunities, especially if they draw a crowd. But they are rarely thoughtful and it is hard work to be reasonable with somebody who is unreasonable. I just wasn’t up to it.
So God sent to me (and all the rest of us) a steady stream of people who were willing to have civil discourse. He also sent a number of pro-lifers who gave us encouragement. It was very different from most GAPs, including most GAPs at UT.
Of course, a few passersby gave us the “flying buzzard” as they rushed on past, but the drive-by’s can be easily ignored. We should aways remember that such people are often facing struggles that we probably can’t imagine. We should also remember that God loves each and every one of them, too. But God would have had a hard time loving them through us on this day. The civil ones got all we had to give.
Day 2 at UT Chattanooga (UTC) was another awesome day of GAP. Come to think of it, I’ve participated in perhaps 150 days of GAP, and every single one of them was awesome. Maybe that’s why we want to do even more of it.
It was another hot, hot day at UTC. Before this week would be over, the heat would take it’s toll. In fact, I’m typing this a full 2 weeks later, and my body hasn’t fully recovered, yet. Please pray for healing and recovery.
We were greeted by protesters, which is always a plus. They attracted the newspaper to come and do a story on our project. The pro-aborts really don’t know what to do about us. If they don’t respond at all, then we dominate the landscape. If they do respond, they look silly.
For example, this group didn’t try to argue that abortion is OK. No they took a very nuanced view of the First Amendment:
- Free speech is important and should be protected.
- We shouldn’t be allowed to show abortion pictures because it made them uncomfortable.
One guy, who was not even pro-life, came by to protest the protesters. He was there on behalf of the First Amendment. Like we always say, “GAP is like a box of chock-lits; ya neva know WATT your gonna gay-et.”
Did you hear what our Senator Corker said on TV this morning. It was one of the most astonishing things I had ever heard any legislator say.
He was asked, “So, you’ll vote yes for it, right?” His stunning response:
I would like to at least read the 70 pages [before I decide how to vote].
Tennessee Right to Life continues to press Governor Bill Haslam to take steps to yank the taxpayer funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business receives from the state.
“As much as 55% of certain Planned Parenthood salaries are funded through contracts with the Tennessee Department of Health, said [Tennessee Right to Life President Brian] Harris. “These same employees spend at least part of every work day promoting and/or participating in abortions at Planned Parenthood … no tax payer should be forced to subsidize the salary of any organization’s employees that participate in the harming of women and the killing of helpless unborn children.
Full story here.
Background story here.
Gov. Haslam’s statement here.