The so called “pass the bottle bill” and my vote on it has caused some contention. I voted against it in my subcommittee. This bill has come up every year for several years, and voted down each time. Here’s why. Tennessee receives money from the federal government each year that goes to the governor’s highway safety program. It is to target DUI and safety issues. Every city and county law enforcement in the state has benefited from it by purchasing equipment in smaller police departments, and paying for officers to target drunk drivers in every other department. Ask Sheriff Anderson, Chief Quillin or Chief Jackson how much revenue their respective departments have received through the years. If we passed this bill, we would not receive more money, rather, the aforementioned money would be lost, and would instead be sent to the Department of Transportation. I didn’t want to lose that money locally.
I hate DUI. I don’t drink. In fact after 36 years in law enforcement I can’t say one positive thing about alcohol. But, I have a hard time connecting the dots from a passenger drinking in the back seat, and the driver driving drunk. Drunk drivers should be criminally charged regardless of who or who isn’t drinking as a passenger. If I cannot definitively show harm to persons or property, I must preserve individual liberty and not legislate it away just because I can. Prescription pills are a bigger cause of impaired driving. Using “pass the bottle bill” logic, we should make it illegal to be a passenger in a vehicle if you have prescription medicine on your person. Those are some of the reasons for my “no” vote. I won’t always get it right down here, but I do want you folks to know that making right constitutional decisions, preserving individual liberty, and equal representation is in the center of my heart.
Rep. Bud Hulsey, Kingsport
A hard truth
Re. Ron McCarley’s opinion, “Climate change science is all smoke and mirrors,” sowing seeds of mistrust of the scientific community can ultimately impair mankind’s ability to solve problems. Questioning climate research is a healthy part of the scientific process, however, skepticism should be based on contrary scientific data, not political conspiracy theories or unrelated examples of antiquated scientific shortcomings. Even the mention of polar bear population growth is misrepresented as evidence of climate stability. Recent polar bear success in the arctic is actually a result of hunting policy changes enacted 50 years ago. The sea ice required for bears to hunt seals has only begun to significantly retreat in the last couple of decades, making the number of polar bears in the 1960s irrelevant. Without ice in the future they will struggle to survive.
Research scientists have spent careers collecting data to generate a history of the planet’s climate. This data spanning millions of years shows an unprecedented rate of warming that aligns with the recent increase of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. It is true that the Earth has been warmer in the past and it will most likely enter another ice age in the future, but the issue of today is the rapid rate of change. While it is difficult to predict which plants and animals will adapt quickly enough to deal with these changes, upsetting food chains that took millions of years to create is a recipe for disaster. At the heart of the issue of climate change is a hard truth that does not respect anyone’s political rational, it only respects scientific fact. The question before this generation is not whether man is causing accelerated climate change, the question is what do we do about it.
Adam Harber, Gray
I help out at my local elementary school and serve as the sole male member of the PTA board. On the morning of March 16, I served as a proctor in a class to assist the hardworking teacher who was legally obligated to give TNReady tests to her students in math. This elementary school is not Title I, the majority of students come from an affluent background, the students’ parents are involved and present, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, “all the children are above average.” With this in mind, imagine you have worked a job for 10 years. You are a copyeditor at a newspaper and have diligently pecked away at your computer to fix typos and shorten the sentences of writers and your performance review and your company’s quarterly report are tomorrow. Nervous? Good, now, chuck that out the window. You are handed a manual typesetting machine. How would you do?
The children were given a scantron sheet, something as foreign to them as an astrolabe would be to us. They have never bubbled in their names before. They have been taught to type their names on an iPad. If the children weren’t nervous enough before the TNReady test, after the “scantron-monium” you better believe they were. None of these tests should be counted for any school in Tennessee. The state board of education should be held accountable for its malfeasance and misfeasance. Don’t just nod your head in agreement with me as you read this letter. Write Governor Bill Haslam. Volunteer your opinion and more importantly your fix for this problem. Together we can change this.
Justin Mann, Kingsport
Not a moderate
Having spent nearly 70 years as a journalist reporting facts and exposing untruths, I am impelled to remind Debbie Arrington and other pro-choice Christians of the biological fact that a new life is created when egg and sperm unite, and that any choice to abort ends the life of a child no matter when in the pregnancy it is performed. Harry Blackmun, author of the Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision, wrote in the decision: “We need not address when life begins. ... If we were to decide life begins at conception (as if in its wisdom the court could change the biological fact) this whole issue would be moot.”
I am also impelled to inform D. Bruce Shine, with whom I usually agree, that despite Obama calling his nominee to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, a “moderate” and the mainstream media endlessly repeating the claim, Garland, in his vote with the 6-3 majority in the appeals court decision against Priests for Life that had petitioned that its case against the Obamacare contraception mandate be heard by the full court, has revealed himself to hold an anti-life position and to be not fully aware that there is more to religious liberty than a place to worship. Garland’s appointment to the court will determine the future of abortion for at least a generation and leave uncertain how he will deal with Islamic Jihadists attempts to use our freedoms to terrorize and destroy us.
Murvin H. Perry, Johnson City