The Tennessee Tea Party has asked its members to target a dozen state Republican representatives for high-pressure phone tactics. The Tea Party wants collective bargaining stripped from teachers and feels the lawmakers are wavering on the issue.
Representative Ron Lollar was upset that Tea Party emails called him a RINO, a Republican In Name Only.
He was accused of attempting to kill the House bill that would strip the Tennessee Education Association of its collective bargaining power.
Not true, he says.
“As far as having any trouble with the bill, I don’t have any trouble with the bill.”
The original Tea Party e-mail said legislators should be warned that “their vote will be remembered in the next election.”
Lollar says the Tea Party doesn’t understand that members of the Education Committee haven’t even heard the bill yet. He told constituents from his district in Memphis the activists were ’way off-base.
“…evidently who sent them the information was not aware of the system that we operate under, and the rules we operate under, up here at the House. So to say that one member or two members was holding a bill was just not correct.”
The second e-mail added ten more representatives to the so-called “wear them out” list. It includes Franklin’s Charles Sargent and Nashville’s Beth Harwell, the powerful speaker of the House.
The collective bargaining bill is ready to go to the floor in the state Senate but hasn’t been scheduled for a committee in the House.
Tea Party spokespersons kicked off the campaign by accusing Lollar and Harry Brooks of delaying the bill:
You should know that there are TWO RINOs in the Tennessee House are leaning towards killing HB130/SB113 this coming MONDAY in the face of a relentless TEA Union onslaught. They are only two votes, but they are on the key Education Subcommittee.
Lollar explains that even though he’s on the House Education Subcommittee, he hasn’t had any chance to act on the bill one way or the other – it hasn’t been on the subcommittee’s agenda.
“The only person that can hold that bill, or do anything with the bill, is the sponsor. In this case, Representative [Debra] Maggart is holding the bill. When she chooses to run the bill, then we’ll have an option to look at it, and make a determination as to whether or not we’re gonna pass it or not.”
To “run the bill” is to put it on a formal agenda and ask committee members to approve it, which would send the bill to the House Calendar and Rules Committee to be scheduled for the House floor.
Here’s the e-mail that urges Tea Party Members to “wear them out” with phone calls:
EMERGENCY LEGISLATIVE ALERT
FEBRUARY 28, 2011
THESE ARE OUR REPRESENTATIVES WHO HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE EXPANDED WAFFLE LIST AND NEED MIGHTY PRESSURE EXERTED ON THEM TO PASS HB 130—COLLECTIVE BARGAINING BILL!
WE NEED TO “WEAR THEM OUT” NOW! SEND EMAILS, CALL THEIR OFFICES, AND STRONGLY ENCOURAGE THEM TO SUPPORT WITH THEIR VOTES THIS BILL! WE HAVE GOT TO FOCUS ATTENTION ON THE HOUSE SIDE OF THIS ISSUE. WE HAVE THE VOTES IN THE SENATE.
(56) SPEAKER BETH HARWELL 741-0709
19)HARRY BROOK 741-6879
6) DALE FORD 741-1717
(23) JOHN FORGETY 741-1725
(9) MICHAEL HARRISON 741-7480
(78) PHILLIP JOHNSON 741-7477
(99) RON LAWLER 741-7086
(72) STEVE MCDANIEL 741-0750
(12) RICHARD MONTGOMERY 741-5981
(35) DENNIS ROACH 741-2534
(61) CHARLES SARGENT 741-6808
(8) ART SWANN 741-5481
WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT THEY NEED TO RECEIVE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF EMAILS AND PHONE CALLS.
WE ADDED SPEAKER HARWELL TO THIS LIST FOR GOOD MEASURE. WE ARE ALSO BEING TOLD THAT GOVERNOR HASLAM IS EXCEEDINLY WEAK…WE NEED TO APPLY PRESSURE TO HIM!
SB 2012 HAS BUMPED HB 130 AND IS ON SUBCOMMITTEE OF EDUCATION CALENDAR FOR MARCH 2, 2011.
The Tennessee Tea Party Team
A couple of notes of explanation:
• It’s Harry Brooks, not “Brook”
• Ron Lollar, not “Ron Lawler”
• Charles Sargent’s e-mail is not spelled like a “sergeant” in the Army.
It is not clear what the author was referring to in the note that begins, “SB 2012 has bumped HB 130….” Senate Bill 2012 deals with the sale of water for agricultural purposes.
House Bill 2012 is on a different subject, tenure for teachers, but it hasn’t even been sent to committee.
None of the bills is officially on notice in any committee for March 2.
The Senate bill, having been cleared to proceed to the Senate floor, could be passed this week.