Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael and Senator Mark Pody (TN-17) to the studio to discuss the Tennessee General Assembly’s remaining agenda and upcoming vaccination bill which advocates for governmental exemption status.
Leahy: In studio the original all-star panelist, Crom Carmichael, and State Senator Mark Pody from Wilson County. Senator Pody, what’s on the agenda for the remaining month of the Tennessee General Assembly?
Pody: Well, to start with today is a big day because we have a vaccination bill that is going to be heard in the health committee.
Leahy: Now, when you say vaccination bill, tell us what that bill is and does.
Pody: Alright. So what that bill is going to do and is being carried by Senator Janice Bowling Aad it’s going to say that if you have a religious exemption or if you have a conscience that says you don’t want to get that vaccination, you cannot be forced by the government to take that vaccination.
Leahy: Now, that seems to me like a common sense and individual liberty bill. This bill died, didn’t it and then it came back?
Pody: Yes. A similar bill died, and there was one that I was actually carrying earlier this year and it died in the House. So we had the votes in the Senate to pass the bill, but it died in the House. And we currently have this exemption right now in the state of Tennessee. However, if the governor calls an emergency, then that exemption goes away.
And for whatever reason, just because we call it an emergency does not mean that our constitutional rights or religious freedoms should be stepped on. And that’s what this bill does. It’s going to say even underneath an emergency, that we have the right to say we don’t want that vaccination.
Leahy: What are the prospects of it passing the health committee in the House today?
Pody: I think it’s a pretty good chance right now. I talked to the chairman of that committee, and he is for it and he’s on board with it. And I know Joey Hensley is on that committee, and he’s going to be for it. So I think we have a good shot. But there’s going to be a rally down there at the Capitol today with Gary Humble and Tennessee Stands.
Leahy: He was in studio here with Ben Cunningham on Wednesday when I was out of town in Tallahassee putting together The Florida Capital Star deal.
Carmichael: You know, what’s interesting about that bill is that I think you said that government does not have the right to do that.
Carmichael: If you watch what the Biden administration is trying to do with this so-called health card passport, he says they’re working with private industry. So what they’ve done is they’ve kind of looked at the way that if you’re protected by Section 230, then corporations are able to do the bidding of the Democrat Party by canceling and demonetizing people who disagree with progressive policies.
So rather than have the federal government try to pass a national bill on a COVID passport, they’re working with big companies to try to get those companies to force it. So it’s the private sector. So what the Senator is saying here is the government won’t be able to do it. But it sounds like that under your bill, a large private company or private employer could impose a restriction on everyone who doesn’t carry a COVID passport.
Pody: That’s correct.
Carmichael: Whether over a religious exemption or not, they would still have to carry the passport, which means they have to go have the vaccine.
Pody: That’s correct. Now, this bill is only focused on government. There is another bill that’s coming that would actually address the private industry as well. But that’s not the one that’s up to date. This is the one that’s coming today. And we’re working through that. The other issue that’s coming up is money. We’re going to be passing the budget in April, and we have money in Tennessee. Tennessee is a well-run state, one of the best in the entire nation. Unlike the federal government, we only spend the money we have. We don’t go into debt. We are one the lowest debt in the nation.
Leahy: Crom, you might want to weigh on this.
Carmichael: Well, what’s interesting is this because the Senator is right. We are a very well run state. We’re a very low tax state. We have no income tax. We have no estate tax. We don’t even have a tax now on interest in dividends. And the people on the left said if you eliminate those taxes, you’ll lose your revenue.
Leahy: They were wrong.
Carmichael: They were wrong. Because when you eliminate those taxes, you become more attractive to people to move to your state who create wealth. The states with the highest income taxes are the ones that run the biggest deficits. The corollary is just as clear as it can be. California and New York are terribly run states with huge deficits, as is Illinois. Please, go ahead.
Pody: I got to tell you, the people that are moving here out of those kinds of states because of their tax problems are coming here. We just don’t want them to bring their same politics here because they’re going to turn us into that kind of taxing state.
Carmichael: If there’s any extra money, have it to fund an educational program for newly minted Tennesseeans. (Laughter)
Leahy: That’s actually not a joke, because, as it turns out, there’s an idea called The Welcome Wagon.
Carmichael: I love it.
Leahy: Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has put this out. There’s some teeth behind it. And State Senator Pody, we’re going to bring this to you when it is fully developed in the next couple of weeks.
Pody: I look forward to it.
Carmichael: I love that. That’s right.
Leahy: We’re in the business of finding out ideas that Crom will love. (Laughter)
Listen to the full third hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.