Tennessee State Rep. Jason Zachary Discusses Upcoming Special and Legislative Sessions Focus on Education and Medicaid Block Grant

Tennessee State Rep. Jason Zachary Discusses Upcoming Special and Legislative Sessions Focus on Education and Medicaid Block Grant

 

Live from Music Row Thursday 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 (R) TN State Representative Jason Zachary to the newsmakers line.

During the third hour, Zachary discussed next week’s special and legislative sessions that will focus on learning laws and how Tennessee will prepare to be the first state in the nation to use the block grant initiated by President Trump. He described his roles as being part of the ad hoc committee regarding executive powers and that he will be going after unelected health boards that are attacking individual liberty.

Leahy: And on the newsmaker line state representative Jason Zachary. Good morning Representative Zachary.

Zachary: Good morning. How are you guys?

Leahy: I’m great. You may not recall this but you and I first met in 2013-2014 up in Maryville when you were running for Congress, I believe. And I was organizing the Beat Lamar campaign. Do you remember that?

Zachary: I do absolutely I believe it was even at the Blount County Library.

Leahy: Yes! You are exactly right. It was at the Blount County library and you have had quite a career since then very conservative member of the State House of Representatives here in Tennessee. What is the big agenda issue that you see in both the special session on education and in the regular session and thereafter?

Zachary: Sure. Well interestingly enough This is my fourth term and we are actually starting at a faster pace right now than we’ve ever started. Committees actually are going to be meeting today. We have something that most Tennesseans because of everything that’s gone on nationally most of what we’re doing right now is not getting attention. But we are getting ready to be the first state in the nation to move forward with a block grant from Medicaid.

The president approved that. We actually suspended the rules yesterday to be able to hear that in committee and walk that through the process. That will be an all-day endeavor for us here in the legislature. And that’s big news. But in terms of next week’s special session, I’m glad the governor’s done it because it really gives us the ability to focus on learning laws and focus on BEP funding especially for a county like my Knox County.

We are a donor county so we would take a significant loss with students not being in the classroom this year for BEP funding. We’ve got students and teachers that have just my wife’s a teacher. She’s a middle school teacher and the incredible stress that they’re under just keeping the doors open. So we’re going to address testing and holding schools and teachers harmless as we kind of walk through this.

Still providing accountability, but holding them harmless. It’s an important step to take and to get this off the table. Some of these steps we usually don’t take until May of the session. So it’s good to be able to take this now. But overall in terms of a special session when we come back probably that first week of February just from my perspective it’s really just doing what we’ve done since I’ve been here.

It’s making sure we do the best we can to limit government and limit regulation. Keep taxes low and keep spending under control. We’ve done a great job with that over the last 10 years and the record kind of speaks for itself. But we’ve got bigger work to do especially with this pandemic kind of hanging over everything that we do.

I’ve chaired the ad hoc committee regarding executive powers. And then I’m going after these unelected health boards that are attacking liberty and are big areas like it’s never been done before. Those are those that will be the two big things I’m involved in.

Leahy: Last night Murray County Mayor sent a letter to the governor and to the speaker and to the lieutenant and two members of the House and Senate and said look Facebook, Google, Twitter Amazon are stifling free speech. The state has some Authority here. There are $70 billion under management and invested by the state. He wants the state to divest of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon stock. And also to stop advertising with Google, Facebook, and Twitter. What do you make of that proposal?

Zachary: Well, I think that we have an oligarchy of tech companies that have been enabled by our federal government through Section 230. And it’s not something that has been talked about much. And I believe that indirectly the federal government is able to able to launch an assault on the First Amendment. I know some people have said well, it’s the first amendment, free speech and the First Amendment doesn’t really apply because it’s not government.

I completely disagree. What I have done through The Heritage Foundation and is more reading on Section 230. And I believe it’s Section 230 in Section ACB and it specifically says that through Section 230 they have certain protections and immunities. It references them as internet companies because back, when this was passed there wasn’t a Google and there wasn’t a social media and there wasn’t Amazon.

But it specifically says the internet companies are allowed to censor constitutionally protected speech. It says that specifically. I even Tweeted that a couple of days ago. And so the federal government is indirectly coming after the first amendment and working to silence us through that. I truly believe that. And these tech companies are leading the way. And if we have tech companies that are more powerful than the president of the United States then that’s a problem.

So I appreciate Andy. I know Andy, I appreciate him drafting that letter. We had a little bit of conversation about that this week. I think that will probably ramp up. We had an organizational period. And again we spent which never happens. We spent hours on the House floor yesterday going through this Medicaid block grant that we’ve got that we’re working to get past.

So I believe those conversations will ramp up after we get through this. And I’ve already had some conversations with various departments about where we stand as a state with those tech companies and absolutely it’s something that needs to be addressed. I’m glad he wrote the letter.

Swain: Now what are you all doing to prepare for the assault from the left? Because we know what the Biden administration, we already see it with the media and the local media. They’re willing to lie and distort when it serves their purposes. They will come full force against you guys. Have you planned your strategy?

Zachary: Yes, Carol. That’s a great question. It’s interesting you ask that because actually the governor and I were texting about that a couple of days ago and about firewalling the state of Tennessee. What steps do we need to take and what planning needs to be done even above and beyond what we typically do to firewall us from the federal government.

So if three, four, or five months from now, they come to us and say these are the steps that you need to take and we say no as Tennessee and we’re not going to take those steps because we’re not going to be complicit with a government that will probably be initiating a socialist agenda and try to continue to strip away our Constitution. Tennesseans are not going to be complicit with that.

Swain: Well that’s the problem. But the other part is that when you’re dealing with the Medicaid block grant and these other issues the left is going to come at you full force as far as the media. Do you have a plan as far as selling your ideas to the public so that they will not be distorted by the left?

Zachary: We do. actually yeah we had a caucus meeting and discussed that yesterday specific to the Medicaid block grant program. Here are just the quick details. So it’s basically a block grant that comes to us from Medicaid and it gives us incredible flexibility. Right now we have what could buy what most publications considered one of the top five run Medicaid programs in the country. Ours is TennCare.

But right now when we are not rewarded or incentivized to save and steward resources well. So we can save money. But we as Tennesseans don’t get to participate in those savings. So now what this block grant does is they provide us with the block grant with just a few requirements versus the incredible strings and entanglements were under now. But any savings that we incur we’re able to keep half that money versus sending it all back to the federal government.

Swain: The part that you keep, are you able to use it for medical expenses? Because we know that there are increased costs that relate to the elderly and those costs will probably be increasing rather than decreasing because of the age of the population. So, how will the savings be used?

Zachary: Yes ma’am that’s a great question. That was going to be my very next point. It will give us the ability to do is enhance the services within Medicaid. During the pandemic that role has grown by 100,000 Tennesseans have been added to the Medicaid program. But with the additional savings, it will allow us to give enhanced services. It will allow if we chose to do so to increase the various populations that we’re servicing.

Provide a higher quality of healthcare because of that savings. It will give us much more flexibility to run it the Tennessee way. But it won’t cost more money to us or the federal government because we will be much more efficient. Because we don’t have the entanglements and requirements of the federal government. Something we talked about yesterday Carol, in talking about messaging. I’ve already started getting emails about it.

So many continue to bang that Medicaid expansion drum. Which thank the Lord we did not take that step. That was just before I got here. But if you were for Medicaid expansion and you are on the left, yesterday we had two hours of Democrats railing against this. How could we do this? How could we take this step with a block grant? If you are for Medicaid expansion you should absolutely be for this block grant because it will allow us to service Tennesseans better under Medicaid.

But it will allow us in the Tennessee way to expand populations if we chose to do so without the entanglements and the cost associated with what would have been Medicaid expansion. We’re going to be so much more efficient in the way we run the program that we will be able to serve larger populations in some respects if we chose to do so. It doesn’t mean we have to. The rolls have swollen to 100,000 over the last year and we’ve been able to walk and manage through that.

Leahy: Jason Zachary. Thank you so much for joining us today. Very enlightening.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Talks About His Letter to Governor Lee About Forced Investment to Companies that Censor

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Talks About His Letter to Governor Lee About Forced Investment to Companies that Censor

 

Live from Music Row Thursday 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 Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles to the newsmakers line.

At the top of the second hour, Ogles explained his recent proposal to Governor Bill Lee suggesting Tennessee discontinue doing business or any investing in support of companies that advocate for censorship. He continued to voice his concern noting that the United States is in a situation where non-governmental agencies and government tell you what you can and can’t say and when you can and cannot say it.

Leahy: And our guest on the newsmaker line Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. Welcome, Andy.

Ogles: Good morning. How are you?

Leahy: I’m great. Yesterday you made some news and you sent a letter to Governor Bill Lee and Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally and Speaker of the House Cam Sexton. I’ll read from this and then just get your reaction. ‘Tennessee and should not be forced to invest in support the very companies that are conspiring to silence them.

Furthermore, the state of Tennessee should refrain from doing business with these companies by way of prohibition of advertising on Google, Facebook or Twitter. And a prohibition of Amazon Services until such time these companies admit their errors and remove said censorship and prohibitions from their respective platforms. Have you received any response to this proposal yet Andy?

Ogles: Not directly from leadership. But last night I had several members of both in the Senate and the House reach out to me thanking me for taking a bold stance and thought that it would be great and that they were going to work on legislation to try to get introduced. Now just to set expectations, you know, they convened for session. They are in their organizational phase but then next week they go into special session which will last three to five days. and then they’ll recess till probably March or April. So there’s not much going to be done from the legislature outside of education just because of the way it’s structured this year.

Leahy: Gotcha, so, What would be the very specific proposals? And has anybody said I’m going to sponsor such a proposal?

Ogles: Not yet. But you know, when you think about it and a lot of people realize that states across the country they have retirement plans and they have huge cash amounts dollars that they have to invest. They have budget surpluses etc. And so the state of Tennessee, the state of Florida, Utah, South Carolina, etc., they’re all huge institutional investors.

So, you know up there, you know in Nashville, you know, we’ve got 100 or 150 or so in a department and that’s all they do is invest Tennessee’s money. and so, you know these states have a lot of power. And look you can like Trump you can hate trump. It doesn’t matter. The fact that they have censored the president of the United States is incredibly concerning, period.

And that’s why you’re seeing the chancellor of Germany, the president of France, the president of Mexico and Brazil all saying hold on a minute. This is wrong. You can disagree with this man. and you know in France and Mexico their respective leaders don’t like President Trump, so it’s not like they’re in love with this man, but they understand we’re in a state where suddenly the President of the United States can be blocked, banned, censored and there’s no recourse.

They just have all the authority. And this is a scary time. We’re an Orwellian time today. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but now we’re in a situation where you have non-governmental agencies and the government telling you what you can and can’t say and when you can and cannot say it. And that’s the United States, I’m not talking about Venezuela. I’m talking about here in our country now.

Leahy: How big is this investment fund that the state of Tennessee has under its control? Is it like 100 million a 150 million? How big is it?

Ogles: Well, yeah, I don’t know the answer to that. We have a rainy day fund and we have budget surpluses. We have funded pension funds. So you’re talking upwards of a billion dollars.

Leahy: There’s a let’s say there are a billion dollars. And that billion dollars is typically invested in bonds and stocks. and a lot of that if it’s a typical stock portfolio, you would have a lot of investment I would think in Google and Facebook and Twitter, I would guess right?

Ogles: You would assume. And so once these states and it would only take a handful to suddenly pull out of Twitter to pull off some of these technology companies and hits them and punish them through their stock. The other thing that can be done is just simply not Google advertising. Don’t advertise it on Twitter or Facebook. And you know, what’s unfortunate is that you know, Facebook has become and Twitter has become a major form of communication.

So they have gone beyond just being a business being part of the media. And so they’re in a hybrid situation of where yes their company. You know, it’s one thing to let’s say you were I or on Twitter or on Facebook and we post something that’s inflammatory or shouldn’t be posted. I get it. They have the right to delete that particular post. But to blatantly block and then delete the President of the United States again, I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat or Independent, that should concern you to a degree that you can’t sleep at night.

Listen to the full second 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crom Carmichael: ‘A Free Society Cannot Stand for Long When People Are Treated Unequally’

Crom Carmichael: ‘A Free Society Cannot Stand for Long When People Are Treated Unequally’

 

Live from Music Row Monday 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 to the studio who commented on the recent banning of the conservative social media app Parler and explained the importance of equal treatment necessary to maintain a free society.

Leahy: We are joined on Monday here at 6:30 by our good friend the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael. Good morning, Crom.

Carmichael: Michael, good morning, sir.

Leahy: Well Crom, you and I have been friends for about 30 years. I have a sense that we are in the process of watching a huge change in this country.

Carmichael: I think you’re right. And you know, I want to go back to kind of some first principles that we’ve been with that we’ve talked about for quite a while. There are two in particular. One is equal treatment. Not just under the law but equal treatment as a general principle.

Leahy: Not just the law but let’s say business practices for instance or interacting with other individuals.

Carmichael: Yes. And if people are treated unequally for example, and this is an extreme example, but it’s an accurate example. In the days of slavery, Black people under the law were treated very unequally in the South. And then even after the Civil War was over in the South. The Jim Crow laws and all the other laws that were on the books treated people unequally.

And a free society cannot stand for long when people are treated unequally. And today what you have is you have a government. You have a Big Tech complex. You have colleges, universities, and K12 that are all now treating people very very unequally. And I’m sure you may have discussed it earlier this morning. I heard the last 20 minutes as I drove in that Parler has been shut down.

And it’s an effort by a number of companies that acted in concert and they couldn’t have possibly acted separately and done so in the manner that they did it and it swiftly as they did it. Parler has been essentially removed from the planet. And Amazon. I was getting little messages from Devin Nunes yesterday kind of giving the countdown. I assume that as of now Amazon has shut Parler off of its servers. And I have no idea if Parler still exists. But it was taken out of the Apple Store. It was taken out of Google’s store and so it’s been eliminated.

Leahy: So if you go to Parler.com right now. You can’t download the app from the Apple store right now, right? But if you go to Parler.com on the web.

Carmichael: You may be. But try and make the app work.

Leahy: Let me tell you what it says. But Parler.com right now says this site can’t be reached. I’ll do some research on that.

Carmichael: But again are you are aware of what I’m talking about?

Leahy: I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’m saying this is additional to what you’re talking about.

Carmichael: The Parler app was hosted on the Amazon Cloud and Amazon has shut them down. And Google shut them down. But the way Amazon shut him down is particularly interesting because they gave him 24 hours notice on a Saturday. Which meant that they had a Sunday. It was intentional. It was very intentional to do what they did.

Now in addition let’s just go through a few other stories to kind of add too much worse the point. That I’m trying to make here and that ABC News calls for the cleansing. That’s a quote. The cleansing of Trump supporters in the wake of what happened at the Capitol. Now, let’s review very quickly what happened at the Capitol. You had 300,000 people who went there to protest the election results without an investigation.

Leahy: On the mall.

Carmichael: On the mall. That’s what they did. Then many of them marched down to the Capitol. And protesters have marched to the Capitol countless. So they march to the Capitol and the Capitol Hill police were essentially not present.

Leahy: Not present.

Carmichael: They weren’t there. And by the way, the head of the Capitol police has resigned. The Sergeant at Arms of the House has resigned. The Sergeant Arms of the Senate has resigned. And by the way, you know who supervises the Capitol police?

Leahy: I would imagine it’s Speaker Pelosi.

Carmichael: Yes. And it’s as if this was a setup.

Leahy: As if.

Carmichael: To have the House actually invaded. And perhaps and we don’t know this but we have in history had many examples of one side-dressing up like the other side. In fact in our own country the Boston Tea Party. It was a great example of Americans dressing up as Indians or Native Americans. And then they destroyed the chests of tea in Boston Harbor. And then in Germany, they did the same thing. Hitler did the same thing.

Leahy: That was the example I was thinking. What came to mind but not exactly a parallel was the burning of the Reichstag.

Carmichael: There are just not two examples in history. There’s there would be numerous examples. And so and did did did some Trump supporters going to the Capitol? Yes, they did. Did they think it was funny? Probably. Where they wrong? Yes. Okay. However, if you’re a Trump supporter and you look at how the officials reacted to the burning of Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Seattle, and Portland, and then you looked at how everybody reacted. Including Speaker Pelosi who said people will do what they do.

That was her quote. People will do what they do when they were destroying the federal courthouse in Portland. But I don’t want want to dwell too much on that because there are some other things that are happening. Pelosi calls Trump unhinged and personally talks to the military chief in an attempt to thwart Trump’s power.

Leahy: And that by the way, those actions of her personally talking to the military chief could be considered unconstitutional.

Carmichael: Could be but it doesn’t matter. You have to have the power to do something. And if the power to do something doesn’t do something guess what? Something doesn’t happen. Trump passes and signs executive orders taking aim at China’s digital totalitarianism. So he has signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese apps including Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Leahy: WeChat Pay. Interesting.

Carmichael: WeChat Pay. But there are eight of them. It’ll be interesting to see if Biden when he becomes president, is inaugurated whether or not he undoes that executive order. Now, this went completely under the radar as far as I know, but the Communist Party of China has arrested 50 people, the opposition to the Communist Party. 50 people in Hong Kong. So the entire opposition of the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong.

These are political people, have now been arrested by the Chinese Communist Party. The Catholic Church according to The Epoch Times has been infiltrated by globalists. You can put quotes around that. ‘The Chinese Communist Party.’ Let me go back to my point that if people are treated unequally and the Trump people are being treated almost as if they are the 50 people from Hong Kong.

And all of the organizations associated with the Trump people. Parler is it is probably the most prominent example, but I would imagine that what will happen in the next 12 months. And it may happen sooner rather than later, is it there will be language passed in Congress that that essentially stifles talk radio. Because all of the channels that the people who support the ideas of Trump, and that let me make something clear.

Trump was elected in part because of Obama. And Trump probably was re-elected. What’s interesting is Trump was ranked the most admired person in America followed by Michelle Obama. Biden with way down the list. Now you’d think that somebody who’s just won an election by millions of votes would be very high up on the list.

Leahy: Hmm. It’s kind of curious that he’s not.

Carmichael: But Biden is not he’s not admired. He’s not even admired by the people who voted for him. We’re in a very delicate situation. And when I say delicate I see this as a football game where all the referees have been told to throw flags on only one team.

Leahy: Yeah. That’s what it feels like.

Listen to the full second 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.