All Star Panelist Clint Brewer Ponders the Fate of the Republican Party

All Star Panelist Clint Brewer Ponders the Fate of the Republican Party

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 all-star panelist Clint Brewer to the studio to discuss the replacement of Liz Cheney and the mechanics of a Republican Party destiny.

(Rep. Elise Stefanik clip plays)

Leahy: And that is Elise Stefanik who is the Congresswoman representing the congressional district in far Northern New York, where I used to live as a kid. And now last week, the big news, the political news in Washington, they threw Liz Cheney out of the conference chair position.

The number three position in the House of Representatives and replaced her with Elise Stefanik. Now, I think from a messaging point of view, Stefanik is absolutely on point. And Cheney was absolutely off point. What does this mean for the Republican Party’s future, Clint?

Brewer: Well, I mean, it’s a gamble, right? You could say that about anything in politics. But for this moment in time right now, I think she’s more on message for that House caucus. And I think the move was made because the House members who always have to seek reelection every two years, I think they’re looking to talk more about Democrats going into the midterms than they are a person in their own caucus. It had to do more fundraising in taking the House back than it did anybody’s ideology.

Leahy: Liz Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney under George W. Bush. She kind of got handed that seat in Wyoming. She’s not really from Wyoming.

Brewer: I think a lot of people get handed their seats in politics. (Laughs)

Leahy: I don’t disagree.

Brewer: That’s not unusual.

Leahy: We can’t criticize her too much about that. What was her thinking to go so far in attacking President Trump, and do we counter to the leadership, why did she think that was a good idea that would have a good outcome for her?

Brewer: I’m not sure she cared. I don’t think she did it because she thought it was politically savvy or a good idea. I think she did because it was her conviction. I think she believes it, and it’s her honest viewpoint. I know that’s an outlier in politics to actually share your honest viewpoint, but I think she’s just being honest with people about what she thought because it certainly didn’t help her any. So she wasn’t doing some desire to get ahead politically. I think she’s just telling what she felt like to be the truth.

Leahy: I think her duty, though, to me, if you’re going to be the number three person in the House, you should follow the party line. I think she probably should have resigned and then criticized Trump. But then she wouldn’t have got the visibility.

Brewer: That’s the gamble. So you see Cheney on one end of it, you see Stefanik and McCarthy on the other end of it. The gamble is you’re going to double down on your position. And there’s a fight for the party right now and which way it’s going to break. The House is a what have you done for me lately environment. They got to run.

Leahy: They’re running all the time.

Brewer: They are always running. They never start running.

Leahy: My hats off to all of the Republican members of the House of Representatives serving now because it’s a very frustrating job because it’s all being run dictatorially by Nancy Pelosi. They can’t get anything accomplished.

The only thing they can really do is to try to help in a year and a half, turn the House over and get Republicans in control. I think it’s a tough job. A frustrating job.

Brewer: Look, it’s a tough job if you’re in the majority. I mean, you’re always running. I think the standard stat that’s out there is in order to get re-elected to the House, you have to raise about $10,000 a day.

Leahy: That is a miserable existence.

Brewer: Yes it is.

Leahy: It really is.

Brewer: But, I mean, look, to your point about the party, the party right now is fractured. It’s trying to decide what the long-term prospects of the Donald Trump worldview are. And I think there are some people in the party, like Cheney, who disagree with it vehemently.

I think that every day that passes that former President Trump’s out of power and I think that worldview probably has a little less impact.

Leahy: I disagree. I think it’s gotten even more. I look at the polls in terms of Republicans and his support is as high as it’s ever been. Number one. Number two. Did you notice this? He’s going to start doing his rallies again.

Brewer: I did. And it’s going to be interesting to see how they go. I think early on, they’ll go really well, I just don’t believe it’s sustainable. I mean, you saw Reverend Franklin Graham come out and say, I don’t know if he’s going to be well enough health-wise and have the energy and the vigor needed to run again.

Leahy: Really? I missed that part of it. I’ve not heard that there are any health problems.

Brewer: I mean, he’s just his age. He’s reaching into advanced age.

Leahy: He’ll be about Joe Biden’s age in 2024.

Brewer: And look at what everybody says about Biden. I mean, it’s not a dissimilar situation.

Leahy: But they are just so different in terms of energy levels, don’t you think?

Brewer: In a gentleman of that age, a couple of years can make a big difference.

Leahy: That’s absolutely true.

Brewer: From 74 on every year, you’re looking for diminished capacity. We’re witnessing it with Joe Biden. And I think the party has to decide if that’s really the direction it wants to go. I mean, you’ve got a lot of people stepping up.

We talked about it in the studio during the Georgia run-offs. You had a host of characters headed down there. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: A host of characters. I like that. The usual suspects.

Brewer: The usual traditional displaying of plumage and ceremonial dances (Leahy laughs) that go along with sidling up to running for a major political office.

Leahy: That’s very good.

Brewer: And that’s what you saw. So I think you’ve got a number of U.S. senators interested in running. I think you’ve got members of his former cabinet who are interested in running.

Leahy: Mike Pompeo.

Brewer: Pompeo. Nikki Haley.

Leahy: She kind of self-destructed back there a little bit. Didn’t she?

Brewer: I think she’s probably more attuned to Liz Cheney than she is to Donald Trump in terms of her values. I think Stefanik and McCarthy. I mean, look at McCarthy before Trump, he was just kind of a templated neocon.

Leahy: A templated neocon. That’s very good.

Brewer: He was not a Trump populist, but he got on the bandwagon, and that’s what it is. It’s a bandwagon and bandwagons run out of steam and they run out of gas. They stop eventually.

Leahy: Now you talked about governors and we have some governors coming to Nashville in a couple of weeks. The Republican Governors Association.

Brewer: Big event.

Leahy: That we’re trying to get a ticket to for interviews. The leadership now in the Republican Party of action is at the level of governors. And, of course, the number one guy people think of Ron DeSantis in Florida.

Brewer: Well, I agree. And I think DeSantis is an interesting position. A lot of the knocks on Republicans have been how we’ve comported ourselves during the pandemic, and Florida has done really well. He’s made all the right moves. He managed it very well at the state level.

Leahy: By the way, the legacy media in Florida hate his guts.

Brewer: Oh yeah.

Leahy: Totally hate him. That’s one of the reasons why we started as our seventh title at the Star News Network. We started The Florida Capital Star and getting great stories out of there. A big story today, Jeb “low energy” Bush former governor there, that guy. He has come out and criticized Governor DeSantis for his support of online gambling for the Seminole Nation.

That’s become a bill down there, sports betting. And Jeb Bush has come out vigorously opposing that. I don’t think that helps. I don’t know why Jeb is doing that. But I think it’s popular, frankly, down there. DeSantis is doing a lot of popular things.

Brewer: Well, it’s popular everywhere. Human beings like to gamble. I think that’s something you can say pretty affirmatively no matter where you are, people find a way to gamble. Is it the best thing for society? I don’t know. But not entirely. But is it something we really have a right to tell people no on? Not really. Can the government regulate it and tax it so it’s not completely destructive. I mean, there’s a role there.

Leahy: And it’s online all kinds of gambling, not just sports doing down there. Well, it’s very interesting. We’re going to try to get Governor DeSantis in studio here in the next couple of weeks. Maybe Kristi Noem and a few others.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PJTN Founder and President Laurie Cardoza-Moore Updates on Critical Race Theory Curriculum

PJTN Founder and President Laurie Cardoza-Moore Updates on Critical Race Theory Curriculum

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Laurie Cardoza-Moore from Proclaiming Justice to the Nations to the newsmakers line to give updates on the Critical Race Theory curriculum that has been found in K-12 schools and recent legislation against it.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line now by our good friend Laurie Cardoza- Moore, the founder and President of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations. Good morning, Laurie.

Moore: Good morning, Michael! It’s great to be back on the show.

Leahy: Every time we turn around, there’s some other craziness going on in the world. We, of course, have the problem of Critical Race Theory that you became aware of quite a while ago when you discovered anti-semitic, anti-Christian, and anti-American content in the textbooks for your kids.

You were aware of this some time ago. Now we see school systems around the country that have been trying to promote Critical Race Theory. In Florida, they passed a law to stop that. There’s one pending here in Tennessee. Tell us what the latest is on the Critical Race Theory battle here in Tennessee and around the country.

Moore: Yes. Absolutely. I am so proud of our state legislature for dealing with this issue because these are lies. This is all fraudulent. Hitler said that if you repeat a lie often enough and long enough people will believe the lie. And this is exactly what they’re doing.

I am hearing from parents all over the country who are sending me images of what their children are being taught. Children are coming home as young as Elementary age, crying in tears. They hate the fact that they are White. We have another situation in Middle Tennessee that I’ve been made aware of a biracial child who comes from a biracial family.

And he said he hates the of his White side of his identity. This is outrageous that this is being tolerated. So kudos to all of our legislators who are taking this battle on. For Governor DeSantis for coming out and publicly saying no wacko theories in Florida.

And that’s exactly what every governor, every state legislature, and every Department of Education should be adopting. This is propaganda, pure and simple. It’s been around, Michael, for quite some time. We’re actually in the process of doing a report and compiling the data to show where this thought process originated.

And unfortunately, it happened in the South. In South Carolina, there’s a professor…but we’re going to be releasing that report soon. It’s outrageous that this is going on. We see Critical Race Theory even in Holocaust education.

We’ve got an issue in Florida where we submitted by recommendation of the Department of Education in Florida standard K-12 a Holocaust standard to teach the children in Florida from kindergarten through their senior year about anti-Semitism and the propaganda that, of course, the propaganda war that Hitler waged.

And we see this happening also. But they’re using Holocaust studies now. They’re using the death of six million men, women, and children to push Critical Race Theory ideology through Holocaust education. And we will not tolerate it.

Leahy: That’s crazy.

Moore: It absolutely is Michael. You’ve got the Critical Race Theory and there they’re using buzzwords in talking about the Holocaust. You’ll find all of these buzzwords like equity, tolerance, all of these words. And then they try to associate the Holocaust.

And what happened, the murder of 6 million men, women, and children, systemic murder of 6 million men, women, and children and they’re trying to use these words to incorporate other genocides. No, the Holocaust is central to the death and the target of Jews. This is what the Holocaust was.

They were targeting the Jews for annihilation. And to try to bring any other type of genocide or racism into this narrative is trying to water it down and to minimize it. When Hitler established his final solution, it was the final solution to the Jewish question. It wasn’t the final solution to the Gypsy question.

It wasn’t the final solution to the Communist question. It was the final solution to the Jewish question and anybody who tries to water that down is guilty of trying to revise the Holocaust. We see Holocaust revisionism, which is out of control. It is unacceptable.

And the fact that in Florida, Governor DeSantis passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which is the definition of antisemitism. We can’t seem to get that passed here in Tennessee. But I’m not giving up. But it basically states that anyone who says that the Jews have no rights to their ancient homeland, that is anti-Semitic.

And we see even that verbiage and that language in the attempt to try to remove our K-12 Holocaust standards. Our standards start with K-5. We introduce children to their Jewish classmates and their Jewish neighbors.

We teach them about their culture, the holidays, and things like that that young children can grasp. So when they start learning about the horrors of the Holocaust in middle school and high school, they will be as shocked as you and I were when we learned about the Holocaust ourselves.

Leahy: Laurie, we have a story at The Tennessee Star today. I haven’t seen it elsewhere, but I’ll just share this with you. And this is a group probably that could benefit from the work that you’re doing in the report you’re about to release.

Headline. Group Seeks to Share Personal Stories of Critical Race Theory. The Center for Renewing America is seeking to share stories of Critical Race Theory in action across the U.S. The group is working with America First Legal legal. A legal group, created by Stephen Miller and other Trump administration officials.

The two organizations share the goal of fighting critical race theory in various formats across the country. And so that group, you’re probably ahead of them. You could probably help them out.

Moore: Yes. There are more and more groups that are starting to rise up and to challenge this and as well, it should. We’re not going to fight this battle, Michael. We’re not going to go to war on a battlefield as we’ve done in past. This is the war of ideology and the war in the mind.

And they are trying to take the minds of the next generation to distort what you and I know to be factually accurate history. And we should not tolerate it. Parents need to look at the content. Parents that are sending their kids to school need to be asking questions of their children.

Are you being taught this? Are you being taught this Critical Race Theory, ideology? Are you being taught that because your White you happen to be promoting White privilege, and you are guilty because you happen to be born White you’re guilty of racism?

This is outrageous and should not be accepted anywhere. This country has brought people from different races, nationalities, and religious faith. We have lived in this country together, and it wasn’t until Obama came along and started pushing a narrative that wasn’t true.

He opened up an old wound and now these people, what we’re witnessing today, they’re trying to highlight this and trying to push this false narrative. And we again, as Patriots and as Americans have to fight for our history.

Why do you think, Michael, that the last year and a half, we saw young people destroying our monuments, tearing down our historical monuments? Those monuments are significant because they tell us they tell the story of our past. And if we eliminate these monuments, then we are removing the things in history that we can point to that remind us of who we were and who we are today.

Leahy: Laurie Cardoza-Moore, Founder, and President of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations on the web at PJTN.org. thanks so much for joining us this morning and come back in the near future, maybe come in studio someday. We’ll have a longer conversation.

Moore: Absolutely. Go to the website and sign the petition. God bless.

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.
Photo “Laurie Cardoza-Moore” by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida House Rep. Randy Fine Talks Recent Florida Legislation of Big Tech, Critical Race Theory, Pro-Police, and Anti-Rioting

Florida House Rep. Randy Fine Talks Recent Florida Legislation of Big Tech, Critical Race Theory, Pro-Police, and Anti-Rioting

 

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 Florida State Representative Randy Fine to the newsmakers line to discuss some of the Florida legislation that is going through the last days of session and how his state is leading the way.

Leahy: We are joined on the newsmaker line by state Representative Randy Fine of Florida. Good morning Representative Fine.

Fine: Good morning. Happy to be here.

Leahy: We are delighted to have you on here. I’m going to give you some news you may not know. As you know, we own and operate several state-based conservative news sites. And two weeks ago, we launched The Florida Capital Star. Floridacapitalstar.com. Right there, based in Tallahassee. We’ve got a crew of three folks here writing about what you guys are doing in the Florida state Legislature and what Governor DeSantis is doing. We are delighted to have you on here.

Fine: Well, we appreciate you getting the good word out on all the good work we’re doing down here.

Leahy: So your legislative session is about to wind up, I guess tomorrow is that right?

Fine: That’s right. We have a 60-day session by Constitution every year, and tomorrow will be the 60th day.

Leahy: So every time I turn around, you guys are passing legislation that should be viewed as a model by other States. What would you say are the top accomplishments of this session of the Florida state legislature?

Fine: I think number one, we will again pass a balanced budget, which we do every year while adding to our reserves. I like to tell people we do more than balance our budget. We actually put money in savings. That’s always our most important priority. But policy-wise, we’ve passed the most aggressive anti rioting, pro-police legislation in the country to make sure Florida never looks like Portland or Seattle. And we are also close to passing legislation to really hold Big Tech accountable for the way that they manipulate our data and the way that they censor and treat Conservatives.

Leahy: I looked at our website, floridacapitalstar.com, and I can see you had a couple of other bills. The Florida House passed a bill banning vaccine passports.

Fine: We did. We did. The governor feels very strongly that people should not have to prove that they have been vaccinated in order to go into particular businesses. And so that bill passed the Florida House overwhelmingly yesterday.

Leahy: The other thing I’ve been hearing about is that Governor DeSantis has said we’re not going to be teaching critical race theory in Florida. And I’ve also seen that apparently there are some bills out there that would provide bonuses to teachers in the Florida public school system that follow and take advanced training on the Constitution and civics. Where does that bill stand?

Fine: I’m actually the chair of K through 12 appropriations, so I set the budget. We’re very very aggressive on that front. Number one, minimizing the teaching of the hatred of America and that America is bad and everything that we do is bad. And that’s really what critical race theory says. Basically, let’s be critical of America and view everything through a racist lens.

We’re focused on celebrating America. We’ve passed multiple bills this year that focus on increasing civics as well as reminding people about what makes America great through creating new content to show folks portraits in patriotism, and to remind folks about the evil that’s involved in socialism and communism.

Leahy: So is there an incentive program for teachers that get special training on civics and related projects? Is that in the works? Has that been passed or about to be passed or under consideration?

Fine: We haven’t passed anything to provide incentives for it. But we’re doing one thing better. We’re going to require the teaching of this stuff in schools. So you’re not going to get paid extra to do the right thing. We’re going to expect you to do it as a condition of your job.

Leahy: How will that be monitored? Because one of the problems, we interview members of the Tennessee General Assembly all the time, and they have an idea about what’s being taught in the schools and often their idea of what should be taught and what is being taught is very different from what’s actually being taught.

Fine: Well, that’s a great question. So we passed other legislation this session that increases the availability of classroom materials to parents so the parents can see what’s going on. And we have very active parents in our state. But one other thing that we’ve done is that is sort of related to keep the schools honest is we have passed the largest expansion of school choice in the United States this year.

So we’re creating opportunities for all of our Florida families if they so choose to take their child if they’re not happy for any reason out of a government-run school and to put them into a different school.

Leahy: Tell us how that school choice program expansion will work. Here in Tennessee, this is something that we’re very interested in. We have had a few fits and starts in that Arena. And we look to Florida, as many States do, as a model.

Fine: We have hundreds of thousands of students already taking advantage of private school choice here in Florida. We’ve expanded that this year to say any family of four making $100,000 a year or less can get a voucher equivalent to what the state is paying the school to teach your child. You can get a voucher and take that to a private school. That’s what you want to do.

But in addition, we have a very expensive program for families of children with special needs. Whether they can get their money not only to go to a private school but if that child would be better off at home with specialized therapies and other kinds of products and services they can use it for that. So that is for special needs programs and middle-class programs.

Leahy: For a middle-class parent there, what’s that work out to be? About $7,000 a child?

Fine: That’s exactly right. It’s right around $7,000. And it changes from year to year. We’re talking about the income-based scholarship.

Leahy: Right. The income-based scholarship. But any parent down there with $100,000 or less can qualify for those voucher payments. Is that right?

Fine: So to make it simple, you make $99,000 a year. You’re a family of four with two kids in school, you can get $14,000. to send your child to a private school.

Leahy: Wow! And so I’m guessing that there are a lot of parents that are likely to line up to take advantage of that.

Fine: There are. But the fact of the matter is by having this accountability, our public schools and our charter schools have gotten better. So some parents go, well, hey, we appreciate that we have this option. It makes my government-run school have to do a lot better to keep me from leaving. So everybody wins.

Whether you’re going to a private school or whether you’re going to a charter school, which is a public school, or whether you’re going to a government-run public school. That increased competition benefits everybody.

Leahy: So how are teachers in Florida responding to all this? I know the teachers’ unions, particularly up here in Tennessee, are pretty hostile to these kinds of policy changes. What’s the case down in Florida?

Fine: Well, teachers’ unions hate them, but teachers don’t necessarily because whether you’re teaching in a private school or a government-run school or charter school, they is still a job for you. But I don’t do this job for teachers unions. I do this job for children. I do this job for parents. And those folks overwhelmingly like these programs.

But if you are a teacher in a government-run school, Florida has raised our minimum teacher salaries to among the highest in the country at $47,500 which is a pretty good salary for a job where you get 14 weeks a year off.

Leahy: So you are likely to wrap up tomorrow. Do you think you’ll be there until midnight? How long will it take to get all the business done?

Fine: We can’t vote under our Constitution until 12:06 tomorrow on our budget. We have to actually give 72 hours after we print the budget before we vote on it. So I think sometime mid-afternoon. And by the way, I’m in my fifth year in the legislature and this will be the first time in those five years that we actually end on time.

Leahy: Ah. Do you give Governor DeSantis credit for that or the leadership?

Fine: I give everybody credit. I give credit to Governor DeSantis. I give credit to President Wilton Simpson, who’s the President of our Senate, and Speaker Chris Sprowls, my Speaker. I think they’ve all worked really well together to get the job done.

Leahy: So Saturday morning, you’re going to wake up and the session will be over. Is your job as a state representative over, or do you just turn the page to some other sorts of activities?

Fine: Well, it won’t be over, unfortunately, because we have to come back in two weeks to do a special session on casinos in Florida, which really isn’t a basic function of our regular session. But beyond that, I’ll go home, and I’ll start to talk to folks about the work that we did up here. And I’ll also get to know my family again. I’ve hardly seen them for the last two months.

Leahy: So do you stay up in Tallahassee during most of this time or do you go back and forth?

Fine: It’s a Monday to Friday job, and I live a six-hour drive away. So I’m lucky to get home for 24 to 48 hours every weekend. Especially when session gets busier.

Leahy: That’s a big personal sacrifice. What’s the toll on your family life?

Fine: It’s a lot. You get to a point of week six or seven of session where you think of home as more Tallahassee, and then you’re visiting your family. And then it’s sort of like re-entry as people have described it. And I’m not trying to compare this to being in the military, but people describe it as you sort of have been deployed for 60 days and then you go through the reentry process when you get home.

But I’ve now been through it four times, and I’ll get through it again. It takes a big big toll on your family because you’re just gone and it’s very busy when we’re up here.

Leahy: Well, thanks for all the hard work that you’re doing for the folks in Florida State Rep. Randy Fine.

Listen to the full first 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.
Background Photo “Florida Capitol” by DXR. CC BY-SA 4.0.

 

 

 

 

 

State Senator Mike Bell Talks Big Tech Pushback Legislation and His Current Bill Allowing for Elected Grand Division Justices Statewide

State Senator Mike Bell Talks Big Tech Pushback Legislation and His Current Bill Allowing for Elected Grand Division Justices Statewide

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Tennessee State Senator Mike Bell to the studio who discussed the status of a Big Tech pushback bill in the General Assembly and the bill he is carrying that would create three statewide Chancery courts.

Leahy: We are in studio with our good friend State Senator Mike Bell represents within County and a few of the counties down that neck of the woods. Mike, you were telling me something during the break. That a guy that you’re working with a stonemason building your house listens to this program.

Bell: He listens every morning and  I want to give a shout-out to Ben Lances. My wife and I are building a home right now, and I did the stonework for us, and tile work does a great job and he listens to you. In fact, he’s probably the only one I know of there in my area because I’m three hours away who knows about your program and listens every morning. Hello, Ben. Good morning.

Leahy: Ben, thank you for listening. You obviously have good political judgment.

Bell: He does. He’s a hardcore conservative guy.

Leahy: Good. We broadcast over Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC here and 1510 on the AM band big 500 watt Clear Channel station. And the FM station just covers mostly Middle Tennessee. You can listen to us on the iHeart app, which I think great. But if all goes well, sometimes this quarter we will be syndicated to radio stations around the state of Tennesse.

Bell: Good.

Leahy: So you can listen to us from all around the state. If all goes well. We are coming into the last few weeks of the session. And as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, you are involved in a very important bill. We’ll talk about that in a second. Our listers are interested in what’s happening with the Big Tech pushback bill. Several other state legislatures have addressed that. Florida, I think, has passed a bill that involves some pushback against the Big Tech censors, Facebook, Google, et cetera. Now I understand that you are the one carrying that bill.

Bell: I am myself and Rep. Johnny Garret are carrying that.

Leahy: Johnny Garrett. The Majority Whip.

Bell: He is.

Leahy: A great baseball guy.

Bell: Oh, good.

Leahy: Johnny is the President of a Little League. I think it’s the Goodlettsville Little League. And he and I have been talking with the guys at Music City Baseball and went down and had lunch with them. And we have some ideas to help spread baseball around Tennessee because I’m a big baseball fan, too. So Johnny he’s in the House and you are in the Senate.

Bell: That’s right. And we modeled it after the Florida legislation. So we essentially copied the Florida legislation modified at Tennessee. But we did it kind of late in the session and trying to the issue with this is how do you figure out where the state authority starts and where the federal authority stops. Because most of these institutions that we want to push back against as you mentioned, Facebook, Google.

Leahy: Twitter.

Bell: Twitter. Any of those are regulated at the federal level. And what can we do in Tennessee actually put teeth into law, not just pass something for show. We could have probably passed something for show. But we are going to actually put teeth into this law to push back against Big Tech censoring conservative views. This doesn’t go both ways. If you follow social media as I do, they’re not getting complaints from the liberal side.

Leahy: Because they are not censoring them.

Bell: That’s right. It’s coming from the conservative side.

Leahy: They are amplifying liberal messages.

Bell: That’s right. In that short time, we couldn’t figure out how to pass a bill that actually put teeth into a way to, I guess, punish Big Tech for censoring. So we laid it over. We’re going to look at it this summer. In fact, I expect both the Speaker of the House and Speaker of the Senate, to name study committees that will take a serious look at what we can do to push back against Big Tech. And I expect them to name those before the session ends.

Leahy: So that may happen. The bill could be recommended over the summer study period.

Bell: That’s right.

Leahy: Then possibly reintroduce it at the beginning of the next session of the Tennessee General Assembly in January of 2022.

Bell: That’s correct. That’s what the plans are.

Leahy: And you are also our chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Bell: Yes. It is somewhat unusual being a non-attorney and being chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Leahy: How did you become chairman?

Bell: Well, I’ve been on the committee and I’m in my 11th year. And, of course, the chairman of any committee is named by the Speaker and the Speaker asked me if I’d like to do it. I think he appreciates the fact that as a non-attorney, how do I put this, sometimes attorneys may be a little hesitant to take on the judiciary because they work in that sphere. They work where they could receive retribution.

Leahy: From a judge.

Bell: I’ve got no fear of that.

Leahy: So tell us about the bill that you’re carrying, and why you think it’s important and where it stands.

Bell: Let’s take us back to last summer when we had our voting laws challenged here in the state of Tennessee. And they were heard before Chancery here in Davidson County because that’s what the state law says. Any time a state law is challenged, it’s always heard in Davidson County Chancery Court.

Leahy: Let’s just stop for a moment. How many Chancery courts are there in the state of Tennessee?

Bell: Oh, goodness. I think there are 31 judicial districts. And so there would be somewhere around that number of Chancery Courts.

Leahy: I can see where this is going. When the law was passed a long time ago, the politics in Nashville were probably not any different than the politics or the rest of the state.

Bell: Very, very similar. You got it. You know where this bill is going.

Leahy: So it didn’t make any difference 100 years ago where lawsuits against the state would be brought.

Bell: Absolutely.

Leahy: Now, common sense, since the state capital is in Nashville, you would say it would be brought into Davidson County. Except, the state of Tennessee has changed quite a bit. There are 95 counties and 92 of them are rock-rib conservative.

Bell: Absolutely.

Leahy: And two of them are far left. And Haywood County is kind of 50/50, 55/45 Democrat. Three counties, I think, went for Biden this time. And one was Shelby, which went overwhelmingly in the Memphis area. And then Davidson County went, and we’re about 65/35. But that’s it. So Davidson County is not at all representative of the state of Tennessee.

Bell: It doesn’t reflect the politics of the state of Tennessee at all. And that’s the reason for this bill. Why should a Chancery court that’s elected by the most liberal constituency in the state be deciding the cases? And I attacked when I presented this bill in committee, I attacked this argument head-on. I even mentioned Chief Justice John Roberts’s remark several months ago when he said there was any difference between an Obama judge, a Bush judge, a Clinton judge, or a Trump judge.

We all know that’s BS. That’s complete BS. (Leahy laughs) What’s the old line from Outlaw Josey Wales? Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Well, that’s what he was doing. And he was trying to tell us that there’s no difference between judges. Why is it a big deal every time we have a presidential election? Because we know who appoints that next Supreme Court judge and hopefully they’re going to reflect the philosophy of the party that elected the President.

And we know that at the national level. Don’t try to tell me that’s not going on here at the state level. I took it head-on that yes, I’m absolutely wanting to get cases out of a court that’s predominantly Democrat and follows a Democrat philosophy because that’s the type of people who are running for these positions. That’s the type of people who are electing these. And so why shouldn’t we…

Leahy: Far-left actually in my view.

Bell: And so what this bill does is create three statewide Chancery court positions that would be elected statewide.

Leahy: Three statewide. One for each division.

Bell: One for each division. Middle Tennessee, the East, Middle, and West. But they have to be elected statewide because of a provision in the Constitution that says they have to be elected by the people they represent. And so they would be from each grand division but they would actually run statewide. I would have preferred to have the East Tennesse judge be elected by East Tennessee people, Middle, and West.

But we can’t do that because of the language in the Constitution. So they would run statewide but then this panel of judges would hear any constitutional challenges against the state. They would hear any appeals of administrative law. But everything now that’s going to Davidson County Chancery Court would go to these three.

Leahy: Well, that’s a really great idea.

Bell: It’s a fantastic idea, and I don’t take complete credit for it. I’ve been working with our Lieutenant Governor, Speaker McNally. I’ve been working with him on this bill as well. And it’s something that came up before the decision on the voting law that I mentioned that came out of Chancellor Lyles court here in Davidson County.

Leahy: Chancellor Lyle. She has been very prominent in many decisions, few of which I agree with. (Chuckles)

Bell: Yeah, I would agree with that. But it’s modeled after our bill that passed goodness when I was still in the House 11 or 12 years ago, that allowed administrative law cases to get out of Davidson County Court and be heard in the county from where the defendant lived. And so we’re trying to move these cases out of liberal Davidson County.

Listen to the full first 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