State Rep. Chris Todd Discusses His New Bill Proposing Term Limits for Members of the United States Congress

State Rep. Chris Todd Discusses His New Bill Proposing Term Limits for Members of the United States Congress


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 Tennessee State Representative (R), Chris Todd of Jackson, to the studio where he explained his new resolution HJR0008 calling for term limits for members of the U.S. Congress.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by State Representative Chris Todd from Jackson. We’re going to talk a little bit about a resolution he has here. It’s fascinating. If you want to chat with representative Todd our number is 615-737-9522. Chris, you have introduced a resolution HJR0008. Tell us about that.

Todd: This is a resolution that once it’s passed it will be sent to the U.S. Congress and it will be a request for them to call an Article V. A constitutional Article V convention for the states to meet for one purpose and that is to propose amendments to the Constitution. And this particular resolution is for one single topic and that is for term limits on the U.S. Congress.

Leahy: Now in the resolution, you don’t specify what those limits should be. In other words what you don’t say members of the House of Representatives can only serve six terms.

Todd: Exactly. Yes. This is up to the delegates. Once they get there and debate this if they come to an agreement. That’s if they come to an agreement, then they would propose that amendment to the Constitution back to the States and it would then take 38 states to actually ratify. So any change to our Constitution whatsoever takes 38 states to ratify that change.

Leahy: And there are two ways to get it to consideration by state legislatures for ratification.

Todd: Yes.

Leahy: One is to have the House and the Senate pass it. I think that requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate to get it to the states for consideration. But the other way is to hold this Article V convention. Has there ever been an Article V Convention held in the United States?

Todd: There is not. Congress has always proposed every single amendment to the Constitution and then given the states the ability to ratify that. Many have failed, but as we know many have passed. We just celebrated the last summer the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote. Tennessee was the last state to actually ratify that.

Leahy: I did not know that.

Todd: Very interesting history on that one. When you look at the Constitution, it’s an amazing document. It was certainly divinely-inspired. There’s no question about that. And to have this particular article in there that gave the states the ability to amend the Constitution when Congress would not respond. And I know our own famed U.S. Senator Fred Thompson many years ago had a strong push to get this done and it failed at the last minute.

They pulled the rug out from under him. And so we know as citizens that Congress is never going to limit themselves. That’s been proven and it’s probably more so now. And so it’s up to the states to deal with this. And this is the way that our founders put it in there. You can look at all the documents that they wrote about the Constitution and all the opinions they had about it. And they certainly line up to support this exact method and effort to rein in Congress.

Leahy: What you just said about the divine inspiration of the Constitution. This is something that Os Guinness has written about Os is a descendant of the Guinness Brewery guy, but he’s a scholar. He has written about what he calls the Golden Triangle of Freedom. And in that he says in any society freedom requires virtue. Virtue requires faith. And Faith requires freedom. And the entire basis of our constitutional republic he says is built on that Golden Triangle of Freedom. I tend to agree with him on that.

Todd: I would too. I certainly would too.

Leahy: Now the Article V convention I think there’s a group that my friend Mark Meckler one of the early founders of the Tea Party Movement. And now he’s acting as the interim CEO of Parler. A very accomplished guy. He put this convention of states together idea to get an Article V convention. I think they’ve got like 16 states that have signed on to it. This would make Tennessee the 17th state except this is a very narrow purpose, right? The only thing under this resolution an Article 5 convention could address would be term limits.

Todd: Exactly. And our delegates that we send from the state of Tennessee are bound by whatever our legislature tells them to do at that convention by law under punishment. If they do not we can remove them as delegates and charge them with a Class E Felony.

Leahy: Class E Felony. That’s something you do not want to have on your record.

Todd: No sir.

Leahy: So in theory, if they got up to I think they need like two thirds of the state 36 states.

Todd: 34.

Leahy: 34 states to have an Article V convention. If this went if this passes would this would make Tennessee like the 17th state?

Todd: Potentially. The convention of the states has not contacted me since I’ve started running his this year. So I’m not really sure all of those 16 if they are a single article resolution or multiple. Because in the past they’ve had multiple they’ve had balanced budget amendment for another lumped into that. And so there’s some I guess debate as to whether or not you could call a convention if 34 states had a mixture of calls basically.

Leahy: That’s an interesting point. The resolution could say the state legislature of I don’t know Nebraska as an example. I don’t know if they’re on the list but they could say yes, let’s call a convention of states and we’ll talk about anything. Anything is on the table. But that’s not what your resolution does.

Todd: Correct. It is very very narrow. And because of that debate us term limits is another nonprofit organization that is really striving to get this done. They’ve started this new effort to do just single a single article of all the states and that way there’s no debate. There’s no question. when it goes to Congress the Constitution says they shall once 34 states gives them this resolution. They shall set a time and a place for the convention.

Leahy: Now, why did you decide that this was important? Why did you decide that you wanted to spend your time working on this resolution in this session of the general assembly?

Todd: Well a couple of reasons. One I believe in the effort. I believe the effort for term limits is a necessity. On a state level and I’ve had many people ask me this question. Are going to propose the same thing for the state legislature? and years ago I probably would have said yes, but as I have seen elections. Not just because I ran. But I was probably more involved running for office and I watched other elections. And I’ve seen in the last go-around how easy it is to turn over this particular legislature in the state of Tennessee.

Leahy: So you don’t see the need here.

Todd: The money is so big on a national level that’s what is the barrier.

Leahy: And, the money to elect somebody in Tennessee 90 percent of it can come from all like California and New York.

Listen to the 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












State Rep. Chris Todd of Jackson, Tennessee Outlines His Resolution Regarding Right to Work in the State

State Rep. Chris Todd of Jackson, Tennessee Outlines His Resolution Regarding Right to Work in the State


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 Tennessee State Representative (R), Chris Todd of Jackson, to the studio to discuss his resolution that would result in constitutional amendment giving workers the freedom to not be mandated to join a union.

Leahy: In the studio with us state representative Chris Todd from Jackson. Chris. You have a resolution, a very important one for a state Constitutional Amendment about the right to work. Tell us about that. What is it? Why is it important? Where is it going?

Todd: A citizen’s right to work without being under the command if you will and an obligation to pay union dues is enshrined in our law. And we want to firmly plant that in our constitution so that it would be very difficult to ever be repealed and it would also be a significant pushback against the federal overreach.

And we know right now the liberals in Washington are trying to pass the Pro Act which will basically attempt to do away with our state laws dealing with right to work and force every worker in our state that is in a union shop to have to pay union dues and belong to that union and support their liberal ideas.

Leahy: The Supreme Court ruled on this and said, they can’t do that. And so they know that trying to create a federal statute to force union membership. That sounds very unamerican. But everything that the Democrats in Washington are doing seems to be unAmerican. This is a smart resolution it seems to me because it’s a statute but this will make it even stronger by making it a constitutional amendment.

Todd: Absolutely.

Leahy: Tell us about that process. Where this is in that process? How does the process work?

Todd: It’s a two General Assembly process. We passed this last year in the House and Senate. This year it has a higher bar in both the House and Senate to pass has to be a two-thirds majority.

Leahy: So let me step back. In order to get a constitutional a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot for ratification by voters it has to go through a two-step process.

Todd: Yes. Two separate general assemblies.

Leahy: Okay, and so in the first one, it’s just needs a majority vote?

Todd: That’s correct.

Leahy: So that one needs a two-thirds vote. Where are we in that process?

Todd: The Senate has passed it. They’ve already finished their business on this particular resolution.

Leahy: It was a more than two-thirds vote?

Todd: Yes, and then I’m working this through the House. I’ve gotten it to a matter of fact this morning. It’ll be on the calendar and rules to be set for him to be heard on the house floor next week. I take that back. I’m mixing this up with my other bill. It’s going through the committees and has gone through the first committee process and we’ll go to another committee. And then when it comes to the House floor will need a two-thirds majority. And then it’s set for the next gubernatorial election, which will be in the fall of 2022. It’ll be on the ballot for the citizens of the state to make the decision.

Leahy: So that would be November of 2022.

Todd: Yes.

Leahy: The governor does not need to sign these resolutions. Is that correct?

Todd: I believe that’s correct.

Leahy: I love this about the way our constitutions are designed. State legislatures on their own have great powers. Have great powers. And this is I think a very smart exercise of those powers.

Todd: Entrusted by the people. And again, we have to be very close to the people running every two years in the house You never get away from the people. And that’s the beauty of this. You have to stay in touch with the people and know what their feelings are and know what their concerns are. And then you put the power in their hands not only from an election standpoint but then from this standpoint to amend their constitution, I mean it is ingenious.

Leahy: There’s a good likelihood that it will make it to the floor for a vote and it’s a good likelihood that it will receive the required two-thirds majority.

Todd: I would say so.

Leahy: So then it’s framed in an amendment for the ballot, right? It’s a proposition that is put on the ballot. And then voters will have in November of 2022 the opportunity to vote for or against it.

Todd: That is correct.

Leahy: Let me just summarize it. This is a constitutional amendment for the state of Tennessee which proposes adding a provision establishing the right to work regardless of status of affiliation with any labor union or employee organization. Now if this makes it on the ballot, I’m going to vote for it. What’s gonna happen? Do you anticipate that if it makes it on the ballot will the left-wing billionaires from California and Illinois and New York and all those states that are crashing and burning, will they put a big campaign on it to try to get voters to reject it?

Todd: I’m sure there will be an effort. I’m sure there will be a concerted effort by the labor unions primarily to thwart this because this is their lifeline. money is their lifeline. They live and breathe it. And it’s all about collecting those union dues. That’s their whole interest completely. This is already a law in the state. One of the arguments are in committee is that this may damage our efforts in my area to attract businesses or two for businesses to expand that are already labor union shops.

And we’ve already got the law on the books. It’s not prohibiting anybody right now. They’re coming to the state. businesses as you know are flocking to this state because of the climate that over the last 10 or 11 years the conservative General Assembly has crafted and set forward such a great economy and a great working condition for this state. We’re very attractive as you had other guests on this weed from California and other places. It’s just it shows exactly what the results are when you have the conservative ideas work and prosper in a state.

Leahy: So once it was before one of the committees that was arguing against this was making that argument.

Todd: It was a member.

Leahy: A member was making that argument. Democrat or Republican.

Todd: A Democrat.

Leahy: I’m shocked! I’m shocked! That it was a Democrat making that. so let me just say this for the record. If there is a business out there anyone in the United States listening to this program and you are deciding not to come to Tennessee because you don’t like our right-to-work laws. I say good riddance, stay away. Don’t take your bad stupid defective ideas and bring them to Tennessee.

Todd: Absolutely. We have unions in Tennessee. And a lot of places they are free to organize. They are free to work their contracts with the employers. some employers even invite them. That’s just their business model. perfectly fine. We don’t have a thing against. that we just feel like it’s the citizens right not to belong to that organization. It’s no different than if we passed a law saying every citizen had to belong to the Rotary Club for some reason. That’s not our authority or place. We need to protect citizens’ rights not to belong to those groups.

Leahy: Yeah, it’s sort of interesting. It does segue a little bit into this idea of who runs Tennessee. Do Tennesseans run Tennessee? Oh do or do Fortune 500 companies run by people who are pretty woke? Who runs Tennessee?

Todd: We the people.

Leahy: I think we the people should I like that. I like that a lot. People talk about well, we’ve got to attract new businesses. I don’t think we need to do anything to attract them more beyond what we do right now. Low regulations low state income taxes. No state income taxes on a personal basis. None. Zero, zip, nada.

Todd: Yep, and we’re cutting more taxes. I mean we’ve cut 675 million dollars in taxes on the citizens of this state since 2011.

Leahy: Look, the Democrat who made that argument to me, that’s another reason to vote for it. It will keep out these Fortune 500 companies that don’t like what we do here.

Todd: Absolutely.

Leahy: Or their divisions there of. Well, look, I think this is fantastic. I’m delighted to have you in here. How much longer do you anticipate this session of the Tennessee General Assembly will continue. We’re March 11 today.

Todd: It’s hard to predict. It’s always hard to predict in any given year. This year’s a little more unusual for a couple of reasons with the week that we had to take off for snow and ice. That was quite unusual because of travel. And being the start of a general assembly it sometimes takes a little longer. I’m expecting at least the end of April. I really think it’d probably be the middle of May. Although the Senate has already talked about closing committees the end of this month, which is got a lot of people scrambling to get good legislation through. But that’s just a guess right now.

Leahy: That makes sense to me. And it’s so in terms of life, you know, April end of April beginning May? Then you go back. You’re running your business and you don’t come back again unless it’s a special session till January?

Todd: Correct. Which during my term already I’ve had three special sessions.

Leahy: There you go. There you go. State Representative Chris Todd, it’s great having you in here.

Todd: Good to be with you.

Leahy: And come back next month sometime. Give us an update just before we close out and give us the final report on how well the Tennessee General Assembly did during this session. I think it’s doing a lot of good stuff.

Todd: I think so, too. We’ve got a lot of good ideas. I’m working on some legislation for retired police officers.

Leahy: And so there are some good things. We are going to talk about that next time state representative Chris Todd. Thanks for joining us. I hope you have a great day.

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












State Rep. Chris Todd Discusses His New Bill Proposing Term Limits for Members of the United States Congress

Tennessee State Rep. Chris Todd Joins Host Leahy to Speak About His Role in the House and Keeping in Touch with Constituents


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 Tennessee State Representative (R), Chris Todd of Jackson, to the newsmakers line to describe his background and discuss upcoming legislation in the House of Representatives.

Leahy: We are delighted to welcome to the newsmakers line, State Representative Chris Todd a Republican from Jackson, Tennessee. Good morning, Chris.

Todd: Good morning, Michael. How are you guys today?

Leahy: We’re great. You have a very interesting background here. You are a graduate of Union University which is one of the very best smaller colleges in America right there in Jackson. You have a degree in biology and you have an erosion control business. I guess that is what your main line of work is.

Todd: That is correct.

Leahy: How long you been doing that?

Todd: Well in our own business probably about 25 years. Two or three years prior to that with another company that I helped start this line of work with. And then prior to that. I was with TDEC. The Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation as a regulator for about four and a half years.

Leahy: What is that business like these days in the land of COVID is it hard easy the same different?

Todd: The greatest challenge we have is getting employees and employees to show up for work. When the government is paying them to sit at home that makes it really tough.

Leahy: That’s a very interesting comment. And so what I love about our state legislature here is it is basically citizen legislators. You are paid to come up here a modest amount. But most legislators are working for a living. Many on the Republican side are small businessmen. Does that frame your political ideology coming from a small business perspective?

Todd: Without question it does. As a matter of fact, I never really thought of being in public service like this most of my life. And then in the last 10 or 12 years got involved with the National Federation of Independent Business. As a small business owner, I found that they represent small businesses in our voice and not only in the state House but in Congress and found out how well-respected they were because they listen to their members.

They are member-driven. Completely member-driven. So that got me involved in certain issues like income tax, gas tax, and other things over the years. And that involvement and learning how our state legislature works really tweaked my interest. And then when my representative, Jimmy Eldridge decided not to run again I had some folks encouraging me just kind of out of the blue to run for office.

And I prayed about it and considered it and of course when I went home and told my wife that we need to pray about this. She said oh no, I’m sure the Lord wouldn’t lead you in anything like that. (Leahy chuckles) After a week or two of discussion and prayer with some friends as matter of fact, that joined us in that we all felt for some reason. I was supposed to run for office never really thinking I was necessarily supposed to win.

But it has been a true blessing to be able to serve people in a different capacity while still running a business and staying in touch. And being in the General Assembly is such an honor. Being in the House of Representatives you have to stay in touch with people. When I was running my wife, and I were knocking on doors day after day. Sweating through the summer months, meeting people, and going to things constantly.

She said y’all got to change this if we have to do this for two years I don’t know how we can do this. But once I was there for just a brief period of time I realized how wise it was to have the House elected every two years. Because you cannot get out of touch with the people and get reelected. You have to stay involved. You have to stay in front of the people and be accountable to the people. So it’s a level of accountability our founders put in place. It was very very wise.

Leahy: You are the chairman of a House subcommittee. Agriculture and natural resources. That seems like a very smart place for somebody with a biology degree and erosion control business to be placed. What’s the big agenda there?

Todd: I don’t know that there is a big agenda but generally pokes in that position have had an agricultural background, which is fantastic. Agriculture is such a huge part of our state’s economy. I bring to the table something a little bit different. Something from the environment side from the natural resources side and understand a decent amount of that part of our regulations and laws.

And so it’s just a different angle that I can bring a level of expertise to. As I tell people a lot I know a lot about very little things and then I know a little about several things. So where I can put that knowledge of my career choice to best use is where I wanted to serve if our Speaker wanted me there and he apparently did.

Leahy: We’re talking with Representative Chris Todd from Jackson. Chris, what are your personal priorities for this session of the Tennessee General Assembly?

Todd: I think if I were to put that at a 10,000-foot view, it would be to restore any infringements. Remove any infringements of citizens’ rights. And that comes under several categories. One in the area of the U.S. Constitution Second Amendment where the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Well, we’ve infringed on it over the years an awful lot.

And so trying to remove those infringements is a big deal to me. Also when it comes to emergency powers. I believe we have several laws on the books that are truly unconstitutional never been challenged and never been tested. But I think this General Assembly is making some strides toward streamlining that and making those emergencies powers apply to what they were truly meant to apply for. And not have the administrative part of our government the too overbearing and take too many of our liberties away.

Leahy: I’m reading into that. It sounds to me like you’re saying or it sounds to me like the argument there would be that the governor has overreached on his emergency powers and probably in giving powers to certain county mayors he’s overreached. Am I characterizing that correctly?

Todd: In one respect. And that is in respect to comparing those decisions to what the Constitution says not what’s on the law books. I believe he has followed the law. But I don’t believe those laws that we have on the books all are completely constitutional. And that’s what I wanted to assess this General Assembly and try to make right.

Leahy: Does that require a statutory change or is that an issue of a court challenge? And how would you make it right?

Todd: I think statutory change is where it’s at. There may be court challenges out there. I don’t know. I’ve not seen anything on that. but I think going through the process of what we’re doing day-to-day right now people have proposed bills of all types. Everything from regulating the local health departments all the way to the emergency powers of the governor. And I think that’s where it really starts.

That’s where we can have the debate, have the discussion, and make the changes that are necessary but still give the governor the powers that he needs to have in a true emergency. I don’t think anyone ever dreamt that those laws on the books would actually apply to an illness. And especially in illness on this level. But they have chosen to apply them and I believe under the law they have been correct. I just don’t think some of those laws are constitutional.

Leahy: Is there any specific bill that’s before a committee right now that would address the statutory problems of emergency powers?

Todd: I believe there are. I know one that Representative Jason Zachary has deals with the health departments. the six regional health departments were and I enjoy one of those health departments in my district. But the specifics of that and how it’s being amended. I couldn’t go into that. That’s not something I’m watching on an hour-to-hour basis.

And I know this week it has gone through at least one committee and probably will go through another committee next week. And so things as you well know as the legislation moves along sometimes there are tweaks to it with amendments to make it better. And so I believe it has passed its first hurdle this week.

And so I will be watching it a little more closely watch it goes a little further. But there are many others. I’ve been focused on the 15 bills that I have on my list to carry. And it’s such a scramble this time of year to get things put on notice and be at the right committee at the right time and present your bill and know what you’re talking about. And it’s a really interesting gig to try to keep up with on a daily basis.

Leahy: During session do you stay in Nashville, or do you commute from Jackson?

Todd: I’m here on Monday and right now while we’re in budget hearings. I’m here Sunday evening through Thursday afternoon.

Leahy: Well, one of these mornings why don’t you come by in studio, and we can chat here live in-studio on the Tennessee Star Report.

Todd: I’d like to do that. We may schedule that here very shortly. Maybe on a Monday morning or something before our budget hearings.

Leahy: Let’s do that. Hey, thanks so much for joining us state representative Chris Todd, Republican from Jackson. We look forward to having you in studio. Thanks again for being with us.

Todd: Thank you, Michael.

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