Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tennessee: A Lesson In Political Expediency

     As many of you know, Governor Bill Haslam of my home state of Tennessee signed HB600 into law this past Sunday. This law, effectively nullified Metro Nashville's anti-discrimination ordinance that stated that anyone doing business with the city must not discriminate against LGBT individuals. The Wall Street Journal gives us Haslam's reason for decision.

"We just don't think local governments should set HR [human resources] policies for businesses"
       All I can say to this is...yea right. The local government of Metro Nashville was not setting any HR policies of businesses; all that it did was say to businesses that if they wanted to do business with the city, they had to abide by a few rules. This is nothing new at all, for cities and businesses do it all the time. The city was not imposing anything upon the businesses, instead these were companies that could voluntarily contract with the Metro Government.

       It in reality comes down to whether or not local government, whether it be in the state/federal relationship or the state/municipal relationship, is the best suited to know how to use the money collected from that entities residents. For representatives from Memphis to Knoxville to tell the Metro Council of Nashville-Davidson County how and with whom they can't spend Nashville taxpayers money, shows outright that the Republican representatives pay only lip service to the ideal of small, local, and representative government. The Republicans in the State Legislature could care less about the decision of an elected municipal government, and further extrapolated, the feelings of that local community. Instead, in my opinion, the animosity that their base feels towards LGBT people, was the main factor in their decision to support the bill. They sacrificed a fundamental principle of the Republican party, to political expediency, a decision which will be an overall detriment to the Tennessee Republican party.      

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