Notes from Nashville – 5.06.10
Posted: Friday, May 7, 2010 11:34 am
By: Mark Maddox, State Representative
In the past two weeks, over 20 committees and subcommittees finished their business and closed for the year moving the House toward actual debate on the budget.
Our fundamental responsibility as state legislators is to pass a balanced state budget that provides quality services for our residents and does it responsibly. I intend to honor my commitment to the 76th district to pass a budget that is responsible and balanced.
The slow economy has limited state revenues and forced significant cuts to many services and departments. Last year, I voted for budget cuts of nearly 12 percent. Those cuts were in addition to nearly $278 million in reductions two years ago.
Even with such drastic cuts, Tennessee revenues are projected to be smaller than estimated making more cuts necessary. Whatever final budget we consider, my focus is on funding our schools, providing incentives to bring more jobs into our state and protecting those services that Tennesseans need. The final budget is expected to be voted on some time in May. To follow the budget process online, just go to www.capitol.tn.gov.
One important bill that passed overwhelmingly last week was new legislation designed to protect registered voters in Tennessee from having their registration revoked. There is nothing more fundamentally American than a citizen’s right to vote. It is at the heart of our democracy. When that right is threatened, we must act and this bill reaffirms that right.
HB3456 limits the ability of election administrators to purge voters. The legislation clarifies current law that does not allow for the purging of voters once certified except in cases of death, fraud or relocating outside the county.
The legislation was drafted in response to actions taken against registered voters by newly appointed election administrators in some counties.
In one county in West Tennessee, nearly 2,200 voters received deficiency notices with the threat of being purged. A majority of those voters were seniors over 55 who had consistently voted in certain primaries and had participated in general elections regularly for decades.
The government does not need to be one of many taking advantage of our seniors. This legislation will make sure our seniors are protected from having their voting rights revoked for partisan reasons or mistakes made on registration forms decades ago.
Having passed the House 93-1, the bill now waits for approval in the Senate. If you want to verify your registration status you can call your election commission or visit the Secretary of State’s Web site at www.tn.gov/sos.