Wilson County Tea Party

Eminent Domain

Eminent Domain - The power of the government to take private property if it better serves the public good...

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Justin Owen

Justin Owen to Speak on Eminent Domain, Mon. 7-28

Justin Owen will be our guest speaker at 7:00 PM on, Monday, July 28 in the School House (Building G) at the Ward Ag Center in Lebanon. He is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Beacon Center of Tennessee and will be speaking on eminent domain.

The Beacon Center’s mission is to change lives through public policy by promoting free market solutions at the state and local level. In his three years with the organization, Justin has helped usher in comprehensive tort reform, assisted in the repeal of collective bargaining by teachers’ unions, and worked to end Tennessee’s death tax, among many smaller achievements.

He has appeared on all four major network news stations in Nashville, as well as stations in Memphis, Knoxville, and the Tri-Cities. He has a weekly radio segment on the “Ralph Bristol Show” on WTN 99.7 FM, and often appears on other talk radio stations throughout the state to educate citizens on public policy issues. His writing has appeared in newspapers such as the national Daily Caller, the Tennessean, the Nashville City Paper, the Knoxville News Sentinel, and the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Prior to joining the Beacon Center, Justin served as a law clerk to the U.S. Attorney in Memphis and at the Pentagon as a legal intern to the General Counsel of the United States Navy. He is involved in various nonprofits in Nashville, recently serving as legal counsel and civic committee chairman of the Nashville Junior Chamber and as a board intern for Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee. Justin has also been honored with the Nashville Business Journal‘s “Forty Under 40? award, given to young professionals under age 40 who excel in their professions and are leaders in the local community.

Justin received his J.D. from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis and obtained his undergraduate degree from Middle Tennessee State University. He is licensed to practice law in Tennessee.

Mark your calendar for July 28th and plan to join us at 7:00 PM at the Ward Ag Center for a very interesting and informative evening with Justin Owen to learn more about how eminent domain is being used to diminish our property rights and freedoms.

Amendments 1,2,3 and 4 - What are we Voting For?

Amendment 1

"Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother."

After the Tennessee legislature passed reasonable laws to protect the unborn back in the 1970's, 80's and 90's such as a waiting period and informed consent laws, our State Supreme Court adopted a broader right to abortion than appears in the U.S. Constitution in the year 2000. This "right" struck down informed consent laws, laws that require a woman to wait 48 hours from the time they were informed to the time they had the abortion and laws that require a woman to have a late term abortion in the hospital. A Constitutional Amendment is the only way any of these laws can become eligible for re-instatement through the legislative process. That Amendment now stands before us as Amendment One. Visit yeson1tn.org for more info.

Amendment One does not restrict or prohibit abortion as some pro-choice groups may try to lead you to believe. It simply states that there is no Constitutional Right to an abortion in the state of Tennessee. It takes our State Constitution out of the abortion business. People are free to make sensible laws through the legislative process as to how they wish to treat abortion issues in this state without fear of being trumped by a judicial ruling that does not necessarily reflect the view of the majority of the populace.

As Conservatives who place high value on the sanctity of life, we encourage you vote YES for Amendment 1 and share your view with others.

Amendment 2

Current language:
"The judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state. The Legislature shall have power to prescribe such rules as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of section two of this article."

Proposed Language
"Judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court shall be appointed for a full term or to fill a vacancy by and at the discretion of the governor; shall be confirmed by the Legislature; and thereafter, shall be elected in a retention election by the qualified voters of the state. Confirmation by default occurs if the Legislature fails to reject an appointee within sixty calendar days of either the date of appointment, if made during the annual legislative session, or the convening date of the next annual legislative session, if made out of session. The Legislature is authorized to prescribe such provisions as may be necessary to carry out Sections two and three of this article."

Language Common to Both: Every judge of the Supreme Court shall be thirty-five years of age, and shall before his election have been a resident of the state for five years. His term of service shall be eight years.

Think of Amendment Two as an "Election Vote vs. Rejection Vote" for judges. Our State Constitution was set up with very clear and simple language that says judges shall be elected by qualified voters. However, for the past two decades there has been in place a convoluted procedure where the Governor appoints Supreme Court and apellate court judges recommended by the Judicial Selection Committee who's members are also selected by the Governor. These judges are then approved or rejected by the legislature. Judges automatically retain their confirmation if not rejected through a retention vote every eight years. This procedure was set up when the Democrats controlled the Tennessee State House and Senate and now mainstream Republican leadership wants to make it permanent.

Amendment Two does away with the Judicial Selection Committee but changes the State Constitution to give the Governor the power to appoint these judges at his or her discretion, subject only to approval of the legislature. Confirmation remains in place so long as the judge receives the retention vote. Essentially, Amendment Two attempts to "grandfather in" current practices being done contrary to our State Constitution.

Proponents claim we are not giving up our voting rights because we vote for the Governor, we vote for our State Senators and Representatives and we have the retention vote. Ask yourself, when was the last time the Governor, my State Senator and my State Representative all agreed with my personal viewpoint? A retention, or rejection vote of someone selected by a political official is not the same thing as simply voting Yea or Nay for a judicial candidate at the polls.

Since Amendment Two takes away our right vote for judges directly and replaces it with a convoluted procedure of political appointments and approvals we encourage you to vote NO on Amendment Two.

Amendment 3

"Notwithstanding the authority to tax privileges or any other authority set forth in this Constitution, the Legislature shall not levy, authorize or otherwise permit any state or local tax upon payroll or earned personal income or any state or local tax measured by payroll or earned personal income; however, nothing contained herein shall be construed as prohibiting any tax in effect on January 1, 2011, or adjustment of the rate of such tax."

Amendment Three does away the threat of a state income tax for the State of Tennessee well into the foreseeable future. Over 10 years ago our own Senator Mae Beavers and a handful of other leaders fought diligently to keep a state income tax out of Tennessee. Now, it will reach the point of permanence as an amendment to our State Constitution. We encourage you to vote YES for Amendment Three.

Amendment 4

"All other forms of lottery not authorized herein are expressly prohibited unless authorized by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to each house of the general assembly for an annual event operated for the benefit of a 501(c)(3) or a 501(c)(19) organization, as defined by the 2000 United States Tax Code, located in this state."

The language of Amendment 4 simply adds "a 501(c)(19)" after the 501(c)(3) and replaces "or as may be amended from time to time" with "located in this state" at the end of the last line. If you are not familiar with the term 501(c)(3) or the lesser known 501(c)(19) the language not going to make much sense.

A 501(c)(3) is an IRS designation for a non-profit, tax exempt organization that allows donors to write off donations on their federal income tax as charitable contributions. Churches fall under this category along with other certain other non-profit organizations that do not get directly involved with promoting political candidates or legislation.

A 501(c)(19) refers to a veteran's post or organization, such as a local VFW, that exists for the propose of helping veterans or active members of the US Armed Forces and their families.

Amendment 4 simply allows these Veteran's organizations to use lotteries for fund raising, just as 501(c)(3)'s can do, provided both houses of the State legislature approve such action by a two-thirds majority vote. Since this Amendment provides an added benefit to our veterans and their families we encourage you to support it by voting YES to accept the change in language noted above.

Recap and Recommendations

Amendment 1 - Take the "right" to an abortion out of our State Constitution. Vote YES
Amendment 2 - Replace the Election Vote with a "Rejection Vote" for Judges. Vote NO
Amendment 3- Keep a State income tax out of Tennessee permanently. Vote YES
Amendment 4 - Allows Veterans organizations to use lotteries for fund raising. Vote YES.

Wilson County Fair

The Wilson County Fair is just around the corner and runs from August 15 -23. We will be hosting a booth in the Turner Evans Building near the main gate. This is the same great location as last year and gives us the opportunity to talk to lots of folks about the importance of putting conservative principles back to work in our local state and federal levels of government.

If you would be able to help out for an evening or a few hours on the weekend please Contact Us or sign up at our next meeting on July 28th.