August 2023 Newsletter 2


The special session that was purportedly going to address sensible gun laws in Tennessee is in full swing this week and has already shown a distinct lack of inclination to pass anything that reduces gun violence.

In fact, the Republicans in power instated new behavioral rules they can use to arbitrarily silence anyone who bugs them, they locked out nearly all the citizens who came to witness the legislature in action, they cut off water fountains, and they invited people to tote around all the guns they wanted but absolutely NO scary pieces of paper, water bottles, or democratic attitudes. 

Covenant parents and others are being kicked out of sessions for just trying to take advantage of opportunities to speak and participate in democracy. When the Atlantic published a recent article entitled "Is Tennessee a Democracy?" our legislature seems to be eager to prove that it is not.

That makes it all the more important for Democrats and independents to come together to try to protect our kids and communities from politicians who don't listen to the majority of their constituents... considering firearms are the leading cause of death of TN's children.

Regardless of how Tennesseans vote, when polled the majority DO want more common sense gun laws. The majority of Tennesseans are moderate and balanced. Yet voting for today's Republicans means that the moderation desired by the majority will be ignored.

Making your voice heard at the ballot box by no longer voting for Republicans who ignore the majority of constituents is vital if we want our state to be fair and just.

The Education Trust is asking Tennesseans to consider signing this petition to say NO to arming Tennessee teachers and staff (beyond the resource officers) -

With more resource officers in schools, the population that has been disproportionately affected are Black and Hispanic students, without any proof that the presence of guns in schools deters mass shooters. As stated in the petition, "Research shows that increased access to guns does not make schools safer or decrease the number of school shootings. This bill would only work to increase students' exposure to gun violence, and increase the risk of harm and death of our students, teachers and school employees."

The Education Trust also has a BILL TRACKER spreadsheet where they keep all the information and updates about relevant legislation in one easy-to-freak-out-over place.

Here are the TNDP's talking points for the special session so far, shared verbatim for anyone interested in specific details:

  • GOP senator may try to end special session on day two
    • Janice Bowling attempted to adjourn the special session on the first day. She withdrew her motion after a brief conversation with a colleague. But the Republican firebrand said she will attempt to end special session again. 
    • Today is her first chance. If she files a resolution for adjournment, the Senate will have to vote on it.

9 a.m. CT - State & Local Government Committee

  • Juvenile autopsy bill may hinder family-driven investigations
    • SB 7090 by Sen. Jack Johnson chips away at Tennessee’s public records law by blocking the release of autopsy reports involving juveniles killed in a “violent crime.” 
    • While it may be well intentioned, public records advocates say autopsies should remain public because these reports have been used successfully in the past to solve old crimes when people, including children, have died under suspicious circumstances.

10:30 a.m. CT - Commerce & Labor

  • GOP bill on mental health coverage appears to do little, if anything, to improve access to care
    • SB 7091 by Sen. Shane Reeves would require health insurance carriers to provide coverage for mental health services and treatment – with a catch. The legislation only applies to insurance plans that already cover treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.
    • Based on my reading of the fiscal note, it looks like this is already common practice at TennCare and among health insurance carriers affected by the bill.
    • One odd limitation: According to the bill, mental health coverage would not be required to be “made available for more than the number of visits per year offered for the treatment of alcoholism or substance abuse.”

2 p.m. CT - Judiciary Committee

  • More guns in schools?
    • SB  7020 by Sen. Paul Bailey would increase the number of people who could legally carry a firearm into a K-12 public school and college campus. 
    • The very presence of firearms in educational settings threaten the safety of students and increase the likelihood of school shootings. 
  • Democrats sponsor ‘red flag’ proposals like Gov. Bill Lee’s mental health order of protection
    • SB  7029 by Yarbro would enact Gov. Bill Lee’s proposed temporary mental health order of protection.
    • SB  7095 by Campbell creates a similar order of protection.
    • SB  7042 by Oliver would create a temporary mental health order of protection, too.

Get Together Dates and Times!

Our Williamson County District Captains now have several future meetups scheduled for Williamson County Democrats! While these will be listed in the calendar at the end of every email, we wanted to bring special attention to them here so everyone is aware they are happening.

If you don't see your district listed, feel free to contact us to get in touch with your District Captains or make plans to attend a gathering in a different district!

Districts 8 & 10, Fieldstone Farms area: September 9 Cookout (12-3 pm). $23 Donation requested per family to build back blue. Here is the link to RSVP:

District 11: September get together! Courtenay Rogers is hosting a D11 meet and greet in Dallas Downs Subdivision (and surrounding area)  on Thursday, 21 September at 6:30 pm. Email us for more information. 

The more we hear from folks interested in getting together, the more meet-ups we can have! 

Tennessee Alliance for Equity in Education Logo

Fascinating article with even more links in it by John Warner called "What's Wrong with Higher Education?" - Answer: profit motives and greed, which is kinda like everything else post trickle-down economics.

In fact Robert Reich agrees with this assessment, asking why only bosses are raking it in while employees fumble along without income increases.

Read the TNDP resolution about the special session and gun violence. “In Tennessee, we are facing a gun addiction that has had deadly consequences across our state. We believe that we can both protect the 2nd Amendment rights of every citizen while also passing legislation to protect every citizen from reckless gun violence. Elected Republican legislators have decided that the lives of our citizens are not as important as the demands of gun lobbyists. We hope that this session will begin to change that. ” - Hendrell Remus, TNDP Chair

With our Tennessee Three going to bat for us in the leg session this week, you will be interested to see how they're being regarded - and how our state is being regarded - outside our state itself and the struggle for social justice and progress.

Alabama's Constitution-and-Supreme-Court defying gerrymander update and an interview with an Alabama rep about the situation. This is relevant to Tennesseans because we have a gerrymandering situation forced on us by a Republican supermajority that also split some Black and Democratic areas into convoluted shapes to reduce their power.

The Tennessean newspaper has an exclusive survey of Tennessee residents that proves the vast majority of us want SENSIBLE GUN LAWS: 

"A survey of registered Tennessee voters taken after the Covenant School Shooting finds strong bipartisan support for gun safety measures, including background checks and so-called "red flag" laws. ... The poll, taken by Embold Research between April 10-12, found that 88% of respondents support background checks for gun sales. It also found that 82% support safe storage laws. Another 71% support red flag laws. Only a quarter of those responding support dropping Tennessee's legal age to carry a gun from 21 to 18."

August 24 @ 7 PM via Zoom: WCDP Monthly EC meeting -- all are welcome! RSVP via the website.

August 24 @ 7 PM via Zoom also: The National Democratic party presents "Pop the Disinformation Bubble-Take Control and Counter the Lies"  

August 26 @ 6 PM: TNDP Three Star Fundraising Dinner. County parties can buy a table at a discount but individuals can also get tickets.

September 7 @ 12 PM via Zoom: We need to contest every race in Tennessee, even though it's conservative! Put some blue on the ballot with "How to Run in a Red District" training by the NDTC. 

September 7 @ 7 PM via Zoom: TNDP presents "Civics for Change: Know the System to Change the System" in a virtual workshop

September 9 @ 12PM - 3PM: Districts 8 & 10 Fieldstone Farm area Democrat Cookout! Family friendly. RSVP:

September 9 @ 6:30 PM: District 11 Get Together, RSVP above.

September 23 @ 11:30 AM - 2 PM: Lewis County Dems present at the Farm: Beans and Cornbread. Speakers include Holly McCall, John Ray Clemmons, Dr. Quintessa Hathaway

September 23 in Nashville, TN: Tennessee Federation of Democratic Women Annual Board Meeting. Details to come.

October 2 @ 12 PM via Zoom: Another NDTP training focused on how Democrats can win elections up and down the to communicate values and connect with voters.

October 2-5: Build Blue Week with the NDTC