TN House Speaker Jimmie Naifeh continues to ignore the rules in order to obstruct legislation that he doesn’t want to see the light of day and ram through bills that are his pets. But his latest actions goes beyond the pale.

In a Chattanoogan article, Rep. Chris Clem explains what our elected officials did on their final day in session. First, they passed a bill that “dramatically increased the retirement benefits of legislators”.

As the day wore on it became clear that the Democrats would not adjourn until this bill passed. Sen. David Fowler tried several times to adjourn without passing the bill. He came close. But, in the end, the Democrat leadership of both chambers were able to pass this dramatic increase in legislative pensions.

It must be noted that Republicans now control the Senate. Don’t you wish that the results of all votes were published on the web?

Chris calls the second piece of legislation the “Incumbent Protection Bill” — it dramatically increases the number of votes required for a write-in candidate in a primary to get put on the ballot in the general election. But Naifeh wanted it:

I attempted to call for “the Rule.” “The Rule” simply requires all members to sit in their chair and not push the vote botton for anyone else. In other words, only members sitting in their chair should vote while under “the Rule.”

I realized that 10 members were not in the chamber. Six of them had gone home and were no longer in Nashville. Democrat Speaker Jimmy Naifeh refused to recognize me and allow me to call for “the Rule.” Republicans then objected to calling for a vote. We raised the required five hands. Naifeh claimed he saw no hands. He then allowed the vote.

In order to pass there must be 50 votes. The bill received 58 votes. Ten of the members who voted for the Incumbent Protection Bill were not even in the chamber when someone voted for them. Six of the 10 were not even in Nashville. Ironically, if I had been allowed to call for “the Rule” then the Incumbent Protection Bill would have fallen two votes short of passage.

It is expected that Naifeh refuses to recognize hands raised by legislators of the opposite party — he has done it too many times before to expect any different. Even Rep. Stacey Campfield commented on this:

Chris Clem tried to get the speaker to recognize him and put us under the rule. Several hands were in the air, but similar to the conceal carry bill last year the speaker said “I only see three hands” (5 are needed but we probably had 15 or more) and pushed the vote on the bill.

But it is absolutely astounding that legislators can vote for others not in the room.

No wonders TN Dems blocked meaningful ethics reform this year.

Bill Hobbs observes:

Naifeh is a blight on the people of Tennessee.

Hat tip to David Waldrip, who emails:

This is embarrassing to anyone with a sense of truth, justice, and fair play. Believe me, I am embarrassed tonight for our state, as will be many of you. With this kind of behaviour going on in the open, I have to think that the end of the reign of the abusive Democrats is somewhere on the horizon.

We have an opportunity to change this with primary elections on Aug. 3 and general elections on Nov. 7th, and it is going to take effort by each one of us. Effort to spread the word to our friends and educate enough voters in key districts to make a difference.

Of course, since more people voted in the last American Idol contest than voted in the Presidential election of 2004, we may just continue to get what we deserve. I thought we deserved better. The foks lying in the National cemeteries sure thought so.

I couldn’t have put it better.

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