Letter: Legislator should be defended when right vote is cast

Mar. 06, 2014 @ 11:23 PM


Last week, the Tennessee House of Representatives considered HB 1405, commonly referred to as the Guns in Parking Lots bill. The bill proposed to amend and strengthen language to prevent employers from taking negative actions against an employee who drives a personal vehicle to work, and leaves a weapon securely stored in that vehicle.

Our Representative, Dale Carr, has been getting a beating on-line (email threads, etc.) for purportedly voting against the measure. On the surface, it would seem that the derogatory remarks are warranted. But if the facts are are examined, Rep. Carr cast the right vote(s), and for the right reason(s).

When the bill was being considered, there was an amendment offered. The amendment went far beyond just the issue at hand, and dealt with other situations not pertaining to the bill.  Art II, Sect 17 of the Tennessee Constitution states that no bill shall become law if that bill encompasses more than one subject. This amendment would have done just that, and would have made the bill “constitutionally questionable,” or outright unconstitutional.

Therefore, those who are making derogatory remarks about Rep. Carr or any other representative voting against the proposed amendment are likely misinformed about bill procedures. If Rep. Carr were to have voted for the amendment, he would have violated our state Constitution. When the actual bill was voted on, Representative Carr in fact voted for passage.

As readily as a legislator can and should be called out for a vote that goes against the people’s liberties, that legislator should also be defended when the right vote is cast. The Sevier County Tea Party (SCTP) can not in good conscience support or expect a legislator to vote for a bill simply because it sounds good if his vote violates the Constitution.

Leah Turner

SSG, U.S. Army (Ret)

SCTP Vice Chairman