Image Credit: capitol.tn.gov
The Tennessee Conservative [Jason Vaughn] –
Retiring Representative David Byrd (R-Waynesboro-District 71) told The Tennessee Conservative that many legislators “hide behind” the lack of roll call votes when they don’t want the public to know their stance on a piece of legislation, leading to many good conservative bills being killed in subcommittees and committees with no official record made of who was responsible.
Rep. Byrd told us, “We need to have a roll call vote, even in committees so people will know how everyone voted.”
Due to a lack of transparency and the practice of voice voting in committees and subcommittees in the Tennessee House of Representatives, Representative David Byrd was incorrectly identified as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) in The Tennessee Conservative’s RINO Report.
Two specific pieces of legislation The Tennessee Conservative followed during the last legislative session that concerned Representative Byrd were the The Healthcare Recipient Rights Act and the Parent Bill of Rights Act.
In both cases, the bills were killed in the House Health Subcommittee, of which he was a member, after failing to receive a second motion to be heard and voted on.
The videos for both of the meetings of the House Health Subcommittee offered no views of who gave the bills the first motion to be heard nor did they offer verbal confirmation by the Subcommittee chair, Bob Ramsey (R-Maryville-District 20). In addition, the capitol website did not make record of the person who made the initial motion, making it impossible to ascertain.
Further, the subcommittee members did not reply to our Press Inquiries regarding the bills and their demise. Due to the significant lack of transparency, we were forced to label all the subcommittee members as RINOs.
However, in a conversation with the retiring Representative David Byrd yesterday, he revealed that he was actually the subcommittee member in both cases that gave the first motion for the bills to be heard.
In a concurrent message to The Tennessee Conservative by Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster-District 40) yesterday, she confirmed that “Rep David Byrd was the only one who gave me a motion for my Parental Rights Bill.”
Representative Byrd said that he does not blame The Tennessee Conservative for this error, but rather blames it on the intentional lack of transparency perpetrated by certain members of the General Assembly.
Leading up to and during the next legislative session, The Tennessee Conservative aims to fight for more transparency and an end to voice votes in the legislature so the public can know how their elected officials are voting on legislation they care about.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com