|Maggart presents recap of session, defends gun bill action|
|Thursday, May 31, 2012|
The last Gallatin Chamber Government Relations meeting of this year’s legislation session gave State Rep. Debra Maggart (R-45) a chance to say goodbye to Gallatin constituents which she will be losing when re-districting takes effect in November and to share a list of accomplishments over the past sessions.
She also had an opportunity to defend herself, and her party, against recent attacks concerning gun bills that didn’t pass this session when asked about it by meeting moderator Ed Mayberry.
“Property rights and gun rights are very important to the Republican party,” she said. “What happened is that some of the gun advocacy groups felt very strongly that we needed to pass a bill that was a very broad bill. The way that gun reads, you could carry a gun right now to the nursery of this hospital and there’s nothing (officials) can do about it to stop you…The last line of the bill says every citizen can carry a gun wherever they want in this state. I don’t know if you want felons to do that, probably not.
“I’ve never voted against a gun bill. I’m probably one of the most pro-Second Amendment people in the General Assembly. I have a fantastic gun record. I’m a member of the gun club in Gallatin, I have a gun permit, my family used to own a business that sold guns. But, in the Senate they decided that this bill was not going to move forward because it was simply too broad. When a bill dies in the Senate, we are not going to move it in the house. We believe that we need to balance property rights and gun rights, and I think there is a balance there.”
“I think you are going to see us sit down with all the interested parties and I think you will see us try to pas something similar to the Georgia law in a balanced way…I think that’s reasonable and I think the people of Sumner County expect me to be reasonable when they send me up there.”
The list of assembly accomplishments presented by Maggart included:
*Passed Tort reform to promote favorable business climate in Tennessee attract and keep businesses.
*Lowered grocery tax – “You will see us try to do this more. The reason we didn’t do as much as everyone wanted is because you have to replace that revenue.”
*Ended Gift Tax – “We were one of two states with a gift tax and we have now shut that down.”
*Began process to eliminate Death Tax – “This has harmed our small businesses and family farms and kept people from staying here to retire and kept entrepreneurs from coming here, so the death march for the death tax has begun.”
*Put $72.4 million back into the state’s “rainy day” fund
*Cut $1 billion from state budget without raises taxes
*Balanced the state budget
*Passed constitutional amendment to ban a state income tax – “You will have an opportunity to vote on that in 2014. We will have to pass it one more time in the General Assembly next year.”
*Worked on Education Reform – “We did a lot of things that some teachers aren’t very happy about but in the big picture of life, we believe that we did the right thing for our students and that’s what matters the most…making sure they get a quality education and helping build a better work force.”
*Tried to reform and streamline government
*Worked on Civil Service process
*Worked on Election Reform and passed the Voter ID Bill – “Over 600,000 people voted on March 6 across our state and 130 people in the whole state showed up without their ID, but nobody was turned away at the ballot box. You can still vote, there are just some things to make sure you do it the right way.
“Overall, of course I’m biases as the Caucus leader, but I do think we have done a good job of trying to do the things we know the people of Tennessee asked us to do when they elected us to the majority,” she said.
By Randy Cline