Retiring House Members Throw Curveball at Harwell’s Bid for Governor

In an unexpected turn during the House Finance Committee yesterday, two long-time supporters of Speaker Beth Harwell, voted against the anti-sanctuary city bill which 67 members of her Republican caucus is co-sponsoring.

Finance Committee Chairman Rep. Charles Sargent (R-Franklin) and Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads), both listed as co-sponsors of the bill, voted to effectively kill the bill by sending it to a summer study by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. Both Sargent and McDaniel are retiring from the Tennessee House of Representatives and are not on the ballot in 2018.

The motion was made by Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain), who does not support the measure.

Harwell is listed as a co-sponsor of the bill.

After being elected by the Republican caucus as Speaker, Harwell appointed Sargent to serve as chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee, a position he has held throughout Harwell’s tenure as Speaker.

McDaniel has also held choice committee assignments under Harwell’s leadership and was the House member she appointed to lead the Ad Hoc Select Committee that put in motion the eventual ouster of former representative Jeremy Durham for alleged sexual conduct at the legislature.

Tennessee currently has a narrowly tailored law prohibiting sanctuary cities. However, a June 2017, ordinance proposed by the Metro Nashville Council that would have made Nashville the most liberal sanctuary city in the country was written in a way that would have bypassed current state law.

The Metro ordinance, drafted with help from the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), proposed instituting a practice of “don’t ask so you don’t have to know or tell” was designed to obstruct cooperation with federal immigration authorities and instead, shield illegal aliens who had committed crimes under Tennessee law.

A Tennessee Star poll conducted within hours of the ordinance being withdrawn asked 533 likely Metro voters the following:  “Metro Nashville Council was scheduled to vote on a proposal next week that would, in effect, turn Nashville into a sanctuary city where illegal immigrants are protected from arrest and deportation. Do you support or oppose the proposal for Nashville to become a sanctuary city?” – 49.4 percent supported, while 47.1 percent opposed, a statistical tie since the 2.3 percent differential is within the poll’s 4.2 percent margin of error:

31.9% Strongly support
17.5% Somewhat support
8.6% Somewhat oppose
38.5% Strongly oppose
3.4% Not sure/don’t know

Another Tennessee Star poll showing likely Republican primary voters oppose awarding in-state college tuition to illegal aliens by an astounding 88 percent to 6 percent margin, suggests that in a state Trump won by 61 percent to 35 percent, (a 26 percent margin of victory), issues involving illegal immigration will matter in the GOP gubernatorial primary election.

Former Sen. Mae Beavers who had already announced her run for governor and whose legislative record consistently opposed illegal immigration, condemned Nashville’s actions without hesitation.

Even before formally announcing her campaign for governor, Congressman Diane Black who is a member of the House Border Security Caucus and author of the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, was also quick to condemn the attempt by Metro Nashville Council to pass a sanctuary city ordinance.

GOP gubernatorial candidates Randy Boyd and Bill Lee followed with predictable statements opposing sanctuary cities while Harwell is relying on her vote for the 2009 law prohibiting sanctuary cities in Tennessee.

In a February ad released by a PAC called Tennesseans for Good State Government, Harwell takes credit for “outlaw[ing] sanctuary cities,” most likely a reference to her 2009 vote for the narrowly tailored law which the Nashville ordinance would have bypassed and which the current bill opposed by Reps. Sargent and McDaniel, will fix.

Yesterday, after discussion on Rep. Jay Reedy bill in the House Finance Committee and loud objection to Rep. Hazlewood’s motion to send the bill to summer study, Chairman Sargent on a voice vote, declared the motion passed.

Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) and several others objected but were ignored by Sargent who quickly moved on to other bills. A subsequent recess of the committee during which members left to presumably discuss procedural options, resulted in Rep. Gary Hicks (R-Rogersville) moving for the committee to reconsider its action on the anti-sanctuary city bill.

This time around, a roll call vote in favor of reconsidering the bill was passed 13-8 with Republicans Hazlewood, McDaniel and Sargent voting with the Democrat members against the bill.

Using his position as chairman, Sargent moved the bill to the last Finance Committee calendar instead of allowing a vote while the committee was still in session likely resulting in the same 13-8 vote to pass the bill on to calendar it for a vote on the House floor.

The final Finance Committee calendar is anticipated to be completed today. The Senate companion bill sponsored by Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) is scheduled for a vote by the full Senate today.









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7 Thoughts to “Retiring House Members Throw Curveball at Harwell’s Bid for Governor”

  1. Stuart I. Anderson

    Diane Black has a tepid conservative Heritage score of 78%. Lee’s is a completely unknown quantity with absolutely no record in elective office or as a conservative advocate. Harwell as leader of the House has to take responsibility for killing this sanctuary city bill and the bill to close Tennessee primaries. Thus my fellow conservatives, it really doesn’t make a dimes worth of difference who succeeds among the three of them. Randy! is the great centrist hope who will be most hostile to conservative initiatives of them all. Thus, it’s ANYBODY BUT BOYD!

    1. Ralph

      Agreed, I find it absurd the Boyd was heading Tennessee economic development while the company that he founded outsourced their manufacturing and, later, their R&D and engineering, to China.

  2. Wolf Woman

    Weak kneed, lily-livered politicians like the ones spotlighted above are the bane of the Republican party in Tennessee and continue to vote (or not vote) for the safety and well being of all Tennesseans.

    A sanctuary city (or town) is a magnet for illegal alien criminals. So the crime rate rises and when the perps are caught, they can’t be thrown out of the US. How stupid is that? Are you Republican politicians proud of supporting crime?

    A sanctuary city is a magnet for illegal aliens who want to get welfare, who want to get subsidized housing and free schooling, health care, etc. So the residents of the cities and towns have their taxes raised to pay for all these goodies. How stupid is that? Are you Republican politicians proud of raising taxes on your hard working constituents?

    A sanctuary city is in direct conflict with the idea of our sovereign nation and, in effect, sets up the illegal alien as a second class citizen whose rights are “shadowy” to non-existent, under the rule of the U.S. Constitutional law. How stupid is that? Are you Republican politicians proud of helping create a class of laboring serfs? Looks like you are or you would vote what is the best for Tennesseans and tell the illegals to get in line for legal immigration.

  3. lb

    Beth has always been a gopE lightweight. She hid until it was assured the gas tax DID pass. She is suspect on illegals and not a strong politician–just a typical go along get along establisment type. No thanks

  4. Sherrie Orange

    Unbelievable that the House Republicans did this! I am so disappointed. Either we are a nation of laws…or we aren’t. As John Wayne said,” When you allow unlawful acts to go unpunished, you’re moving to a government of men rather than a government of law and you’re moving toward anarchy and tyranny.” Allowing illegals to stay and not enforcing laws concerning this problem in several cities in this state is wrong. The taxpayers will pay for this and all citizens will pay as crime rises due to these anti sanctuary cities.

  5. Helen Bedd

    McDaniel is the last Republican in the legislature left who voted FOR an Income Tax. He and Sargent are not RINO’s that is an insult to RINO’s. They are worse. And Hazelwood needs an opponent. She is a Haslam crony. Harwell probably drops out of the Governor’s race soon. I expect she will be making appearances with Boyd shortly.

    1. Ruth Wilson

      I agree with your comments.
      For God & Country