Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Congressman Scott Cepicky to the newsmakers line to weigh in on Major League Baseball’s decision to withdrawl from Georgia, cancel culture, and the upcoming agenda in the Tennessee General Assembly.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line, by our good friend, state Representative Scott Cepicky from Maury County. Scott, welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.
Cepicky: Michael, how are you doing today?
Leahy: Well, I’m doing great. You are, of course, our favorite state legislator who is a former professional baseball player. You played for the AA Nashville Express and the AAA Nashville Sounds and almost made it to the bigs had not been for a trade between the Chicago White Sox and the Montreal Expos that brought Tim Raines to Chicago. I just got to ask you, what are they thinking in Major League Baseball to cancel the All-Star Game in Atlanta?
Cepicky: Well, you know, Michael it is very troubling what’s happening in professional sports right now and the hypocrisy of all of these other corporations. So you know as well as I do and your listeners, let’s talk about Delta Airlines. If you’re going to go pick up your ticket at Delta Airlines the first thing they ask you for is your ID. Or if you’re going to go to a Nashville Sounds baseball game and you are going to pick up your tickets at will call the first thing they’re going to ask you for is your ID to prove who you are.
I think Georgia has done just common sense. What people are wanting is, hey, we’re not denying anybody the ability to go vote. Just make sure you bring your ID to prove who you are so you’re able to vote. And I think Major League Baseball is really overstepping the boundaries here. And then you mentioned how they are going to Coors Field in Colorado that has voter ID laws.
Leahy: It doesn’t make any sense to me. And what’s troubling to me, you are a member of the Tennessee General Assembly, and according to the United States Constitution and the Tennessee Constitution, election procedures and election laws are the responsibility of the Tennessee General Assembly for federal elections and for state and local also for the Tennessee General Assembly and the governor. What is it with these Fortune 500 companies that are so woke and they think they are the ones who set the rules about elections? What’s happening with that?
Cepicky: Well, my dad taught me a long time ago, he said, Scott, always understand what role you play and stay in your lane. And you’re right. The General Assembly is the one that affects the laws on elections. And the corporations are the ones that hire people to work in Tennessee. Michael, the last time I checked, we don’t have a problem with corporations or people moving to Tennessee because of the laws we have and the lack of oversight of laws.
We have no state income tax and the loan tax structure here in Tennessee is very attractive for corporations to move here. And for that matter, if you look at Georgia with the environment they have Coca-Cola is there. Delta Airlines is there. CitiBank is there and major corporations are there because of the laws that they all live under, but they’re very quick to bite the hand that provides those opportunities.
Leahy: What is the general attitude among your colleagues in the Tennessee General Assembly when they see a woke ridiculous decision by Major League Baseball, by Delta, and by Coca-Cola, to try and force sovereign states to do things that they think are better for the general population?
Cepicky: Well, I don’t speak for all the members, but I know a great deal of us are concerned about how this whole culture is and this cancel culture. If you disagree with them, they want to shut you down right away. And that’s not the way our country was founded. We were founded on differing opinions and trying to find the middle ground. And now there’s no middle ground either.
If you agree with them, then they give you the thumbs up. If you disagree with them, then they want to cancel you out and they want to call you a racist or a bigot. I think we’ve got to get past that as a country. I mean, do you see the poll just like I do? This is probably the most divided our country has ever been, and we need to start to work together towards making our country as great as it used to be.
Leahy: Yeah, I agree with you completely. If I can turn the corner a little bit on that topic and go to the Tennessee General Assembly. I think the chairman of the Education Committee is doing a great job there. What is going to be happening in the last couple of weeks of the Tennessee General Assembly? What’s on your agenda?
Cepicky: Well, in education we worked very hard to make sure that we just don’t overburden our teachers and administrators with just more things to do. We are laser-focused on K-3 education, trying to make sure that all kids, no matter where they come from, no matter what background they have, all children will be able to read, write, and do math so that they can prosper in the four through 12-grade levels.
We are working on textbooks, making sure that they align with our standards and curriculums are aligned to our standards. And lastly, the supplemental materials that you hear that teachers will inadvertently pull something off the Internet that’s confrontational or questionable, and it gets the LEA in trouble that now supplemental materials will have to align the Tennessee standards and our values.
So a lot of work has been done in education. We had a special session with literacy and going back to summer school and getting kids help with tutoring. We are all in. We are all in with making sure our kids know how to read, write, and do math. And then yesterday on the House floor I thought we did something rather appropriate as we recognized Dolly Parton as the first lady of literacy in Tennessee with all she’s done with the Imagination Library.
I think over 152 million books have been distributed through the Imagination Library and 1.7 million Tennesseeans have had the opportunity to experience Imagination Library, including my two children. So a lot of things happening. We’re probably four weeks away from wrapping up the session.
Leahy: You mentioned Dolly Parton. It’s interesting because Scooter and I were talking a little bit about Dolly Parton. Everybody in America thinks highly of Dolly Parton. She’s done a remarkable job not just for the state of Tennessee, but for the country with her literacy efforts.
Cepicky: Oh, absolutely. I mean, as an elected official, I don’t want to get caught up in your position here. I can talk for two hours on education, but Dolly Parton can come up to a microphone and speak for two minutes which weighs 10 times more heavily on literacy. And so we just wanted to make sure that Dolly knew that we appreciated her efforts in education. She knows how important it is for Tennessee to be able to read, write, and do math. And we just wanted to make sure that she felt appreciated by the state of Tennessee.
Leahy: What other big things do you see happening in the final three or four weeks of the Tennessee General Assembly?
Cepicky: Well, you know, the permitless carry. And I’m going to say its permitless carry has passed the House and Senate. It’s gone on to the governor’s desk. There are other bills. Criminal justice reform. There’s a bill coming through the pipeline.
Leahy: I have one question for you. I saw that the House passed what I think is a very good bill yesterday to provide a formal review process for the constitutionality of executive orders from the president. What’s your take on that?
Cepicky: You read my mind. That was the one I was trying to remember. Government operations, the House passed and we’ll have the ability to look at all the executive orders or, for that matter, any law that’s passed by the federal government to make sure it doesn’t infringe on our Tenth Amendment rights or, for that matter, it’s constitutional. There was another bill that’s making its way that will be filed here shortly on vaccine passports opposing those in the state of Tennessee.
Leahy: I saw the bill to review the constitutionality of executive orders coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the office of the President. The bill passed 70 to 23, mainly along party lines. But there were two Democrats who voted for the bill. State Representative Johnny Shaw from Boliver, but also John Mark Windle. What a great guy he is.
Cepicky: He has been there, I think since Abraham Lincoln was born. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: I will tell him you said that if we get him in here.
Cepicky: He has his principles and he will not be swayed from his principles, which is very admirable to him. And sometimes his principles do not align with this party, and he’s not afraid to stand up and take that vote. And he sits two spaces in front of me on the House floor. He’s very well respected up there, the General Assembly. And obviously, he’s well respected by his constituents because they keep sending them back up there year after year after year.
Leahy: When you sit down next to him today on the House floor, just say tell him, hey, please, come in. Michael Patrick Leahy wants you to come in studio on The Tennessee Star Report. Will you do that for us?
Cepicky: I will do that Michael.
Listen to the full second hour here:
– – –