americans for prosperity

Statehouse emerging from holiday slumber

A statue of President Andrew Jackson is seen in front of the state Capitol in Nashville on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Tennessee Capitol complex is emerging from its holiday slumber after observing the New Year’s holiday on Monday. Lawmakers return into session next week, with much attention focused on Wednesday’s scheduled unveiling of redrawn congressional maps.

Meanwhile, the state chapter of the Americans for Prosperity is looking to get back on track after failing to put a dent in the state’s massive incentive package to cement Ford Motor Co.’s $5.6 billion investment into the Memphis Regional Megasite.

Here’s the release from the AFP:

NASHVILLE, TN — Americans for Prosperity-TN (AFP-TN) previewed its 2022 Legislative Agenda, which includes priorities to unlock economic freedom, expand educational opportunity, and enact criminal justice reforms. 

The 2022 Legislative Agenda is available here

AFP-TN State Director Tori Venable released the following statement: 

“As lawmakers return to Nashville, AFP-TN is focused on advancing policies that will help every Tennessean reach their full potential. This includes lowering taxes and advancing economic freedom, giving parents more say in their children’s education, and critical criminal justice reforms. We are looking forward to engaging with legislators about advancing priorities to break down the government barriers that hold people back.”  

Legislation AFP-TN will be advocating for includes: 

— Repeal of the Professional Privilege Tax.

— Reform the school funding formula to be student-centered and flexible.

— Expand open enrollment across state.

— Fund the police through transparent budgets.

— End civil asset forfeiture .

AFP-TN will be rolling out the agenda at events across the state in the coming weeks. 

Americans for Prosperity endorses ousted Democrat DeBerry

The political arm of the conservative Koch network is endorsing state Rep. John DeBerry of Memphis in his bid to hold on to his state House seat after being booted from the Democratic primary ballot over his propensity of voting with Republicans on issues ranging from abortion to school vouchers.

Rep. John DeBerry.

Americans for Prosperity Action adviser Tori Venable said in a release that DeBerry “exemplifies the very best Tennesseans look for in a legislator, someone who is principled and not afraid to put party loyalties aside to do what is right for his constituents.”

Republican lawmakers passed a new law after DeBerry was removed from the Democratic ballot to allow him to run as an independent in November.

“Rep. DeBerry understands we need to make students the center of our education system, not buildings and bureaucracies,” Venable said. “Now more than ever, we are seeing how our education system locks students in a one-size fits all setting that doesn’t provide the flexibility to help students and families meet their needs.”

Torrey Harris won the Democratic nomination in House District 90 following DeBerry’s ouster.

During last month’s special legislative session, DeBerry was cheered by House Republicans following an impassioned speech in favor of legislation aimed at cracking down on unruly protesters camped outside the state Capitol. The bill passed 71-20, with only one other Democrat voting in favor.

District 90 Democratic nominee Torrey Harris charged “DeBerry and other like-minded Republicans” with targeting the protesters because they had embarrassed them. Harris said he couldn’t understand why an African-American lawmaker from Memphis would vote to punish protests in response to an unarmed black man being killed by police, saying it “defies logic to me and reeks of Republican Trumpism.”