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State House Democrats prepare to tackle state budget

The House Democrat Review is a weekly feature that gives Tennesseans an in-depth look at what our Democratic state legislators have been working on this week, and a glimpse into what’s planned for the coming week at our state house. This week:

  • State Budget
  • Truth in Campaigning

Final revenue projections to be released in preparation for budget negotiations

(NASHVILLE) – As many committees and subcommittees conducted their final meetings of the 2009 Session, the Tennessee House of Representatives also began the process of drafting a final budget for the upcoming 2009-2010 fiscal year.

“We deal with a variety of issues throughout the year, but the most important work we do is creating a balanced budget that funds those programs important to working Tennesseans,” said State Representative Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville). “Our state has a tradition of passing balanced budgets and this year will be no exception.”

On Friday, the state funding board meets to set revenue projections for the coming fiscal year. Expectations are low that state revenues will make a significant rebound. Once the projections are announced, state representatives will begin the final stretch of the 2009 session. Governor Bredesen is also expected to deliver his final budget amendment later this month.

“Even though we have the help of the American Recovery and Revitalization Act from Congress, the bottom line is that we have to make some very tough cuts in order to balance our budget,” said Pitts. “Just like working families across Tennessee have to make tough choices in these tough economic times, so too will the House of Representatives.”


Legislation holds political campaigns and bloggers to same standards at news media

On Monday, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to adopt the “Fair Campaigning Act of 2009,” a bill that would address false attacks and hold political campaigns, organizations, bloggers and others to the same standards as traditional news media outlets.

“The public has for too long been subject to false and inappropriate ads from out-of-control political groups,” said Pitts. “No matter what party you belong to or what issues you support, you should always speak truth to the public and those who choose to promote false information should be held accountable.”

Under the bill, if a person or campaign knowingly publishes, broadcasts, or distributes any false and defamatory campaign literature or political advertisement relating to the conduct, fitness, or record of a candidate for public office, then that person could be held liable in a court of law.

“For too long we have allowed false information to run around as truth and rewarded such inappropriate behavior,” said Pitts. “With this legislation, civil discourse and quality debate among candidates is protected and those who engage in lies can be appropriately punished.”

The legislation is scheduled to be heard in the Senate State & Local Government on May 5th and could be passed by the Senate later this month.


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