published Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey wants jobless benefits recipients drug-tested

Should unemployed workers collecting jobless benefits be drug tested?

NASHVILLE — Drug testing for unemployed workers collecting jobless benefits as well as injured employees getting worker’s compensation are among changes Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, plans to push in the upcoming legislative session.

“I’m in favor of drug testing for people who are on any kind of benefits, whether it’s unemployment compensation or workers’ compensation, whatever it is, because I don’t think we need to be supporting that lifestyle with government money,” Ramsey told reporters. “I’m very much for that.”

He predicted the measure will pass in the session, which begins Jan. 10.

Meanwhile, Ramsey, the lieutenant governor, predicted lawmakers will “reconstitute” the state’s Court of the Judiciary, which is in charge of disciplining judges. Republicans have held hearings for months on complaints from people who say the panel has been too easy on misbehaving judges.

More citizen members are needed on the Court of the Judiciary, Ramsey said. He claims lawmakers’ hearings deserve credit for the panel issuing a public reprimand of Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge David Bales.

Bales drew the reprimand after twice publicly criticizing two Criminal Court judges over their decisions to change his rulings on bonds for criminal defendants.

“I don’t think that would have happened if we hadn’t been looking into this ... and [judges] knowing we’re looking over their shoulder,” Ramsey told reporters at the state Capitol.

Asked about the case of former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner, who resigned and was subsequently disbarred following a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation inquiry that found he had bought and abused prescription painkillers, Ramsey said he could support drug testing for judges.

And politicians in general?

“Let’s do it. Let’s do it. I’m all for it,” Ramsey said. “My Diet Mountain Dew will show up and that’s about it, I guess.”

Trouble for DesJarlais?

State Senate and House GOP leaders met last week to begin discussions on two congressional redistricting plans for Tennessee’s nine congressional seats.

Republicans control seven of the nine districts as a result of 2010 electoral victories. One of the plans, details of which are unclear, would result in an 8-1 GOP majority.

A less risky plan, aimed at protecting the current 7-2 majority, may concern U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., a Jasper physician who unexpectedly ousted then-U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., in the sprawling 4th Congressional District.

Sources say Plan No. 2 puts Republican areas of Rutherford County into the 4th. State Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, had previously floated the idea of doing just that. And he hasn’t ruled out a congressional bid.

GOP leaders remain in discussion about the respective plans.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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librul said...

Hilarious - using "GOP" and "leaders" in the same sentence.

CASE #1 - "A Republican mayor in Mississippi admitted this week that he was gay after an audit revealed that he spent taxpayer money at a gay adult store in Canada.

"Greg Davis was elected as the mayor of Southaven in 1997 on a platform of conservative “family values,” but he says he recently realized that he was gay.

“At this point in my life and in my career, while I have tried to maintain separation between my personal and public life, it is obvious that this can no longer remain the case,” the mayor, now in his third term, told The Commercial Appeal."

CASE #2 - "In yet another case of the GOP failing to uphold its “Family Values” mantle, Minnesota Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned from her leadership post after facing allegations of an “inappropriate relationship” with a staffer."

December 18, 2011 at 8:44 a.m.
Facts said...

Hilarious. It's virtuous to protect drug users who live off our tax dollars. No. Those of you who find this "offensive" demonstrate it's not about anything but buying votes.

December 18, 2011 at 5:24 p.m.
Rtazmann said...


December 18, 2011 at 5:32 p.m.
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