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Lobbyists: Too powerful in TennesseePosted Wednesday, March 26, 2008, at 2:01 PM
Should Tennesseans be able to buy wine in grocery stores? Not if the Wine or Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee -- and, especially their lobbyists, have their way.
They say they're protecting small businesses (liquor stores) against national chain stores (Kroger seems to be the main one mentioned), and claim independent operators can better screen against drunks and underage buyers.
We also hear complaints of how lobbyists for the state's nursing home industry have allegedly been behind laws keeping adequate funding from home health agencies. Supposedly some nursing home patients could still be living semi-independently in their own homes if more state money was allocated in that direction.
Then there's the telephone companies' attempts to bypass state laws requiring local cable TV franchises in every locality, which if successful will allegedly allow "cherry-picking" of wealthier areas for broadband while excluding poorer and rural areas. I tend to side with the cable companies.
Seems like big business has way too much influence on Tennessee legislators. It's time for the people to have the loudest voice, not lobbyists.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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