Legislative round-up for June 25, 2015


Time to remove a symbol of racism

In addition to WalMart’s ban this week on Confederate flag sales, three area legislators have come out against the banner in the wake of the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

  • U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Monday, “It is up to the people of South Carolina, but I hope they remove a flag that many see as a symbol of racial intolerance. The flag to fly is the American flag because it is a symbol that this is one country and we are all Americans.”
  • U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) acknowledge this as a state’s issue and said, “[I]f I were there, I would certainly vote to have it come down. It serves no purpose anymore, especially after what has occurred. I was born in South Carolina. I lived in South Carolina the first 11 years of my life. I love South Carolina, but I think in light of what’s happened, there’s no question from my perspective over what ought to happen.”
  • Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) said, “States should not be in the business of endorsing the Confederate flag, which represents rejection of the United States of America, secession from the Union, and support of slavery. I commend the Supreme Court for ruling yesterday [June 18] to protect states’ right not to have license plates that would be disturbing to many of its citizens and not threatening a tried and true manner of voluntary state funding.”

Sen. Corker says Iran talks need a firm U.S. stance

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, on Monday highlighted enactment of his legislation (The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act), giving Congress a chance to review any final nuclear deal before the president can waive congressional sanctions on Iran.

He also called U.S. demands for “anytime, anywhere” inspections and disclosure of Iran’s past research into weaponization of a nuclear weapon “non-negotiable,” urging the Obama administration to be prepared to suspend talks unless Iran agrees.

Airlines suspend plan to downsize carry-on luggage

Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen is pleased that a proposed airline initiative didn’t take off.

He said, “Consumers are tired of being squeezed — physically and fiscally — by airlines, and the recent proposal to shrink carry-on luggage sizes is a step too far. It was a transparent attempt to squeeze even more money out of passengers by forcing them to pay baggage fees to check luggage they purchased specifically to avoid those fees.”

He continued, “I’m glad that after I introduced legislation to stop these new size limits from going into effect, the airline industry announced it was putting these plans on hold to reassess.”

See a video of Cohen’s interview with CNN’s Richard Quest on this topic at http://bit.ly/CNN-int.