MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A gathering of state lawmakers in Nashville on Tuesday provided a perfect illustration of the lopsided nature of the Tennessee legislature. All six participants were Democrats and four of the represent districts in Memphis. They met with the news media for a noble cause — to announce a series of bills aimed at ratcheting up the battle against domestic violence in the state.
One bill introduced by Rep. Raumesh Akbari would provide employment protection for domestic violence victims who must take off work to attend court hearings, receive counseling or file for an order of protection.
Another bill offered by Rep. Johnnie Turner would automatically protect children who may be caught up in domestic abuse incidents.
The lawmakers said they are pushing these bills now because of revelations that a former White House staffer had abused two ex-wives and because Tennessee has a high rate of domestic violence cases.
But here`s the problem. Republicans enjoy a super majority in the legislature and nd not a single Republican joined their Democratic colleagues on Tuesday.
One reason might be that Republicans think Democrats are playing politics with the issue by piling on against the Trump White House, which is clearly on the defensive over its handling of domestic abuse.
But the fact is, unless Republicans come on board, none of these bills will go anywhere. That speaks volumes about our polarized legislature.
And it`s sad.