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VITAL POLICY – Maine Repeals Civil Asset Forfeiture, Tennessee Struggles to Protect Property Rights

VITAL POLICY – Maine Repeals Civil Asset Forfeiture, Tennessee Struggles to Protect Property Rights

After decades of attempts, the Tennessee General Assembly continues to work around the margins to reform civil asset forfeiture. By comparison, the state of Maine is now the fourth state to abolish civil forfeiture and replace it with the constitutional model of criminal asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture is the process by which government can […]

VITAL POLICY – OPINION Jefferson County’s “Tourist Punishment Tax” – a Double-Edged Sword that Must be Wielded Wisely

VITAL POLICY – OPINION Jefferson County’s “Tourist Punishment Tax” – a Double-Edged Sword that Must be Wielded Wisely

On any given day, the Jefferson County Tourism Office does a great job of attracting tourism business to Jefferson County, as well as the tax revenue that comes with it. Restaurants, markets, grocery stores, caterers, event venues, photographers, and many other businesses derive benefit. Tourists by the thousands sail in, spend their money, and sail […]

Vital Policy Opinion Ed – Elected School Directors Back in the Legislative Meat Grinder for 2022, Local Impact Examined, Questions Raised

Vital Policy Opinion Ed – Elected School Directors Back in the Legislative Meat Grinder for 2022, Local Impact Examined, Questions Raised

Until 1992 the voting citizens of Tennessee had the power to elect school directors. The time to return that constitutional power to the citizens is long overdue. Prior to the “Education Improvement Act of 1992”, potential school directors had to campaign, one-on-one with voters, and get acquainted with the citizens whose tax money they were […]

Vital Policy – Tennessee Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in School Voucher (ESA) Case

Vital Policy – Tennessee Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in School Voucher (ESA) Case

When the Tennessee legislature enacted a school voucher pilot program in 2019, a lawsuit was immediately filed by Shelby County, the Nashville Metropolitan Government of Davidson County, and Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education asking the Chancery Court of Davidson County to declare ESAs unconstitutional, essentially an effort to stop the voucher program. The trial […]

VITAL POLICY – U.S. Supreme Court Rejects “Community Caretaking” Doctrine in Fourth Amendment Case, Tennessee Court to Address Warrantless Surveillance by TWRA

VITAL POLICY – U.S. Supreme Court Rejects “Community Caretaking” Doctrine in Fourth Amendment Case, Tennessee Court to Address Warrantless Surveillance by TWRA

Two cases involving unreasonable search by government authorities have caught the attention of constitutional activists on a national scale. The first, decided unanimously in the U.S. Supreme Court, involves the entry into a private residence and the subsequent confiscation of firearms by law enforcement under the “community caretaking” doctrine. The second involves warrantless video surveillance […]

Vital Policy – Jefferson County Republicans Hold Town Hall, Event Draws Speakers from Across State, School Board and County Commission Races Discussed

Vital Policy – Jefferson County Republicans Hold Town Hall, Event Draws Speakers from Across State, School Board and County Commission Races Discussed

Nearly one hundred Jefferson County Republicans held a town hall meeting recently to discuss issues of interest. High on the list of priorities were topics related to fiscal responsibility, teaching constitutional principles in public schools, the importance of electing conservative officials that are willing to protect the founding principles of the nation and exercise fiscal […]

VITAL POLICY – Ogles Successfully Sponsors Legislation to Protect Small Business in Tennessee, Eliminating Discrimination by Local Governments

VITAL POLICY – Ogles Successfully Sponsors Legislation to Protect Small Business in Tennessee, Eliminating Discrimination by Local Governments

Tennessee saw more than 1200 small businesses close permanently in 2020, due primarily to forced closures from Covid-19 restrictions, this according to For All Tennessee, a public interest non-profit organization that lobbies for economic freedom, personal liberty, and the constitutional treatment of citizens. In response to mass business closures and the discriminatory labeling of certain […]

VITAL POLICY – Getting Jefferson County’s Financial House In Order – A Path To Providing Better Education Services

VITAL POLICY – Getting Jefferson County’s Financial House In Order – A Path To Providing Better Education Services

My 5th Grade teacher, Nancy Jones, always gave her students sound advice, especially in the areas of life, respect, and humility. If you are going to criticize someone, she would say, at least be willing to suggest a better plan or be willing to listen to the ideas of others. We have a set of […]

Vital Policy – Property Rights Protection Bills Delayed by Special Interest Groups in Tennessee General Assembly

Vital Policy – Property Rights Protection Bills Delayed by Special Interest Groups in Tennessee General Assembly

For the second legislative session in a row, housing authority and community development agency lobbyists have persuaded state legislators to place property rights protection bills on the back burner. A bill filled in 2020 to prevent eminent domain proceedings against non-blighted property in a redevelopment area was opposed by Knoxville Community Development Corporation (KCDC). Speaking […]

Vital Policy – Jefferson County and City of Farragut Make Resolutions Expressing Concerns Over 5G Small Cell Installations, State Legislation Pending

Vital Policy – Jefferson County and City of Farragut Make Resolutions Expressing Concerns Over 5G Small Cell Installations, State Legislation Pending

What do the governments of Farragut and Jefferson County, Tennessee have in common, two seemingly unlike jurisdictions? In addition to the typical tax and public service issues that all municipalities grapple with, that would be the safety and property rights concerns of 5G small cell support structure installations in public rights of way, as well […]

Tennessee Legislature Considers Return to Elected School Directors

Tennessee Legislature Considers Return to Elected School Directors

Nearly three decades ago, state lawmakers changed the way school directors are chosen in the state of Tennessee. Abandoning the process of electing school directors was part of a sweeping education reform act known as the Education Improvement Act of 1992. Changes were made to a wide variety of education policies including school fees, BEP […]

Vital Policy – Legislation Filed to Protect Property Rights, Sponsors Niceley and Carr

Vital Policy – Legislation Filed to Protect Property Rights, Sponsors Niceley and Carr

State legislators will be considering proposed legislation in the current General Assembly aimed at protecting private property from eminent domain abuse. Under current Tennessee law, “blighted areas” are so broadly defined that virtually any property is at risk of condemnation by local housing authorities as part of a redevelopment plan. The proposed legislation, if enacted, […]

VITAL POLICY – Third Time May be a Charm for School Vouchers – Tennessee Supreme Court to Hear Case

VITAL POLICY – Third Time May be a Charm for School Vouchers – Tennessee Supreme Court to Hear Case

In a court order filed February 4, 2021, the Tennessee Supreme Court granted permission for appeal and ordered the school voucher case to be set for oral arguments upon filing of briefs. After the General Assembly enacted the controversial ESA school voucher pilot program in 2019, a Chancery Court in Davidson County ruled that ESA’s […]

Niceley Pushes State Legislation to End Bond Requirement in Civil Forfeiture Cases

Niceley Pushes State Legislation to End Bond Requirement in Civil Forfeiture Cases

In 2014 the amount of property and cash seized by federal law enforcement under civil asset forfeiture was $4.5 billion. That figure does not include the billions in cash and property seized by state governments. According to FBI data, the amount taken in the United States by criminals that same year was $3.9 billion, making […]