About Me

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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee, a member of the Finance Ways and Means Committee and the Ethics Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Presidential Quiz

Someone sent me this Presidential candidate selection tool. Answer a few questions and it gives you your candidate. It looks like they might be collecting data too but it is anonymous.

The test claims that "The scores at the end are pretty black & white--either you agree with the candidate's positions or don't. Personalities and party affiliations don't come into it."

I most agreed with Fred Thompson - the only area where we differed was energy.

The candidate I least agreed with was Hillary Clinton - scoring a 5 - we only agreed on the death penalty. We differed on Iraq, Immigration, Taxes, Stem-Cell Research, Health Care, Abortion, Social Security, Line-Item Veto, Energy and Marriage.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who Owns Big Oil Anyway?

In response to liberal politicians' plan to heavily tax Big Oil profits, API, a national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry conducted a study to find out just who is profiting from the oil and gas industry corporate profits.

In other words; who owns big oil?

API hired Robert Shapiro, noted economist and former Undersecretary of Commerce under President Clinton to find out who owns the stock in America's oil and natural gas industry and just who is profiting from high profits.

The study revealed that:

Almost 43 percent of oil and natural gas company shares are owned by mutual funds and asset management companies that have mutual funds. Mutual funds manage accounts for 55 million U.S. households with a median income of $68,700.

Twenty seven percent of shares are owned by other institutional investors like pension funds. In 2004, more than 2,600 pension funds run by federal, state and local governments held almost $64 billion in shares of U.S. oil and natural gas companies. These funds represent the major retirement security for the nation’s current and retired soldiers, teachers, and police and fire personnel at every level of government.

Fourteen percent of shares are held in IRA and other personal retirement accounts. Forty five million U.S. households have IRA and other personal retirement accounts, with an average account value of just over $22,000.

Fourteen percent of shares are owned by individual investors who purchase stocks on the open market.

1.5% of shares are owned by corporate insiders – company executives and CEO’s.

As you can see, taxing profits will only take money from your pension, retirement account, mutual fund or stock earnings; a plan which simply takes your wealth away from you and transfers it to government bureaucrats with no promise of lower prices at the pump.

So instead of taxing profits just what can we do to make the prices come down to reasonable levels that we all can afford? Increase supply. Increasing the supply of energy sources is the only way to make the price go down in any meaningful and real way.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cigarette Police

I just received this press release from the Department of Revenue.

I guess we've finally succeeded in making ordinary criminals out of ordinary smokers.

State of Tennessee

Department of Revenue

September 21, 2007 (615) 741-2461 (office)
(615) 545-1734 (cell)

REVENUE plans for cigarette surveillance at state line

Transporting more than two cartons across state line is illegal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ¾ The Tennessee Department of Revenue’s Special Investigations Section will be conducting surveillance of out-of-state tobacco retailers located near the state line for Tennessee residents purchasing cigarettes. On July 1, 2007, Tennessee’s cigarette tax increased from 20 cents per pack to 62 cents per pack.

“As a result of this legislation, Tennesseans may travel to neighboring states to purchase cigarettes in order to avoid paying Tennessee cigarette tax,” said Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr. “Tennesseans should know that the law requires cigarettes purchased outside of the state to bear a Tennessee tobacco stamp, otherwise the cigarettes may be considered contraband.”

Possessing more than 20 packs (or two cartons) of cigarettes not bearing Tennessee revenue stamps is a misdemeanor. Such products and any vehicle(s) used to transport them are subject to seizure. Possession of more than 25 cartons of untaxed cigarettes is a Class E felony.

“If Revenue agents believe that an individual is transporting more than two cartons of cigarettes into Tennessee, the vehicle carrying the cigarettes will be stopped and searched,” Commissioner Farr said. “If more than two cartons are found, the cigarettes will be seized and agents have the discretion to make arrests and seize the vehicle.”

Public Chapter 368 increased the tax on cigarettes from $0.20 to $0.62 per pack. Additional revenue from the increase is earmarked for education (approximately $195 million annually), agricultural enhancements ($21 million annually) and trauma centers statewide ($12 million annually). The Department of Revenue administers the collection and enforcement of Tennessee tobacco taxes.

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 92 percent of total state tax revenue. During the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the department collected $11.0 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, $1.9 billion of local sales tax was collected by the department for local governments during the 2006-2007 fiscal year. Besides collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the department, log on to www.Tennessee.gov/revenue.

This press release can be accessed online at http://state.tn.us/revenue/newsreleases/2007/cigenforce.htm.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ethics Code

I first submitted this ethics code as part of an article in the Lebanon Democrat in 2006. I posted it on my blog soon after the blog was created. I developed the code during the Special Session on Ethics based on our oath of office and by studing ethics codes for other professions.

It is surprising that the General Assembly does not agree on a general code of ethics from year to year. Perhaps, it is about time that we do.

Ethics Code

A legislator is a public servant working to protect the rights of the citizens and to clarify rights and laws for the common good.

We hold that there is certain behavior that the legislative branch should not engage in.

It is clear and uncontroversial that legislators should;

Uphold the Constitutions of the state of Tennessee and the United States of America and make no law to the contrary to either.

Abide by all laws of the state of Tennessee and the United States of America.

Vote without affection, favor, partiality, or prejudice.

Vote for no law injurious to the people.

Not lessen or abridge the rights and privileges of the people.

Not seek to profit from their position.

Not employ intimidation, threat or coercion for personal, financial or political gain.

Report illegal behavior of other legislators or others.

Not use the resources of the state for personal use.

Not accept gifts given due to their position or for the performance of their duties.

Contributions to campaigns should be accepted with the understanding between both parties that they procure no influence, nor promise of any vote, service or favor.

When involved in the important act of forging consensus, policy makers should commit to screen all information through their own values, convictions, and principles; employing the virtues of honesty and integrity, and should reject the influence of all conflicts of interest by using their core values as a template to place over the decisions that they face.

Legislators should not therefore perform any task or deed in direct conflict with conscience or contrary to the best interest of their constituency or the state.

This code is a proposed list of general expectations for those in a positioin of public trust but it is by no means all encompassing. Laws may certainly be derived from this list for legislators to abide by.

Let us all remember, it is always good to have a healthy skepticism of our government and public officials.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

ADHD & Food Additives

Some Food Additives Raise Hyperactivity, Study Finds

This morning’s New York Times reports on a study of food additives and hyperactivity confirming that food additives can cause some children to become hyperactive. The study was financed by Britain’s Foods Standards Agency and printed in the very reputable British medical journal The Lancet. Reuters also printed an article.

This is not the first study to confirm such results (and click here). But it has extremely important implications for children and our education system.

In fact, Appleton Central High School, an alternative school in Appleton, WI, has displayed a commitment to good nutrition by providing an additive free diet in conjunction with Natural Ovens Bakery for their students for years. They have reported much improved behavior and learning; click here, here, here, and here.

Eventually, the improved dietary standards proved so successful that the entire school system now uses such an approach.

Our Story

For me, this study further confirms my own experiences. At three years of age my son was diagnosed with ADHD. At that time pediatricians did not put such a young child on medication. It was a good thing too; otherwise I might never have sought out a book by Dr. Benjamin Feingold, called Why Your Child is Hyperactive (also available here).

Dr. Feingold, an allergist and pediatrician, explained that some children are generally predisposed to be sensitive to certain chemicals which are used as additives in the foods we regularly consume in our modern diet. In susceptible children, such additives can cause behavior, learning, health and motor skills problems.

In addition to his hyperactivity, my son’s problems were numerous; he had trouble staying on the paper when he colored as well as difficulty with drawing shapes. He suffered frequent rashes, headaches and tummy aches. He had persistent bad dreams, mild speech difficulties, and acute sensitivity to low base noises. We had also observed that he couldn’t run but the doctor told us this was actually caused by a problem with his gait when he walked – all of these symptoms were classic signs of the behavior, learning, health and motor skills problems that Feingold had described in his book.

Although the symptoms of the children in the book mirrored my young son’s, it was difficult to accept that these chemicals could possibly be affecting him. Still, I had three years before they’d try him on any medication so I put up everything in our home that Dr. Feingold had identified as a possible culprit and I kept a diary of the experience.

To my astonishment, in three days I had a normal little boy! At first I was very timid to believe that his new diet could have produced such a dramatic change in his behavior. I kept journaling in the diet diary. Soon it became quite obvious that when an infraction occurred his behavior deteriorated and then improved after three days of careful adherence to his new diet.

Our friends and family could see the change in him and were happy for us. Our pediatrician, he never conceded that the diet was of any help – we just agreed to disagree. His new diet was much healthier anyway. Nothing artificially flavored, colored, or preserved. If one reads an MSDS sheet on food additives it is very obvious that we could all benefit from such a diet.

Our son actually wanted to stay on the diet. He didn’t like the way he felt when he ate the chemical additives. He never needed medications. His teachers never complained that he was a discipline problem or nor did he have any scholastic problems. And the little boy who couldn’t run actually received four different college scholarships to run cross-country when he graduated from high school.

I have volunteered for the Feingold Association of the United States for over twenty years now; at times being much more active than in the last few years. Yet, I continue to speak on the subject whenever asked.

The Feingold Association is a tremendous help to families. They publish a grocery shopping list full of foods without chemical additives that the child can eat. It makes finding a cereal, or bread or anything else much easier on trips to the supermarket.

I am speaking about our experiences at the Incredible Families Parenting Conference this Saturday, September 8, at 9:45 am at The Grace Place, located at The Hermitage Church of God, 4316 Central Pike, Hermitage TN.

I hope this new study makes a difference for families. I think such information is one reason why I never cease to believe in the victory of the human spirit.