Jonesborough State Representative Matthew Hill issues a statement in regards to his vote against Tuesday's committee vote on wine sales in grocery stores.
"As Chairman of the House Local Government Committee, I take the legislative committee process very seriously. The committee system is in place to allow lawmakers on both sides of an issue the opportunity to thoroughly debate ideas in an open and transparent environment.
Yesterday, hundreds of Tennesseans were in Nashville to hear arguments both in favor and against House Bill 610, including ten amendments that had been filed by legislators to make various changes to the bill. Unfortunately, when the time came to begin debate on the issue, a motion was made to end all discussion and immediately vote on the bill. A roll-call vote was then initiated and I voted “no” on the legislation.
The reasoning behind my vote is simple: we must allow the committee system the opportunity to do its job — that is, we must give all bills that come before the legislature a fair, open, and honest hearing. This is what our constituents expect and what voters of this state deserve.
When a bill comes before my committee, I cannot in good faith send a bill further along in the process unless I am confident both sides of the issue have had ample time to present their arguments. As an elected legislator sworn to protect the Tennessee Constitution, it is my duty to always conduct the people’s business in a sincere, appropriate, and transparent manner.
Tennessee is not Washington D.C. Here, we do not ram bills through without first debating the legislation and allowing all sides to present their opinions. The entire nation was outraged, and rightfully so, when those in D.C. pushed through ObamaCare with no debate whatsoever. As a Representative of the people of Washington County, I simply refuse to allow the thoughtful approach of hearing all sides of an issue turn into a meaningless and unresponsive bureaucratic process like so many things in our nation’s capital have unfortunately become."