Being our semi-regular weekly survey of what’s goin’ down in the several states where, as we know, the real work of governmentin’ goes on, and where the rooster crows at the break of dawn.
We begin this week’s tour out in Iowa but, before we start, we have a short visual presentation.
We begin with this guy, State Senator Mark Chelgren, who is pushing a bill that would cap the number of Democrats that the state’s universities could hire. In his personal CV, Chelgren said he had a business degree from something called Forbco Management School. Except, as NBC News informs us, the Forbco Management School isn’t exactly a school.
But State Sen. Mark Chelgren’s alleged alma mater is actually a company that operated a Sizzler steak house franchise in southern California and he doesn’t have a “degree,” Ed Failor, a spokesman for the Iowa State Republicans, told NBC News. “This was a management course he took when he worked for Sizzler, kind of like Hamburger University at McDonald’s,” Failor said. “He got a certificate.” Asked if Chelgren has a college degree, Failor said, “That’s not accurate.” Shortly after speaking with a reporter, the reference to Forbco Management “business degree” was removed from Chelgren’s biography on the Iowa State Republicans web site. Chelgren told NBC News on Wednesday he was not trying to inflate his education credentials. “This was not an attempt to inflate anything,” he said, adding he was not aware of the error on the web site until a reporter asked about it. “I didn’t concern myself about this, honestly.”
Hey, if the guy got an A in Theory and Practice of Onion Rings, who are we to argue? Especially when he can bring his nuanced understanding of Medieval Napkin Folding to bear on the hot issues of the day. Again, from NBC:
Chelgren has a history in Iowa of courting controversy. Since his election in 2010, Chelgren has taken heat for likening state-funded preschool to Nazi indoctrination, calling for the executions of illegal aliens who commit felonies, and for backing legislation that would require teachers to carry guns in schools.
We move along south and split time between Arkansas and Texas, where the state legislatures are both hot for a new constitutional convention in which we will trade in the work of Madison and Hamilton for that of, say, Gohmert and Levin.
First, in Arkansas, it’s all about the gay marriage. From Think Progress:
But though the Constitution is generally quite difficult to amend, the likelihood of a convention is not as far-fetched as it might seem considering the Arkansas plan in isolation. The conservative legislation-drafting organization ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is championing a push for a constitutional convention, and some 27 states already support such a convention for the sake of a balanced budget amendment — with several more state legislatures considering such petitions this year.
One of those places, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, is Texas, where The Fort Worth Star-Telegram informs us that the state senate has gone full-speed ahead—or backwards—toward ripping up the Constitution and replacing it with Jim DeMint’s CV. As you might expect, the hayshakers are fitting themselves for powdered wigs.
“My party controls the Congress but the Congress does not have my trust,” said Republican Sen. Brian Birdwell of Granbury, who added that the effort shouldn’t be derailed just because Donald Trump won the last presidential election. “I believe, over the last several decades, that the federal government has treated the states as nothing more than a subcontractor to federal will.”
It all started with Brown v. Board, no matter what these clowns say now. But at its heart is The Worst Idea In American Politics.
Texas also hopes to join a second effort known as the “convention of states,” which seeks constitutional reforms limiting federal power beyond a balanced budget amendment, and which has already been endorsed by eight other states. “We’re looking at it as a long-term solution, not just for one administration or another,” Tamara Colbert, Texas co-director of the Convention of States Project, said of conservatives nationwide potentially defying Trump and GOP-controlled Washington.