The state of Tennessee has landed atop yet another list — this one compiled by D.C.-based reporter Tim Murphy of Mother Jones. In it, Murphy names Tennessee as No. 1 worst legislature in the U.S.
Murphy jokes that the results are scientific in nature, but in truth, it isn’t revealed how he came to the conclusions he did. Regardless, he does spell out examples for each state.
(Sen. Stacey Campfield was cited numerous times in Mother Jones’ about the
worst legislatures nationwide. Photo by Saul Young/KNS)
As for Tennessee? Here are some of the reasons that Tennessee’s legislature is the worst — or craziest — in the nation, according to Murphy.
- Gov. Bill Haslam’s signing of the “gateway body parts” bill that legislates an abstinence-only sexual education program, which would prohibit teachers from discussing almost any sexual activity during sex ed class.
- Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which sought to bar any discussion of homosexuality in elementary schools.
- Campfield’s remarks about the origin of AIDS, in which he says this in a radio interview:
“It was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men It was an airline pilot, I believe, if I recall correctly. …
My understanding and correct me if I’m wrong, Mr. Science, on this, but my understanding also is that it is virtually — not completely impossible — it’s virtually impossible to contract AIDS outside of blood transfusions through heterosexual sex. It’s virtually impossible. If you are having anal sex, yes, you are much more likely to contract AIDS.”
- The “monkey bill,” a piece of legislation that aimed to “provide guidelines for teachers answering students’ questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects” like global warming.
- Legislation introduced by Republican state Sen. Bo Watson to “crack down on the scourge of transgender citizens, by introducing legislation that, per ThinkProgress, "would institute a $50 fine for anybody who does not use the public restroom or dressing room that matches the sex identification on his or her birth certificate.”
- Fake rumor circulated through a state email account by Republican state Rep. Kelly Keisling that asserts Obama was planning a “fake assassination attempt as a pretext for imposing martial law in the United States.”
If you’re curious what other examples Murphy cited, or if you want to read about other states’ goofs, check out the story on Mother Jones. And it’s worth noting, for those who may not know, Mother Jones is considered a politically liberal website.