No, I'm not a RINO

It seems like most Internet bloggers would do a little homework before calling someone a RINO. Given my reputation as one of the most conservative state senators in the United States, it came as a surprise. What did I do to "deserve" that?

I voted no on a bill that needed more work.

A Senate colleague presented a bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee increasing the existing fine of transporting "illegal aliens" from $1,000 to $5,000. FYI, the law has been on the books since 2007 and has never been used. In my judgment, 17 years of doing nothing equals an ineffective law, and certainly not a law that will stop illegal immigration. Talk about hyperbole!

What did the bill need?

First, the bill didn't define "illegal alien" (nor is it defined in Tennessee or Federal code). Is a farmer transporting H-2A workers transporting illegal aliens? Is a school bus driver picking up deferred action kids transporting illegal aliens?

I guess it depends on your definition of illegal alien. More correctly, it depends on a judge's definition of an illegal alien. Without a definition in Tennessee or Federal code, do you really want a liberal judge making that decision? That's a really, really bad idea and the reason we have so much liberal-influenced case law.

Second, the bill removed protections for common carriers and religious exemptions. The bill needed to retain some protections for certain situations. The religious exemption created a loophole for NGO's that needed to be closed or corrected.

Ultimately, the bill needed work. We voted it down. It would have done nothing to stop illegal immigration. Don't take the bait. Thanks for reading, Kerry

P.S. - People (and legislators) routinely conflate or confuse work authorization, lawful immigration status, and right to remain in the United States. Biden is handing out work authorization to migrants left and right, but that doesn't mean the recipients are here legally or lawfully. It's helpful for all of us to understand the terms, use them correctly, and avoid vague or undefined terms.