18 April 2008

Youth Legislature

I'm blogging from the Tennessee State Capitol, where I'm sponsoring a group of students from my high school in a weekend youth in government conference.

This is not for the faint of heart: three days of grueling meetings, featuring debate and lawmaking. It's fun, though, seeing students grow over the course of the weekend. My students have proposed the following bills:
  • Eliminate voting fraud by requiring state-issued photo IDs in order for people to vote
  • Provide funding to provide a heart defibrilator to all marked police cars, which are usually the first-responders to accidents (this was our club's highest-ranked bill this weekend, and I'm proud to say that it passed the House by a 77-8 vote)
  • Provide a tax rebate to Tennesseans who buy hybrid vehicles or train/bus passes
  • Ban abortions for all teens--even if they have parental consent
  • Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana
  • Allow the use of cell phones in schools in the case of an emergency
The state of Tennessee allows students to use legislative facilities--even the Supreme Court chambers--to engage in mock debate and lawmaking. I have four students running for office, including one who wants to be governor next year.

It will be a long weekend, but in view of the long-term benefits of a program like this, it's worth my time, I feel. When I was in academy, I loved statewide and regional events (in my case they were music festivals, where I got to practice my choral skills). I would have totally loved a conference like this one, where research, debate, and critical thinking are honed.

4 comments:

Brian A. said...

How about lobbying for more funding for greenway construction in and around Knox County? We need more transportation $$ in East Tennessee.

SBTVD said...
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JD said...

No greenways for Knoxville. I think Knoxville needs another bypass--or more four-lane roads;)

Brian A. said...

I don't know what you mean. We barely get any highway money here in Knox County.