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.


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.