Morristown legislators Rep. Don Miller and Sen. Steve Southerland had their plans for re-naming the TN Highway Patrol as the state's Police Force shot down last week - and Rep. Miller was dubbed Snoop Doggy Dog Miller in legislation which he also signed on to sponsor, saying "I didn't know what I was signing at the time".
Tom Humphrey has the story:
"The bill (HB1835) then became the subject of joking on the House floor about possible name changes for the sponsor, Republican Rep. Don Miller of Morristown, and Col. Tracy Trott, the commander of the Highway Patrol who pushed for passage.
As approved earlier by the Senate 33-0, the bill would change the official name from Tennessee Highway Patrol to "Tennessee State Patrol." Trott, Miller and Senate sponsor Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, say the idea is simply to reflect that the agency has broader functions than enforcing traffic laws.
In the House floor debate, Miller said Trott has sent an email to troopers around the state and that responses showed officers supported the name change by a 6-to-1 margin. But several lawmakers - including Republican Reps. Scotty Campbell of Mountain City, Matthew Hill of Jonesborough and Curtis Halford of Dyer - said troopers they had spoken with opposed the change.
"By tradition, House members engage in a round of joking at the expense of a freshman legislator passing his or her first bill on the floor. Though freshman Miller's first bill was not passed, Rep. Phillip Johnson, R-Pegram, went ahead with the joshing, proposing a mock bill - House bill 1010, since Miller represents the 10th House District.
The bill, read aloud on the floor by Johnson, declared that Miller would henceforth be known as "Snoop Doggy Dog Miller." Trott, in turn, would be known on weekdays as "Colonel On-the-Spot Trott" and, on weekends, as "Colonel Too-Hot-to-Trot Trott."UPDATE: Taking heat for the name change and the high costs involved (and being the butt of jokes from other legislators) Rep. Miller is trying to chore up the talk about his proposed bill -- but the costs would be higher and a good point had been made that using additional funds to hire more officers might be a better approach. Again, Tom Humphrey has the story:
"According to the Safety Department, out of the THP's $91 million budget in 2009-2010, designated spending on non-traffic enforcement areas included:
--Executive Protection $1.9 million
--Special operations: $1.6 million.
--Capitol security: $1.5 million.
--Criminal Investigative Division: $1.5 million.
--Office of Professional Responsibility: $820,700.
--Governor's Marijuana Task Force: $518,500.