VIDEO: Sec. Hargett’s Voter Registration Criminalization Extravanganza (HIGHLIGHTS)

In 2018, the Tennessee Black Voter Project set out to register 55,000 voters – and ended up registering close to 90,000.

Now Secretary of State Tre Hargett has a bill – HB 1079/SB 971 – which would criminalize voter registration efforts, with fines and penalties for mistakes on forms, and potential criminal punishment for turning forms in with deficiencies, or not getting the “proper” training.

It would be the first of its kind in the country.

The bill passed a senate committee this week, despite opposition from Senators Jeff Yarbro and Steve Dickerson.

Watch the HIGHLIGHTS:

Dickerson was concerned that the bill sought to punish people for mistakes, pointing out that it’s already illegal to submit fraudulent forms.

Yarbro made the point that most registration groups feel they’re required to turn in even incomplete forms, so to punish them for doing what they’re compelled to do by law would be unfair.

Yarbro was by far the most vocal in opposition.

He also pointed out that there’s a standard amount of deficiencies according to federal statistics, and this bill would end up punishing pretty much any large-scale voter registration drives as a result. He also reminded the committee that the proposed penalties are harsher than some violent crimes.

The Holler spoke with Tequila Johnson, one of the driving forces behind the Tennessee Black Voter project, who confirmed the group was in fact under the impression that they were required to turn in any forms voters had touched, and had been advised to do just that. She also said they took careful measures for quality control purposes, and adamantly insisted they did not pay per form, which is what Election Coordinator Mark Goins said the bill intended to put a stop to.

Johnson says the Black Voter Project attempted to reach out to Hargett’s office even before the project for guidance, but were turned down. Instead they met with local election commissions who told them to turn in any forms that voters even partially filled out.

Johnson:

“We were careful. We didn’t want anything to jeopardize the integrity of the project… mistakes happened, but not at the scale they’re talking about. They’re taking a few times it happened and highlighting it to mischaracterize the whole project.”

Johnson says she tried to go and testify, but nobody would return her calls.

“I reached out several times. Nobody would return my calls. People don’t respect black organizers… I’m from Tennessee, bred and buttered. I’m used to their attempts to limit access. It’s just another hoop to have to jump through. Bring it on. I’m sure this bill will discourage some people, but it won’t be me.”

Johnson insists nobody was paid per form but by the hour. This was a major sticking point for Goins, who was there on behalf of Secretary of State Tre Hargett. Goins offered no proof to the contrary, but instead used a statement from a worker who said they were told to “register everyone and not take no for an answer”, as well as another from a man whose wife had been deceased when she was registered.

As for the 55% deficiency number cited by Goins at the hearing, we have reached out to ask where that comes from. It appears to come from this article about Shelby county registrations, but the number in that article does not apply to all 30,000 new forms, and does not get specific about how many new registrations were seemingly fraudulent vs. just deficient.

Secretary Tre Hargett told us this week that it is “not true” the bill is retaliatory against black voters in nature, but Tequila Johnson remains unconvinced and says they knew this was coming:

“We knew there would be backlash even when we named it the Black Voter Project. But we have to not be afraid to stand in our truth. Our ancestors survived a lot worse. I’d be a damn coward to back out now.”

She also says this shouldn’t be a partisan issue:

“I have Republican Friends. I registered Republicans personally. People with confederate flags, Trump stickers… this isn’t just about black or brown, or Republican or Democrat – it’s about access. It’s about power and money. But I do feel like people don’t respect black organizations in this city. ‘Equity’ is just a buzz word to them.”

And went on to stress that The Tennessee Black Voter Project is not some behemoth organization:

“We’re 100% volunteer-led. We don’t have a full-time staff. Hargett’s yearly salary is more than we’ve ever raised. We figured out how to do what he should be doing.”

Tennessee regularly ranks near the bottom in voter turnout.

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) says this about Hargett’s bill:

“This bill would have a chilling effect on voter registration in Tennessee. It punishes Good Samaritans… The idea of punishing this virtuous behavior is absurd.”

If you think Tennessee should be making it easier to register to vote, not harder, Holler at Secretary of State Tre Hargett HERE.

EMAIL: tre.hargett@tn.gov

VIDEO: ARMING TEACHERS BILL HIGHLIGHTS (Heads to House & Senate Committees Wednesday)

Last week HB 1380 – a bill from Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) to allow teachers to arm themselves in Tennessee’s schools – passed out of the K-12 subcommittee, despite every single witness who testified making a case in opposition, including a teacher, a student, a former teacher, and 3 representatives from law enforcement.

Watch the Highlights:

The Senate version is SB1399 by Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville).

The two measures are scheduled to be heard on the same day this week: Wednesday, April 10th.

The bill, as amended, allows the carrying of loaded, concealed weapons by school employees with permits. The names of the employees would be kept confidential, though it appears neither the school nor the state would be held liable for any of the employee’s actions in relation to a shooting incident.

Law enforcement witnesses included Brink Fidler, a former Metro Nashville plainclothes officer, Sheriff John Fuson of Montgomery County, representing the Tennessee Sheriffs Association, and Colonel Dereck Stewart of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

They all were concerned about training and allowing teachers to teach and law enforcement to handle those duties.Sheriff Fuson also pointed out the issue of responding officers differentiating between well-intentioned  school employees and an active shooter.

House Education Committee chair Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) said he talked to authorities at a Kentucky school in the aftermath of a shooting there, who said arming teachers “would’ve been the worst thing they could to.”

Rep. Williams responded that Parkland’s authorities thought differently.

Rep. Iris Rudder (R-Winchester) felt it was a “discussion worth having” and helped it pass to full committee, while Rep. John Mark Windle (D-Livingston) asked why Tennessee wouldn’t pay for School Resource Officers everywhere with the $1 Billion surplus.

The bill is before the house and senate committees Wednesday. Holler at your reps.

Reps Weaver & Love Face-Off Over Child Suspensions & Expulsions And Science

With black kids being expelled & suspended at alarming rates, Rep. Harold Love’s bill for teachers to at least consider a child’s home environment before expelling/suspending them meets resistance from Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, who skeptically asks why anyone would use science when it comes to bad behavior and thinks the problem may be that teachers aren’t allowed to discipline:

“Some of these kids need a spanking.”

The bill moved on to full committee. Watch the HIGHLIGHTS:

TN Teachers Against Vouchers Calling In Sick To Flood The Capitol Tuesday 4/9

(FIRST SEEN ON THE TN ED REPORT… Follow @TNEdReport for more updates)

A Tennessee teacher writes about the education policies that make her sick.

I’m sick.

Sick of my students being over-tested and our schools being underfunded.

Sick of teachers leaving the profession because they are underpaid and undervalued.

Sick of Tennessee being 45th in the nation in per pupil funding.

Sick of being disrespected by a Governor who has proposed increasing state funding for unaccountable charter schools by 100% while only increasing funding for teachers by 2%.

And how I feel is only going to get worse if the state government passes voucher legislation, which will further drain the resources our students need from public schools and hand them over to unaccountable private companies.

That’s why there’s a movement of teachers planning on calling in sick on Tuesday, April 9th to travel to Nashville and flood the capitol.

We plan on letting our state’s politicians know just how sick we are. And we plan on making it clear to them: the war on public education in Tennessee ends now.

I’m a member of the Tennessee Education Association, but I know that there are many in the state leadership who think that collective action is too aggressive and premature. They still believe that we can work amicably with state politicians. I disagree.

Anyone still entertaining that idea should have had a rude awakening last week when Betsy DeVos visited our state and held closed door meetings with privatizers and politicians.

Several months back, when Governor Lee announced his unfortunate choice for the TN Commissioner of Education, I publicly stated that he had declared war on public education. Some may have thought that was a bit dramatic. However, the Governor wouldn’t have invited the most vilified Secretary of Education in history to the state if he didn’t plan on dropping an atomic bomb on public education. His voucher and charter bills are just that.

With the backing of ALEC and Betsy DeVos those devastating bills will pass unless teachers wake up and do something drastic. Millions upon millions of dollars will be drained from public education and siphoned away from our students.

How do I know this? Because it was perfectly ok to have an admitted child predator be the chair of the House Education Committee until he voted against the voucher bill. Only then was he no longer fit to be the chair.

Strong arm tactics are running rampant and the writing is on the wall.

The go-along to get-along approach of the state teachers association, which means working with the enemies of public education, has been a pipe dream for almost a decade, and it’s time for teachers to wake up. All the emailing and phone calls in the world won’t stop politicians bankrolled by billionaires like the Koch brothers and DeVos family from pursuing devastating legislation that hurts our schools, students, and communities.

Over the last year, I have watched educators in one state after another rise up, take their power back, and force legislators to actually represent THEM and not privatizers. It didn’t matter that the strikes were illegal or sick-outs were risky. When educators stick together and have the backing of the community, they can make real change possible. Teachers can take on billionaires and win. They already have in other states.

In my opinion, the only thing that will stop this insanity is for teachers to walk out. Shut it down. Take back our schools. Take back our profession. Do our job……. and fight for our kids.

I hope to see you in the capitol on Tuesday, April 9.

Lauren Sorensen is a second grade teacher at Halls Elementary School in Knox County and a former president of the Knox County Education Association.

CASADA’S NEXT POWER GRAB

Speaker Glen Casada wants control of the staff responsible for providing an “independent” fiscal analysis of legislation and state finances.

The Fiscal Review Committee, created in 1967 to oversee the fiscal operations of the state, was established to provide “independent information concerning the fiscal affairs of the State.”

Under House Bill 1233, the Speakers of the House and Senate take responsibility for hiring the fiscal review executive director and any other position the speakers deem as “necessary” and determining their salaries.

Additionally, the director “serves at the pleasure of the speakers” — meaning the chief can be fired at any time.

The bill would give the speakers unprecedented authority over the agency responsible for determining the price tag for proposed legislation—a factor that can quickly sway the opinions of lawmakers. 

With motivation to keep the boss happy, the director and staff might assign larger price tags to legislation carried by the speakers’ political opponents.

Rep. Rick Tillis (R-Lewisberg) made this point during discussion, clearly pointing out that “control” was the key word in the explanation of the bill.

Control of fiscal notes is power. Power is what Casada seeks.  The last thing we need is to politicize another independent process.

House Bill 1233 is scheduled for a vote in the full House of Representatives on April 10. The senate version of the bill is scheduled to be heard by the Senate State and Local Government Committee on April 9.

Side note: In 2015, Casada sponsored legislation that would allow members to review the documentation that showed the fiscal analysts arrived at their conclusions. It was never voted on. 

How they voted: House Bill 1233, House State Committee on April 2:
Representatives voting for the speakers’ power grab:
Rep. Rush Bricken, R-Tullahoma, District 47
Rep. Rick Eldridge, R-Morristown, District 10
Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, District 17
Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer, District 79
Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, District 2
Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown, District 38
Rep. Justin Lafferty, R-Knoxville, District 89
Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, District 78
Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, District 20
Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, District 77 (bill co-sponsor)
Rep. Chris Todd, R-Jackson, District 73

Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, District 51
Rep. Harold Love, Jr., D-Nashville, District 58
Rep. Rick Staples, D-Knoxville, District 15

Representatives voting no were:
Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, District 5
Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, District 53
Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, District 80
Rep. Rick Tillis, R-Lewisberg, District 92

Rep. Lamar’s Bill to Help Pregnant Hope Scholarship Teens Passes With Bipartisan Support

Rep. London Lamar’s bill to give pregnant Hope Scholarship high schoolers more time with their babies before having to go to college passed with bipartisan support, after Lamar and Rep. Antonio Parkinson reminded the committee of its “pro-life” nature, and pointed out that the intention of the bill is to make it so that underprivileged girls aren’t forced to choose between their child and their education.

There was pushback both from the representative from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) in his testimony, and from Chairman Mark White (R), who claimed that allowing this concession to pregnant teens would open up the process to people with other medical issues – like depression and mononucleosis.

Lamar pushed back by stating the obvious:

“Pregnancy is not the same as depression.”

Lamar had support from an unlikely source in Speaker Pro Tempore Bill Dunn (R), who agreed that pregnancy is different than the other medical issues Brought up, and appreciated that the bill would keep pregnant teenagers from having to choose between their children and their education.

Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D) had the last word in support, saying that pro-life legislators needed to be consistent and support this bill.

“If we are going to be in a pro-life culture we need to, at a minimum, give people the tools to make pro-life decisions.”

He then called on anyone who supported the Heartbeat Bill to support the legislation.

The bill passed 14-6.

HB0689 by Lamar – HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE:
Rec. for pass; ref to Government Operations Committee 4/3/2019
Passed
Ayes………………………………………..14
Noes…………………………………………6

Representatives voting aye were: Baum, Byrd, Coley, DeBerry, Dixie, Dunn, Hodges, Hurt, Love, Moody, Parkinson, Vaughan, Williams, Windle — 14.
Representatives voting no were: Cochran, Haston, Leatherwood, Sexton J, Weaver, White — 6.

VIDEO: Sec. Hargett’s Voter Registration Criminalization Bill Press Conference

In 2018, the Tennessee Black Voter Project set out to register 55,000 voters – and ended up registering close to 90,000.

Now Secretary of State Tre Hargett has introduced a seemingly retaliatory bill which would criminalize voter registration efforts, with fines and penalties for mistakes on forms, and potential criminal punishment for registering too many people or not getting the “proper” training:

“Republican Rep. Tim Rudd’s bill HB 1079 (SB 971) calls for class A misdemeanors if, knowingly or intentionally, groups that register 100 or more people pay workers based on voter-registration quotas, don’t complete state training, or fail to ship completed voter registration forms within 10 days of registration drives or by the voter registration deadline.”

Watch the press conference with Tequila Johnson and Charlane Oliver of The Equity Alliance, Aftyn Behn of Indivisible, Reverend James Turner, Reps Gloria Johnson, Vincent Dixie, John Ray Clemmons, Bob Freeman, and State Senator Brenda Gilmore HERE:

Tequila Johnson, co-founder of the Equity Alliance says:

“This bill from Secretary of State Tre Hargett is an attack on the Tennessee Voter Project and its success.”

Tennessee regular ranks near the bottom in voter turnout, which Senator Brenda Gilmore reminds us is in no small part because of a voter suppression/voter ID bill which passed in 2008 (after Obama was elected).

Aftyn Behn of Indivisible lists the ways in which this bill seeks to criminalize voter engagement.

Charlane Oliver of Equity Alliance and Rep. Jim Cooper’s office points to all the ways the vote is suppressed in Tennessee – including by the registration form itself, and Reps. Johnson, Dixie, and Freeman all make it clear they’ll be voting against the bill, which Freeman calls an effort to “intimidate” voter registration groups.

Reverend Turner also reminds us that many people bled for the right to vote, particularly African-Americans, and that this is a step in the wrong direction.

“It seems like it’s racist. It seems like we’re going back in time.”

If you think Tennessee should be making it easier to register to vote, not harder, Holler at Secretary of State Tre Hargett HERE.

EMAIL: tre.hargett@tn.gov

“OPTICS” UPDATE: School Board Senator Johnson “Voucher-Shamed” Is 50% African American

Yesterday we posted a video from a Williamson County legislative update Friday in which Senator Jack Johnson aggressively defended Governor Bill Lee’s school vouchers plan which would allow public school money to be used to partially fund private school educations.

Supporters of the vouchers say they will help some kids in failing schools escape to a better education.

Opponents say we shouldn’t be steering public money away from already struggling public schools to do that, that it amounts to the privatization of education, and that the private schools in receipt of the money wouldn’t be subject to the same kind of accountability and would be able to discriminate against certain kids using public funds.

(Watch our highlights of the Education Committee debate HERE. The TEA says Vouchers have been a “disaster” where implemented and remains against them, as are a number of other organizations.)

Senator Johnson seemed particularly upset by a resolution passed by a the Franklin Special School District school board here in Williamson County, which he called the “wealthiest and whitest county” in Tennessee:

“So when I hear a school board in Williamson County passes a resolution opposing this initiative… do you understand the optics of that? We’re the wealthiest, whitest county in the state. And we’re saying we don’t want to do something to help inner-city kids who are poor and predominantly minority. Shame on you. SHAME ON YOU.”

It’s worth pointing out that many school boards across the state have passed resolutions against it, including ShelbyWilson County and Montgomery County – home of Clarksville, which has a significant minority population relative to other areas of Tennessee.

Shelby is majority African-American.

And while Johnson is right that Williamson County is the wealthiest, it is by no means the whitest – but more importantly, the Franklin Special School District board represents schools where 50% of the students are on reduced lunches, and where the school board itself is half African-American:

This begs the question: Senator Johnson mentioned the “optics” of a Williamson County school board standing against the concept of steering public money to private Schools, but what about the “optics” of the Senate Majority leader in an all-white Republican legislature yelling “SHAME ON YOU” at a half-black school board looking out for a district where 50% of the kids are on reduced lunches?

Seems like looking out for all kids, not just a few, is the job of a school board, so it should come as no surprise that these resolutions are being passed throughout the state.

As for the FSSD Board, it’s highly decorated. From their website:

The Franklin Special School District Board of Education is a six-time Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Board of Distinction and was 2015 Tennessee School Board of the Year. The Board was recognized by TSBA for its development, application and monitoring of policy; involvement in long-range planning; promotion of quality education through involvement with the legislature, city/county commission, State Board of Education, community and staff; participation in board development activities, including boardmanship award levels for each member; and exhibition of a positive relationship with the media.

As a Board of Distinction, a two-year designation, FSSD was honored by TSBA as a Board of Distinction for its work as a whole, meeting specified requirements in four key areas: planning, policy, promotion and board development. The FSSD Board of Education was previously awarded TSBA School Board of the Yearin 1998, and accomplished the requirements necessary to become a Board of Distinction in 1999-2001, 2001-2003, 2007-2009, 2009-2011, 2014-2016, 2016-2018.

If you agree that Senator Jack Johnson was “inappropriate” with his comments, holler at him HERE.

Anti-LGBTQ Adoption “License to Discriminate” Bill Passes TN House

A proposal to allow agencies to deny service to LGBTQ Tennesseans seeking to adopt a child passed the House of Representatives 67-22.

If enacted, House Bill 836 would permit private child-placing agencies to deny any person seeking to foster or adopt a child if the placement would “violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions.”

Watch the Floor debate highlights HERE:

The bill—sponsored by Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, District 34, and co-sponsored by Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, District 33—passed the full House on April 1.

Democrats Rep. Bo Mitchell and Rep. John Ray Clemmons spoke out in opposition to the bill, questioning why we would deny any loving family the right to adopt if they so desired in light of the fact that 8000 children are currently in need of homes.

Mitchell questioned whether Jews could be denied adoption by certain agencies, to which Rudd responded:

“I have no idea.”

Mitchell said we’re on a “slippery slope”, and Clemmons said “we have gone too far” when it comes to discrimination.

Rep. Jeremy Faison was the loudest Republican in support, attempting to seize the mantle of “tolerance” and saying that “liberals” should be willing to extend the same tolerance to the intolerance of those agencies.

The question becomes: Is tolerance of intolerance actually tolerance? Or is it more intolerance? Is in “intolerant” to not want to “tolerate” bullying? Where do we draw that line?

The Tennessee Equality Project says the bill allows agencies to discriminate because LGBTQ citizens are not a “protected class” under federal law.

There are more than 8,000 children in the care of the Department of Children Services. The department works with a network of adoption agencies to find foster care and permanent homes for the children in state custody. Under the rules of the bill, DCS could not deny an agency’s license or service contract for discriminatory practices against LGBTQ families.

NOTE: JOHN MARK WINDLE WAS THE ONLY DEMOCRAT TO VOTE IN FAVOR.

How they voted: House Bill 836
Representatives voting to allow adoption agencies to deny adoptions to LGBTQ Tennesseans for “religious or moral” reasons:
Rep. Charlie Baum, R-Murfreesboro, District 37
Rep. Clark Boyd, R-Lebanon, District 46
Rep. Rush Bricken, R-Tullahoma, District 47
Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, District 71
Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston, District 32
Rep. Dale Carr, R-Sevierville, District 12
Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, District 29
Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, District 64
Rep. Mark Cochran, R-Englewood, District 23
Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, District 97
Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, District 69
Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, District 18
Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, District 16
Rep. Rick Eldridge, R-Morristown, District 10
Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, District 11
Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, District 17
Rep. Ron Gant, R-Rossville, District 94
Rep. Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville, District 45
Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, District 75
Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer, District 79
Rep. Mark Hall, R-Cleveland, District 24
Rep. Kirk Haston, R-Lobelville, District 72
Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, District 5
Rep. Patsy Hazelwood, R-Signal Mountain, District 27
Rep. Esther Helton, R-East Ridge, District 30
Rep. Gary Hicks, R-Rogersville, District 9
Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, District 7
Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, District 3
Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, District 76
Rep. Dan Howell, R-Cleveland, District 22
Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, District 2
Rep. Chris Hurt, R-Halls, District 82
Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville, District 68
Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown, District 38
Rep. Sabi Kumar, R-Springfield, District 66
Rep. Justin Lafferty, R-Knoxville, District 89
Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland, District 44
Rep. Tom Leatherwood, R-Arlington, District 99
Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, District 78
Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, District 57
Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville, District 62
Rep. Debra Moody, R-Covington, District 81
Rep. Jerome Moon, R-Maryville, District 8
Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Franklin, District 61
Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro, District 36
Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, District 33
Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, District 20
Rep. Jay Reedy, R-Erin, District 74
Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, District 34
Rep. Lowell Russell, R-Vonore, District 21
Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, District 77
Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, District 35
Rep. Paul Sherrell, R-Sparta, District 43
Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, District 26
Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, District 49
Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, District 48
Rep. Rick Tillis, R-Lewisberg, District 92
Rep. Chris Todd, R-Jackson, District 73
Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, District 31
Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss, R-Gray, District 6
Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, District 40
Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, District 83
Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, District 42
Rep. Dave Wright, R-Corryton, District 19
Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, District 14
Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin, District 63

Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, District 41

Representatives voting No against the bill:
Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, District 51
Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, District 87
Rep. Jesse Chism, D-Memphis, District 85
Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, District 55
Rep. Barbara Cooper, D-Memphis, District 86
Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville, District 54
Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Nashville, District 56
Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, D-Chattanooga, District 28
Rep. G. A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, District 93
Rep. Jason Hodges, D-Clarksville, District 67
Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory, District 60
Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, District 13
Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, District 91
Rep. Harold Love, Jr., D-Nashville, District 58
Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, District 88
Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, District 50
Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, District 98
Rep. Jason Potts, D-Nashville, District 59
Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, District 53
Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, District 80
Rep. Rick Staples, D-Knoxville, District 15
Rep. Joe Towns, Jr., D-Memphis, District 84

Representatives Present, Not Voting
Rep. Clay Doggett, R-Pulaski, District 70
Rep. Iris Rudder, R-Winchester, District 39
Rep. Dwayne Thompson, D-Cordova, District 96

Absent or Missed Vote:
Rep. John Crawford, R-Kingsport, District 1
Rep. John Holsclaw, Jr., R-Elizabethton, District 4
Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, District 25
Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, District 95
Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, District 65

Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, District 90
Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, District 52

Rep. Byrd Co-Sponsored Child Rape Bill Hits House Floor Today (yes, seriously)

Another one from the You-Couldn’t-Make-This-Up-If-You-Tried file…

HB 0283, a bill being carried by Rep. Littleton (R-Dickson) in the house and Senator Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro) in the senate, will be voted on in the house today.

The summary of the bill states:

“Criminal Offenses – As introduced, increases the punishment for a conviction of aggravated rape of a child from 15 to 60 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 13 and Title 40, Chapter 35.”

The bill is being co-sponsored by a long list of reps… including the one and only Rep. David Byrd, who as a reminder has apologized on tape to 1 of 3 women who accuse him of molesting them when they were in high school, and who was removed from his education subcommittee chairmanship just last week.

The week prior Byrd’s son was forced out of his coaching spot in Jackson for “inappropriate communication” with a minor.

Let’s just say Rep. Byrd has some nerve coming anywhere near this bill. Feel free to holler at him HERE and let him know.

And feel free to holler at Speaker Casada and Governor Lee and let them know it’s time to call for Byrd’s resignation.