Rep. London Lamar’s bill would remove KKK GRAND WIZARD DAY in Tennessee.
Rep. Andy Holt (“We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t”) and Rep. Mike Sparks (“atrocities on both sides”) push back.
Rep. London Lamar’s bill would remove KKK GRAND WIZARD DAY in Tennessee.
Rep. Andy Holt (“We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t”) and Rep. Mike Sparks (“atrocities on both sides”) push back.
Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) has a bill being carried by Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) in the Senate that seeks to impose censorship on libraries by forming parental boards which would be able to decide what can and can’t be in them.
The Tennessee Library Association opposes the bill, saying libraries already have local control, and pointing out discrimination would open the libraries up to lawsuits.
Holt & co. say it isn’t about discrimination, it’s about protecting kids – but witnesses that spoke in support of the bill are openly anti-LGBT, tweeting proudly about that designation on multiple occasions.
Both witnesses who supported Holt’s bill were self-described preachers who spoke of an incident at the Putnam County Library where a Drag Queen “exposed their genitalia” to a child.
We’ve seen no reports of any such incident, or anyone being arrested for doing this – which is obviously ALREADY A CRIME – so we called the library to ask about it. Here’s that conversation:
HOLLER: You had Drag Queen Story Hour at the Putnam County Library, and witnesses at a hearing this week say somebody exposed themselves to a child. Did that happen?
PUTNAM LIBRARY: “No. Well – one can never prove a negative, right? I can’t flat-out say it didn’t happen. But ONE: No library staff witnessed that happening. TWO: It was never ever reported to any staff. THREE: We had police on the scene during certain parts of that day. Nobody ever filed a police report. Nobody ever notified the police that this happened. So we assume it didn’t happen.”
HOLLER: They say they have a picture of it. Have they ever brought that to you? Or the police?
PUTNAM LIBRARY: “Not that I’m aware of. They never brought it to me. I’m pretty sure they never brought it to the police. Because I imagine they would’ve had a police report, and they would’ve come investigated that.”
He also went on to tell us they had an LGBT display with books during Pride Week, but they were age appropriate, not pornographic in any way, and they ended up removing it when enough locals asked them to.
We also checked in with a spokesperson from the Drag Queen story hour situation, who told us:
“Rich Penkoski is a street preacher who does online videos. His group, Warriors for Christ, is a hate group per SPLC. He has a photo of a supporter in drag squatted down talking to a child outside Putnam Co Library that he has blurred to look like it’s obscene.
These are the facts: He has never been inside one of our events. Our Facebook page has videos of our readings. We haven’t used a public library since Jan 2019 because the crowds are too big for the library. We’ve been using private venues since March 2019. All of our volunteers have to pass a background check.”
BOTTOM LINE: Penkoski and Pastor James Fortunato are claiming someone exposed themselves to a child – which is already a crime – but did nothing about it? And they’re question the morality of others?
This bill is quite obviously about censorship and discrimination. Call your reps.
UPDATE — Penkoski reached out to us about the incident, and maintains it did happen, saying:
The library staff is lying. We absolutely did tell them about the man exposing himself. I have an email that I sent to them and the board with the photos. You also never mentioned the librarian who called for violence against me and solicited help from a group in Louisiana who made local news for issuing death threats against me.
UPDATE 2 — Penkoski has sent us the pictures in question. There does not appear to be any genitalia, only exposed underwear – and would seem to make sense that the library took no action.
The parents were right there. They claim the bill is about parental control, yet are making a big deal about something the parents don’t seem to have pursued.
Also, here they are wondering why the police and the news are being unresponsive.
Backed by hostile anti-LGBT witnesses, Rep. Andy Holt openly advocates library “CENSORSHIP” as he pushes a bill targeting LGBT events at libraries — a bill the Tennessee Library Association says would inevitably lead to lawsuits.
Here’s a little of what one of the witnesses tweeted recently… proudly anti-LGBT:
“I’d just like everyone to think about their WIVES, MOTHERS, SISTERS, DAUGHTERS.”
Rep. Gloria Johnson speaks out as Reps. Faison, Holt, & the TN GOP honor RACIST, SEXIST RUSH LIMBAUGH 48 hours after TN was ravaged by a tornado, the same day #Coronavirus was discovered.
Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) is hosting a “Hogfest and Turkey Shoot” campaign fundraiser at his home this Saturday, and has announced he will be giving away an AR-15 Assault Rifle – the weapon used in tragedy after tragedy in America – as a “door prize”… but is it legal?
That Holt would give away a weapon that even NASCAR won’t feature in ads anymore despite the message it sends to those concerned about the gun death crisis in America should come as no surprise – he is after all the sponsor of a recent bill to weaken our permitting system in Tennessee to make it possible for people to get a permit to carry virtually anywhere in our state without ever actually firing one on a range, simply by taking a quick online class.
But is his giveaway actually legal? It would appear the answer is no.
The Secretary of State’s website is very clear: Raffles like the one described in Holt’s event – where people pay to get in, and are entered to win a prize – are considered gambling in Tennessee. While it may not be exactly like slots or poker which casinos such as this is story offer, the base mechanics are the same. Paying in an amount of money for the chance to get something back. Residents of Tenessee can go out of state to gamble, but inside the state, gambling is not permitted by any organization that isn’t a charity and hasn’t been pre-approved. Again, residents can perhaps use a site like Paybyphonebillcasino.uk as it operates outside the state but people within the State can’t set up gambling or gambling-adjacent options without risking the brunt of the law.
From the Secretary of State’s site:
Raffles and games of chance are considered gambling, which is prohibited in Tennessee. However, certain charitable organizations are allowed to apply to have one raffle, reverse raffle, cakewalk or cakewheel each year if that event is conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Tennessee Charitable Gaming Implementation Law. This is why many people would look to the speedy casino cashouts hosted online for their gambling fix instead of set institutions.
Only a qualified 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) organization that has submitted an application to the Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming and that has been approved by the Tennessee General Assembly can hold a raffle.
When asked about this on Twitter, Holt responded that the AR-15 was a “doorprize”:
It’s a doorprize…ðŸ˜‰
– Andy Holt (@AndyHolt4TN) September 13, 2019
But the SOS site makes no exception for such semantic arguments. What Holt describes in his event post is pretty clearly not allowed by law.
Again, from the SOS site:
No. An event is considered a raffle if someone must pay for a chance to win a prize and would be a violation of law. It does not matter that the payment is called a “donation.”
When asked if he had applied and been approved, Holt gave no answer.
You submitted your request under state law, right?
“Only a qualified 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) organization that has submitted an application to the Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming and that has been approved by the Tennessee General Assembly can hold a raffle.”
– Brook Jolley (@Brookjolley) September 14, 2019
There is even a question on the site itself about exceptions for political campaigns, to which the answer is very clearly also a resounding NO:
Are political candidates and campaigns allowed to conduct raffles or other games of chance?
No. The law only allows qualified 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(19) organizations to hold gaming events. Political candidates and campaigns for public office are not considered 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) tax exempt organizations… If someone is required to pay for a chance to win a prize, it is considered a raffle. Only qualified and approved 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(19) organizations may hold a raffle. It does not matter that the payment is called a “donation.”
As for the consequences, the site has this to say:
If the Division of Charitable Solicitations is notified of an unapproved event, the Division will notify the local district attorney general. Conducting an unapproved game of chance may be a violation of the criminal gaming statute, and local law enforcement has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the individuals responsible for the event… Please contact the district attorney for the county in which you believe the game of chance is taking place or contact the Division of Charitable Solicitations at (615) 741-2555 and the Division will notify the appropriate authorities.
In this case, the District Attorney to holler at would be Tommy Thomas: (731) 364-5513
And here’s how to holler at the Division of Charitable Donations: (615) 741-2555 & email@example.com
A bill that would effectively outlaw abortions in Tennessee if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade is headed to Governor Lee’s desk. Lee has repeatedly promised to support any bill that limits abortion in Tennessee, so the expectation is he will sign it.
It passed the legislature yesterday.
Watch the VIDEO:
Rep. Clark Boyd told Rep. Lynn, the sponsor, that he’s “proud to see her stand in the gap for the unborn.”
The trigger ban would take effect within 30 days if the Supreme Court does overturn Roe v. Wade, which is what many warned about when Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh.
Reps Gloria Johnson and Bo Mitchell expressed concern that the bill would force a woman to carry her rapist’s baby to term, since there is no exception for rape, or incest.
Rep. Johnson said:
“It doesn’t stop abortions, it stops safe abortions… If you don’t think a woman should be in control of her own health decisions, you don’t believe women are equal.”
Rep. John Ray Clemmons also spoke up, pointing out the “hypocrisy” of Rep. Holt & Co. talking about “science” when they don’t believe in global warming, and calling themselves “pro-life:”while they continue to block medicaid expansion in Tennessee, which has cost the state $7 Billion and counting.
On Monday the Senate rejected a push to revive The Heartbeat Bill, which would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected – as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
They will review the issue this summer and consider it next year. If you have an issue with any or all of this, holler at your reps.
Last week the Jackson Sun reported that Rep. Andy Holt had tweeted a juvenile graphic mocking Republican Madison County Commissioner Jay Bush as being “Someone who would sneak into your house at night, eat all your raw hot dogs, and finger your cat” – echoing an insulting meme that had been posted on the page of Speaker Casada’s PAC (and is still there).
Holt’s post was in response to Bush saying there’s nothing “conservative” about Glen Casada needing another $7 Million to run the Tennessee House and giving his Chief of Staff a $130,000 raise in one year – which is objectively true.
After deleting the post, Holt then mocked anyone who found the whole thing distasteful.
It turns out insulting those who disagree with him was not an isolated incident for Holt.
Holt has once again insulted someone who disagrees with him, this time a constituent who had the nerve to disagree with him on a post on His Facebook page celebrating the passage of the “Heartbeat Bill” – a constitutionally suspect bill which seeks to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected (usually around 6 weeks) and makes no exceptions for rape and incest – meaning a young high school girl raped and impregnated by her coach would be forced to carry the baby to term.
(An Oregon man was just imprisoned for raping and impregnating an 11 year-old girl. Rep. Gloria Johnson had an amendment which would have protected that girl, but she, and her amendment, were ignored)
Holt’s Facebook post celebrated the passage of the bill as “great news”:
Most of the comments underneath the post were in agreement with him, but a few were not.
Caroline Ideus, a constituent of Holt’s, left a comment calling the passage of the bill “terrible”, adding:
“Decisions about a woman and her baby should be between her and her healthcare provider, not the government. The GOP is all about small government, but wants to govern everything about women’s health when most of the GOP lawmakers are men.”
“Ms. Ideus, thank you for acknowledging that the abortion procedure (for which you are advocating), is actually about a mother and her BABY. You are so entrenched in political ideology that your willing to condone the life of a baby human’s life. Liberalism is truly a mental illness…“
Ideus’ Twitter profile says she’s an English teacher at UT-Martin, which is in Weakley County – one of the counties Holt represents.
Holt’s “your” typo and misuse of the word “condone” aside, it seems fair to say that calling a constituent who disagrees with you “mentally ill” and making light of mental illness in general is beneath the dignity of any office.
But maybe Andy thinks the rules don’t apply to him, as he clearly didn’t when he didn’t get that permit for his hog farm.
If you agree that this is not how state legislators should act, holler at Rep. Andy Holt and let him know HERE.
The full exchange:
This week Rep. Jeremy Faison made an inaccurate statement in his defense of HB 1264, a bill that would would create a new concealed handgun carry permit process that requires no fee and only a 2 hour online training, meaning people would be able to get permits and carry guns nearly everywhere without ever firing one.
The bill is being carried by Rep. Andy Holt. It passed the House Judiciary Committee easily, despite the fact that even Speaker Casada’s own polling shows 93 percent of Tennessee voters – including 93 percent of Republicans, 94 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of gun owners and 89 percent of current permit holders – support the state’s current permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public.
For some context: Tennessee is already the 11th worst state when it comes to gun deaths. 6 of the 10 that are worse have laws that make guns easier to get and carry everywhere. In 2017, Tennessee led the entire nation in shootings involving children with access to unsecured, negligently stored firearms.
Studies have repeatedly shown states with stricter gun laws have fewer gun deaths, but some refuse to accept that and cite exceptions to the rule – like Chicago, or in Faison’s case the Bahamas – to “prove” that the correlation is not causation.
At the hearing Rep. Jeremy Faison – who thankfully seems to be recovering well after his recent accident – decided to go with the Bahamas as his example, saying:
“The places where the highest amount of crimes where a gun was used in America… those were in places that we have some of the most strict, draconian, anti-constitutional laws. So somehow this notion that if we pass what y’all call ‘common sense gun laws’ – which don’t exist – that crime’s just gonna go away… ask the Bahamians how that works. In the Bahamas you can get the death penalty for having a gun, and they have major gun crime every day. So I just want to encourage you when you’re trying to use that as an argument – you might want to research your own facts.”
Here’s the video:
Ok Jeremy, let’s “research the facts”.
Any person who purchases, acquires or has in his possession, uses or carries a gun without a licence therefor shall be liable —
- (a) on conviction on information, to imprisonment for a term of ten years and to a fine of ten thousand dollars;
- (b) on summary conviction before a Stipendiary and Circuit Magistrate, to imprisonment for a term of five years and to a fine of ten thousand dollars
There’s more to it, and the years have since been amended, but absolutely nothing in their laws that says “you can get the death penalty for having a gun.”
As one lawyer in the Bahamas told us:
“I have not heard of anyone being subject to a penalty of death upon being convicted of possessing a firearm in the Bahamas. Those convicted are often given a custodial sentence or made to pay a fine at the discretion of the court.”
Another Bahamian resident:
“Frankly, I don’t think you’ll get the death penalty for anything in the Bahamas. The Privy Council has effectively abolished the death penalty.”
Turns out the last execution in the Bahamas was in the year 2000, and as of August 2012 only one man was under the sentence of death – and he killed a police officer.
So that’s a big ol’ whiff from Jeremy there.
Where Faison has an inkling of a point is that the Bahamas does have restrictive gun laws and yet still high gun violence rates, but pointing to that as proof that in general stricter gun laws don’t work is no more valid than it would be to say that one country with much stricter gun laws has almost no gun violence proves they DO work.
This is a complicated problem with many factors playing a part. The Bahamas and some other impoverished countries do have higher gun violence rats, but when it comes to the richest countries in the world, the United States is simply off the charts regarding gun deaths and gun ownership:
The element that often gets left out of the gun violence conversation is the societal factor that has the highest correlation with gun violence is far and away poverty and wealth inequality.
The World Bank has a study that found:
“violent crime rates decrease when economic growth improves… faster poverty reduction leads to a decline in national crime rates.”
As Mark Kaplan professor of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs put it:
“There is a strong correlation between homicide per million and income inequality… countries that are most equal have the lowest rates of gun-related homicides.”
Here’s a good conversation about it.
So yes, the Bahamas and Chicago have high murder rates. They also have high poverty rates.
When poverty and inequality are rampant in certain countries/neighborhoods, and people are in dire straits and desperate, bad things happen – particularly when guns are extremely accessible within the vicinity. (Chicago has states with lax gun laws right next door, and the Bahamas has the United States nearby)
This doesn’t mean gun safety laws don’t work. On balance the numbers are clear: They do.
What it does mean is if we’re serious about addressing gun violence in our communities, making them cheaper and even easier to get in already dangerous states is not the answer. Instead, we should be focusing on gun safety legislation and policies that address inequality and poverty:
…Raising our $7.25 an hour minimum wage to a livable one…expanding medicaid… subsidizing daycare for low income families… lowering health care costs and drug prices… tax reform that actually helps regular Americans (rather than corporations and the wealthy)… criminal justice reform…
Programs that put more money directly in people’s pockets, makes their lives better, and takes them out of desperate situations will save lives when it comes to gun violence.
In summation: The Bahamas doesn’t tell us gun laws don’t work. The Bahamas reminds us gun violence is a poverty/inequality problem as much as anything else.
And with all due respect to Rep. Faison, maybe next time you should “research your facts” before saying things that aren’t true on a legislative committee, especially one that’s helping to create a more dangerous environment for our children.
Letting people carry in public without ever firing one is like doing away with Driver’s License tests. If you agree, holler at Rep. Faison HERE.
(P.S. – Gun safety laws and the 2nd Amendment are not incompatible. Ask Justice Scalia.)
A bill that would create a new concealed handgun carry permit process that requires no fee and only a two-hour, online-training certificate will be heard again March 6.
Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, District 76, presented HB1264 to House Judiciary Committee members on Feb. 26. The bill passed by voice vote with three Democratic members requesting their opposition be recorded.
The proposed legislation would create two handgun permits in Tennessee: an “enhanced handgun permit,” which tracks closely to the existing permit process; and a new “concealed handgun permit,” which eliminates the registration fee and live firearm training requirement. This means that people may start to read into this Boberg XR9-L – an honest Review or others involving other firearms. Leading them to purchase one and be permitted and licensed much faster than they’ve been able to in the past.
In testimony, Beth Joslin Roth, policy director for the Safe Tennessee Project, said data and statistical evidence suggest that less firearm training for handgun carriers will increase the likelihood of gun-related injury and death in Tennessee. She is backed up by numerous studies.
She pointed out that Tennessee is 11th in gun deaths, and that 6 of the 10 states that have more already have these “Wild West” laws, as Rep. Bo Mitchell referred to them
Watch some of the testimony here:
Joslin Roth said:
“As a researcher, I’m concerned about the reducing the training requirement to carry loaded guns in public. This legislation seems to be moving Tennessee closer to becoming one of the handful of states that do not require gun permits and, therefore, allow the carry of guns without any firearm safety or range training.”
If enacted, the concealed handgun permit would become available Jan. 1, 2020.
Rep. Jeremy Faison questioned Joslin Roth’s statistics on stricter gun laws and fewer gun deaths, which were correct, and our old pal Micah Van Huss chimed in at the end saying:
“Guns everywhere sounds like freedom to me.”
Next we’ll be giving out drivers licenses without ever making anyone get behind the wheel. If you think this is a step in the wrong direction, holler at your reps.
How they voted:
House Judiciary Committee, Feb. 28, Voice Vote – Ayes Prevail:
Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, District 18
Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, District 29
Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, District 69
Rep. Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville, District 45
Rep. Clay Doggett, R-Pulaski, District 70
Rep. Rick Eldridge, R-Morristown, District 10
Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, District 11
Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, District 17
Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, District 75
Rep. Dan Howell, R-Cleveland, District 22
Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, District 2
Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville, District 68
Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland, District 44
Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, District 78
Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Franklin, District 61
Rep. Iris Rudder, R-Winchester, District 39
Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, District 77
Rep. Paul Sherrell, R-Sparta, District 43
Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss, R-Gray, District 6
Rep. Jason Potts, D-Nashville, District 59
Rep. Joe Towns, Jr., D-Memphis, District 84
Requested to be recorded voting No:
Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, District 51
Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, District 87
Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, District 98