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Knox County Sheriff’s Detective Wants LGBT People Executed

Knox County Sheriffs Detective Grayson Fritts – also a pastor at All Scripture Baptist Church – calls for the government to arrest and execute LGBTQ People.

He’s now on paid sick leave until July 19, and no longer on active duty.

Here’s the original Knox News ARTICLE.

Watch some of his monstrous speech below… and if you think he should be fired altogether, email the Knox County D.A. HERE: DAG@knoxcounty.org

 

VIDEO: “RESIGN CASADA”

Footage from the anti-Casada protest at the capitol, and from the House Republicans caucus vote to decide his fate yesterday.

Casada has agreed to resign, but that isn’t enough. He needs to leave the legislature altogether.

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

SILENCED: Speaker Casada Ignores Female Rep’s Rape & Incest Exceptions Amendment

Today Tennessee Republicans passed the “Heartbeat Bill”, which would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected – generally around 6 weeks into a pregnancy – by a 67-21 vote, with 7 abstentions.

The bill makes no exceptions for rape or incest, meaning even a teenager impregnated after being raped by her basketball coach would have to carry the baby to term.

Rep. Micah Van Huss, who carried the bill, famously said he “could not find the evil” in that scenario.

The passage of the bill was contentious. Rep. London Lamar stood up and objected, saying as the only woman of child-bearing age she should have more say over what happens to her body than the mostly male TN House.

From Rep. Lamar London:

Rep. Gloria Johnson also stood to talk, and was the only female Rep with an amendment scheduled to be heard, but was ignored, as was her amendment for the bill which would have allowed for exceptions in the cases of rape and incest.

Johnson followed all the protocol to have her amendment heard, and it was on the schedule, but Speaker Casada – who has admitted that he has taken the lead on this legislation in the hopes that it will end up in front of the Supreme Court – adjourned, then came back and ignored Johnson’s amendment.

These bills are unconstitutional, as even the committee lawyer admitted.

Women were outside in the hallway protesting the bill loudly.

 

Here are some other reactions:

State Senator Jeff Yarbro:


State Rep. John Ray Clemmons:

If you believe Speaker Casada silencing Rep. Johnson was wrong, and that women should have a say in what happens to their bodies, holler at him HERE.

VIDEO: Rep. Faison’s “Facts” Flub – On Guns & the Bahamian Death Penalty

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.

Here’s our previous video of highlights from the hearing, in case you missed it.

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”.

Faison is simply wrong that “you can get the death penalty for having a gun in the Bahamas”. From the Bahamian Firearms Act:

Any person who purchases, acquires or has in his possession, uses or carries a gun without a licence therefor shall be liable —

  1. (a)  on conviction on information, to imprisonment for a term of ten years and to a fine of ten thousand dollars;
  2. (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.

Say Japan, for instance.

Again, studies of the issue in general have shown repeatedly there is a relationship between gun laws and the amount of guns, and gun deaths.

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 Key Word is “Rich”.

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.)

 

Fidel Casada: “Your 1st Amendment Rights End At Your Nose”

Today the Tennessean has a story out from Natalie Allison detailing all the ways Speaker Casada has silenced dissent in recent days, particularly with regard to the admitted sex offender he has appointed to chair of an education subcommittee.

Aside from removing peaceful protestors from that committee, here are just some of the ways the Tennessean reminds us Casada is removing transparency from our legislature:

“Under Casada’s leadership, he’s implemented a rule change limiting debate on the House floor. That led to Casada cutting off the microphones of two Democrats on Thursday as they questioned the speaker.”

Here’s VIDEO of that, in case you missed it:


The Tennessean then goes on to point out:

“Several of his appointed committee chairmen have banned livestreaming from personal devices in meetings. A Casada spokesman has said a similar rule is in place in the House chamber… Last week, Casada hastily left a news conference with the help of state troopers, who subsequently temporarily blocked reporters from exiting the room… In a separate incident, a state trooper was dispatched to a legislative office lobby after a television reporter posed questions to Casada’s chief of staff about Rep. David Byrd.”

Regarding removing the peaceful protestors (watch our video HERE), Speaker Casada again perpetuates the lie that they were a “disruption”.

The Meeting was not in session. The women sat silently when it was. Here’s the proof.

The Speaker then goes on to rewrite the constitution, saying protesting is “good” but:

“in an orderly manner… Your First Amendment rights end at your nose.”

“Your first Amendment rights end at your nose”?

What does that even mean? We don’t remember that part of our country’s original document.

Casada isn’t alone in his efforts to silence the women. Jerry “We All Make Mistakes” Sexton, who engaged with the protestors when the Byrd hearing was in recess, also chimes in in the article, as does Rep. Cameron Sexton, both helping Casada perpetuate the falsehood that the women were a “disruption”.

The women were quiet when the meeting was in session, and as Allison points out in the article the 8×11 pieces of paper they had were within the rules of the legislature.

Here’s the back story on that:

“In December 2017, former House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, implemented a policy that sought to prohibit hand-carried signs and signs on “hand sticks” because they were deemed dangerous… The policy received pushback, including in an online petition, and was altered to allow small letter-sized signs. When the policy was updated in January 2018, Connie Ridley, director of legislative administration, said “large signs on sticks or poles” would be prohibited. The policy has not been updated since then… In recent years, protesters have frequently brought signs with them to criticize or encourage lawmakers to take action on legislation.”

So the signs were allowed, the women were quiet… and these men are completely in the wrong. If you have an issue with dissent being silenced in our country, holler at Fidel Casada HERE.