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:
Rape and incest are inhumane. No woman should have to carry her rapist child. Not only would this cause the woman to seek illegal and unhealthy means to get rid of the child, but you also will physically, mentally and emotionally harm the woman and child.
— State Rep. London Lamar (@LondonLamarTN) March 7, 2019
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.
Republicans prevented Rep. Johnson from speaking up for Tennessee’s women. What are they afraid of?
Needless to say, REP. GLORIA JOHNSON WILL NOT BE SILENCED. pic.twitter.com/wJM15pWQFT
— Michael Stewart (@RepMikeStewart) March 7, 2019
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.
When I got to my desk on the floor this morning, this packet was on my desk and every desk on the floor. Please note “Amendments that will be heard on the calendar today.” My bill is there. They recessed and Speaker refused to hear my amendment. Then refused to allow me to speak. pic.twitter.com/Tvl8zoUZEk
— Gloria Johnson (@VoteGloriaJ) March 7, 2019
These bills are unconstitutional, as even the committee lawyer admitted.
Women were outside in the hallway protesting the bill loudly.
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) March 7, 2019
Here are some other reactions:
State Senator Jeff Yarbro:
This is a bill so obviously unconstitutional that TN Right to Life opposed it. Legislators are bound to uphold the Constitution, and today’s vote wasn’t that.
Rather than spending state $ defending an invalid law, maybe we could focus on improving the lives of citizens. https://t.co/mV3zWQ5eIC
— Jeff Yarbro (@yarbro) March 7, 2019
State Rep. John Ray Clemmons:
Today, my colleague @VoteGloriaJ was prepared to stand tall & speak up for TN women’s access to reproductive #healthcare services. Unfortunately, she and others, including me, were prevented from speaking & asking the sponsor of fetal heartbeat bill questions. pic.twitter.com/XljJEZFxqr
— John Ray Clemmons (@JRClemmons) March 7, 2019
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.
Yet another incredible chapter of the Rep. David Byrd saga is unfolding right before our eyes, albeit under the radar.
Rep. Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) is carrying a joint resolution to be heard by the Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning that “Urges the state to increase awareness of sexual abuse and the substance abuse and crime that result from sexual abuse.”
It passed a subcommittee by voice vote last week.
This is happening while still not a single Republican member of the legislature has spoken out against Rep. David Byrd, who apologized on tape to 1 of the 3 women who have now accused him of sexually molesting them when they were high school basketball players playing for him at Wayne County High School.
Former Speaker Beth Harwell asked Byrd to step down. Current Speaker Glen Casada not only hasn’t done that, he promoted Byrd to chair of an education subcommittee.
Here’s some video of Sparks presenting the resolution to a subcommittee, where it passed by voice vote:
The hypocrisy levels are off the charts on this one. From the Resolution:
“It is vitally important that victims of sexual abuse receive appropriate treatment and care that involve understanding, recognizing, and responding to the types of trauma to help them become survivors and rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.”
All this comes after Casada blatantly lied about ever meeting with the victims, who he proceeded to run ads against calling them fake news.
And feel free to join Enough is Enough at Byrd’s subcommittee hearing Tuesday afternoon at 4pm at the Cordell Hull Building.
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 Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 28, 2019
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.
There have been many reports about what happened when Speaker Casada had trooper drag peaceful women out of a committee meeting presided over by Rep. David Byrd, who has admitted on tape to sexually molesting high school girls he coached.
Casadas office released a statement saying the women were “disrupting the legislative process” – here’s extended video that proves that statement to be false.
Please watch and share… and the women would like you to know they will be at the next Byrd hearing Tuesday at 4pm at the Cordell Hull building, and would love you to join them.
Here’s the WSMV News 4, Nashville report last night from Jeremy Finley on speaker Glen Casada having peaceful women removed from a hearing chaired by Rep. Byrd that wasn’t even in session, simply because they made Byrd uncomfortable.
Last we checked free speech was an important part of the constitution:
Here’s the Jake Tapper/Victor Blackwell CNN segment on Speaker Casada’s support for Rep. David Byrd, who sits as chair of an education subcommittee even after apologizing for sexual misconduct with girls he coached.
This morning in Williamson County at a Town Hall event Speaker Casada was billed to be attending, Casada was a no-show.
The rest of the Williamson delegation – Senator Jack Johnson, Rep. Sam Whitson, and Rep. Brandon Ogles -were all there, as were some CNN cameras, but Casada was nowhere to be found.
Had he been there he would’ve been confronted by survivor Ashley Massey of Lawrence County, who bravely spoke up anyway about Casada’s support for David Byrd, who can be heard admitting on tape to sexual abuse with his former high school basketball players.
Here’s the video:
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 22, 2019
Sam Whitson got up and left, and Brandon Ogles attempted to perpetuate the false notion that anything in the Casada video posted earlier this week was being taken “out of context”.
Yesterday we posted a video, picked up by the Tennessean, News Channel 5, Slate, and the Huffington Post, where former congressional candidate Justin Kanew confronted Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada about his support for Rep. David Byrd – who has admitted on tape to sexually assaulting players he coached at Wayne County High School.
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 20, 2019
Former Speaker Beth Harwell asked Byrd to step down. Speaker Casada instead ran attack ads against the victims, then promoted Byrd to chair of the education subcommittee when he was re-elected with 78% of the vote.
In the video, Kanew asks Casada if he has heard the victims’ side of the story. Casada says that he has, and that in fact he met with the victims:
“They came into my office and spoke.”
Turns out that’s news to the victims.
Christi Rice, who has been the most outspoken of the three women who have leveled the allegations at Byrd, responded to Kanew’s video on twitter saying:
Justin, I knew that I had never spoken to Casada in any way; verbal, text, letter, messenger, carrier pigeon, etc but I also confirmed with the other 2 women and none of us have spoke to Glen Casada, ever. Period.
— Christi Rice (@51christi) February 19, 2019
Meanwhile Robbie Cain said in a message to Christi Rice obtained by The Holler that she had no idea who Casada was:
The 3rd victim has remained anonymous apart from the initial WSMV interview. Christi Rice is in contact with her and says she is “absolutely” sure she has not spoken with Speaker Casada:
The Holler has reached out to Casada’s office for comment, and so far has not heard back. We will update the story if we do.
So not only did Casada attack the victims, he also didn’t even take the time to talk to them to hear their stories- then lied about whether or not he did.
There’s nothing defensible about any of this. Since posting the original video the Holler has heard from countless women of all political stripes who have stories like this of their own.
Meanwhile a reliable source has told us they saw Channel 4’s Jeremy Finley and a crew being escorted from the building by security, after going down to Casada’s office to ask around about Byrd. And we also heard CNN is down there knocking on Byrd’s door.
Emily Tseffos is a mom, a teacher, a volunteer and community organizer with Enough is Enough Tennessee… and a survivor. She wrote this in response to a video we posted yesterday, where Speaker Glen Casada defended his support for admitted sex offender Rep. David Byrd, who he has now made chair of an education subcommittee while attacking Byrd’s victims and questioning why they didn’t come forward sooner.
This piece, of course, is purely hypothetical, and not at all about the allegations leveled against Rep. “Coach” David Byrd by 3 of his former players.