The Tennessee legislative body delivered, and Governor Bill Lee officiated it: the State legislation will now penalize individuals camping on state property, more severely than ever before.
Bill HB 8005 outlines the newly administered punishment for camping on state property – from what was considered a misdemeanor will now be tried as class E felony, with maximum six years in prison readily available.
The move is highly intentional and targeted towards the protesters currently doing a sit-in at the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville.
The protesters have demanded that the Republican governor come out to the discussion table, and frankly racial inequality and police brutality within the State.Hailed by celebrities such as Tennessee-native Taylor Swift, the protesters have also consistently demanded for the removal of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust at the State Capitol, who was a notorious slave owner, trader and an early Ku Klux Klan founder.
Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate Randy McNally had only good words to say about the bill, say that this will surely prevent the fiascoes happening in other major cities.
“It is to prevent what has happened in other cities like Portland and Washington, DC,” McNally said, “If people, knowingly violate the law, knowingly thumb their nose at authority and don’t do what authorities have requested they do, they should be charged with a serious crime.
” The bill’s sponsor, Republican House Majority Leader William Lamberth, said the bill will crack down on “criminal elements” and protect law enforcement officers.“And then specifically on the criminal justice reform bill that cracks down on criminal elements out there that are unfortunately are making it very difficult for folks to even visit this capitol,” Lamberth said.
The bill is part of the grand legislative package containing harsher penitentiary measures against aggression including vandalism, disorderly conduct, inciting a riot and offenses to first responders.
“Anytime a law enforcement officer is assaulted I would agree that really is an assault on the state of Tennessee and all of our people, because that officer is really out there to protect and serve us.From whenever these bills are signed by the governor or go into law … every officer can be certain they will be protected more than they are right now,” Lamberth said.
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