Lawmakers may ban protesters from camping at plaza
Feb 16, 2012 7:29 AM CST
Reported By Heather Jensen, Reporter - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
After months at Legislative Plaza, Occupy Nashville protesters may soon no longer be unable to camp out on the property.
Tennessee lawmakers Thursday morning are expected to pass legislation that will ban unauthorized camping on public ground.
If approved, those who are found camping unauthorized on public property could face fines up to $2,500 and serve one year in jail.
The Equal Access to Public Property Act of 2012 was introduced in January when lawmakers said the camps were putting a burden on the state and posed a risk to public health and safety.
The proposed legislation is expected to pass in both the House and the Senate.
Currently, the Occupy Nashville group is working to see what their other options may be.
Protesters told Nashville's News 2 on Wednesday night legislative plaza is a public area and they have the right to be there.
A protester who did not want to be named told Nashville's News 2, "There's no way we'll capital money out of government funding overnight, there's no real quick ends to a means to this, but the best thing we can do at this point is to bring awareness to our people and see, come election day, how people think."
Participants of the Occupy movement said if the legislation is passed, they will come up with other options.
There was no immediate word on how the state planned to remove the encampments from Legislative Plaza.