Protest bill promises plenty of debate during Tennessee’s special session

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NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — Tennessee lawmakers are back at the State Capitol trying to finish what they could not get done earlier this year. There is an 11-page bill dealing with protesters that promises to draw plenty of attention and debate.

“If people want to peaceful protest that is one thing, but a peaceful protest does not mean you get to assault law enforcement during the process,” said House Speaker Cameron Sexton last week in an interview with WKRN-TV.

Capitol Hill protests

Those who have been at the capitol for nearly two months protesting various race issues see it differently.

“We are here for black lives,” said a protester who declined to give News 2 his name last month. “I am not black, but I have black friends. And I have other friends who get mistreated by the police all the time.”

House Republican Leader William Lamberth has filed the 11-page bill dealing with the Capitol Hill protests.

House Republican Leader William Lamberth

It proposes things like issuing fines and a mandatory 30-day incarceration for assault. Assault could include spitting even.

The 11-page proposed bill also defines what is unauthorized camping on public property and allows fines, jail time and restitution for the cleaning up vandalism.

Many protesters have long said they will not be deterred by anything in order to get their voices heard.

Capitol Hill protests

“We still have to have time to make our mark and still keep pushing it and keep protesting to make a change in the community,” said a protester who identified himself as Laroy McGee.

The other topics of the special session include protections against COVID-19 lawsuits for business and health groups.

The third call of the special session requires insurance companies to reimburse tele-health visits at the same rate as in-person appointments.

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