Tennessee Governor

Tennessee Governor Quietly Signs Bill Enhancing Punishment For Certain Protests, If Convicted Voters Lose Right To Vote

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) signed a bill into law last week, increasing the punishment for certain kinds of protests.

The GOP controlled state General Assembly passed the bill during a three-day special legislative session, and it was signed without an announcement, according to The Hill.

The new law makes it a Class E felony to camp on state property, places a 45-day mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated rioting, raises fines for blocking highway access for emergency vehicles, and increases the punishment for aggravated assault against a first responder to a Class C felony. If you are convicted of a felony in Tennessee, you lose your right to vote.

“We are very disappointed in Governor Lee’s decision to sign this bill, which chills free speech, undermines criminal justice reform and fails to address the very issues of racial justice and police violence raised by the protesters who are being targeted,” American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said. “While the governor often speaks about sentencing reform, this bill contradicts those words and wastes valuable taxpayer funds to severely criminalize dissent.”

The bill comes after two months of protests outside the state Capitol following the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officers in May. The Governor used fires set inside and outside a courthouse in May as examples in his defense of the bill but admitted there are parts of the bill he “would have done differently.”

Tennessee Governor

About ErinBoogie

Erin Boogie is a blogger for BallerAlert.com and producer/co-host of the weekly radio show In the Field Radio.

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