Nashville State Rep. Hits Haslam Crackdown On Legislative Plaza Protestors

Says Plaza Should Be Returned "To The People Of Tennessee"

Saturday, October 29, 2011
Rep. Mike Stewart
Rep. Mike Stewart

A Nashville state representative has hit a crackdown by the Haslam administration on protestors at the Legislative Plaza.

Rep. Mike Stewart condemned "the Haslam Administration’s effort to suppress the right of all Tennessee citizens to peacefully assemble on Legislative Plaza."

He said, "There is no more fundamental American freedom than the freedom of speech. The right of the people to exchange ideas and to protest government actions they find unwise is enshrined in both the United States and Tennessee Constitutions. Defending such essential American rights should be the very first job of our state government.

"The Haslam Administration’s recent efforts to shut down protests on Legislative Plaza goes in the other direction and should be condemned by all Tennesseans, regardless of political persuasion. Legislative Plaza is a public place, owned by the people, paid for by the people, and used by the people for years as a place to exercise their First Amendment rights.

"Now, all of a sudden, the Haslam Administration is charging citizens for the right to use their own Plaza, limiting citizens’ access to that public space to hours when most citizens with day jobs cannot exercise their free speech rights, and imposing a million dollar insurance requirement that many citizens doubtless cannot satisfy. The intended effect is to close the Legislative Plaza to the very citizens who are supposed to be in command of our democratic state and federal governments.

"Administration officials’ suggestion that the new policies are needed to prevent 'deteriorating sanitary conditions' and 'maintain security and safety' do not hold water. Tennessee has long had laws in place to deal with such issues; if individuals are acting in ways that endanger others, then state and local officials have the power to stop those particular people without at the same time infringing on the rights of other citizens.

"At a time when young men and women are putting themselves in harm’s way in war zones halfway around the world to defend our rights, we should be particularly vigilant to preserve those rights at home. The world has always looked to our country to set the example for all peoples desirous of freedom; we should be careful every day to maintain that moral high ground.

"It was not long ago that a group of college students led a protest march past what is now Legislative Plaza to the Davidson County Courthouse and successfully persuaded then Mayor Ben West to be the first leader in the South to de-segregate downtown businesses. In that same spirit, we should welcome peaceful protesters to our public spaces whether or not those protesters happen to be promoting ideas that we agree with.

"Our Tennessee Constitution reminds us that 'all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority.'

"I call on Governor Haslam to immediately rescind all new policies designed to make peaceful demonstrations more difficult and to thereby return Legislative Plaza to the control of the people of Tennessee."


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ANDERSON, JACOB QUINTON  1101 NORMAN CHAPEL ROAD NW CLEVELAND, 37312  Age at Arrest: 21 years old Arresting Agency: Collegedale Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BEMUS, GREGORY EDWARD  185 MOCKINGBIRD DRIVE DUNLAP, 37327  Age at Arrest: 52 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Boy Scouts And Families Place Flags At National Cemetery

Boy Scouts and their families placed flags at the National Cemetery  Saturday  to honor veterans. (click for more)

Silence Ain’t Golden Anymore

There are times – moments – in life that you never forget. That night in 1972, sleeping over at my buddy Bart’s house, was one of them. We had been to a middle school concert and his big brother was in the band (very cool stuff for a 14-year-old!) and as we lay on the floor in our sleeping bags in Bart’s room he said he wanted to play a record that his brother listened to. And, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Prove No Improvement

The startling news that this year’s standardized testing was wasted on graduating seniors across Tennessee is most unsettling. This week it was learned the test results, which were to represent 10 percent of our seniors’ final grades, was a total bust. Coupled with last year’s gargantuan testing failure – the whole effort had to be scrapped -- it is now becoming realized that for ... (click for more)

Biscuits Shut out Lookouts Saturday, 3-0, Snapping Four-Game Win Streak

On Saturday night, the Chattanooga Lookouts played host to the Montgomery Biscuits and lost 3-0 to end their four game winning streak.   Former Minnesota Twin Yohan Pino (11 starts in 2014) made his season debut. It was also his first appearance in the States since he pitched for the Royals in 2015, as the right hander pitched in Korea last season. The 33-year-old struck ... (click for more)

Clarke, Lom Score In CFC Win Over Chivas U-23

After playing 75 minutes to a scoreless tie, Chattanooga Football Club's Darwin Lom scored the first goal giving CFC a 1-0 lead.  The second goal came six minutes later when Charlie Clarke headed in a cross to close out the scoring.  The Liga MX U-23 team had alot of support from the local crowd but could not find the back of the net.  The win is CFC's first ... (click for more)