Rep. Hakeem: General Assembly Legislative Update

Friday, September 18, 2020 - by Rep. Yusuf Hakeem

HB8005
What does HB8005 actually do? 

HB8005 moved camping on State Capitol property without permission from a misdemeanor to a felony. 
HB8005 increases the penalties for certain protest related offenses---punishable by six years in prison. 
Imposes mandatory minimum penalties for committing protest related offenses. 
Works against criminal justice reforms put in place to improve the incarceration processes for non-violent offenses. 
This legislation was brought forth by the majority as a criminal justice reform bill. 
Protesters will receive jail time for camping on State Capitol grounds. 
A person arrested for domestic violence will be kept in jail for a minimum of twelve hours; and, this legislation imposes greater penalties on protesters that do not abide by HB8005.
By receiving a felony through this legislation individuals will lose their voting rights. 

Rep. Hakeem addresses HB8005
 
During a span of 13 days in October 1962, the Cuban Missile crisis occurred, this was a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union—now Russia. This confrontation was initiated by Soviet ballistic missiles being deployed in Cuba. As a result of the United States and President John F. Kennedy becoming aware of soviet missiles in Cuba, President Kennedy put up a naval blockade of Cuba. Consequently, Soviet ships turned around and returned to Russia.

Over the following months, the missiles already in Cuba were dismantled and sent back to Russia as well. At the time, the Soviet Premier was Nikita Khrushchev, who became incensed that America would put up a blockade of Soviet ships. After this event, a statement attributed to Nikita Khrushchev declared, "We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the US; we will destroy you from within", which means that they would turn us away from our ideals and virtues as a nation.

“We the people”, is a part of our creed. Some of Russia's methods were to develop towns within Russia to train some of their citizens to become spies and Americanize themselves in order to be deployed to America as agents or spies of the Soviet Union. Soviet leaders utilized human behavioral skills to make some of our citizens spy unwittingly against our own nation. With the development of technology over the decades, they also utilized the internet, technology, and subliminal seduction to misinform and divide Americans.

Not long ago, protesters were harassed and prodded by some legislative members when they climbed on top of the legislative parking garage to put up a flag that would initially cause the protesters' uproar. As leaders, we should strive to find ways of de-escalating a situation rather than intentionally creating more division. Here in Tennessee today, have some of our leaders become unwitting accomplices of the Russian plan to destroy us from within?

For this discussion, I use the thread of HB8005. This law has a chilling effect on our way of life. Protesting is how we, as a civilized nation avoid sinking into chaos. It is an opportunity for our voices to be heard in the public square. As a people, we are not monolithic. In America, we are blessed with freedom of thoughts and actions as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of other citizens. Particularly our young people, whether urban, suburban, or rural, are being labeled rioters, communist, or other distasteful names because they believe in civil disobedience to unjust laws or brutality. Whether you are protesting on our public streets or our governmental premises, this is how we civilly have our voices heard. I am told oppressive leaders like Vladimir Putin, who suppress many citizens will, don't like to be told that they are oppressors. What are the results of their actions?

HB 8005 moves protesting from a misdemeanor to a felony; in my view, it victimizes the victim. Takes their right to vote, jail time could be up to six years in prison, which is substantially worse than a domestic violence charge. At the peak of the demonstrations in our Capitol city, Nashville, we had 10,000 people in capitol plaza with police and no violence. Law enforcement has the technology to identify bad actors that engage in rioting, looting, or burning structures. But many leaders in state government chose to label the entire group of citizens assembled with sorted names that implied that the entire body of people was committing criminal acts since it suited a particular political narrative. In my view, it was wrong for members of the supermajority in our state government, whether it be democratic or republican majority, to make laws that disenfranchise many citizens because their words and actions are counter to that of the supermajority. Are we saying as a state that camping in the Capitol plaza is an inappropriate deed that should be punished in this manner without knowing or attempting to understand the concerns expressed?
 As leaders, we should strive to find ways of de-escalating a situation rather than intentionally creating more division.


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