Friday, March 23, 2018

Some You Win, Some You Lose...

Memphis representatives fight the good fight in committee, on student voting and Confederate statues — with varying results.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 10:56 AM

click to enlarge Students protesting "No justice, no peace!" after House subcommittee refuses to hear their plea to authenticate student IDs for voting.
  • Students protesting "No justice, no peace!" after House subcommittee refuses to hear their plea to authenticate student IDs for voting.

A foiled attempt on Wednesday by Memphis Democrat G.A. Hardaway to secure inclusion of photo IDs from state colleges as legitimate qualifiers for voting ended in vocal protests from attending college students when, after extended argument, Hardaway’s attempted amendment of HB2457 was turned down in a roll call vote of 4-2 of the House Local government subcommittee.

Students in the audience from Fisk and Tennessee State University had been prevented from speaking on the measure by chairman Dale Carr (R-Sevierville), and when the voting was over, rose as a body, protesting the outcome and chanting “No Justice, No Peace” until, at the chair’s direction, they were escorted out of the hearing room by the sergeant ay arms.

An attempt, a week earlier in the House Criminal Justice subcommittee, by another Memphis Democrat to block legislation pertaining to Memphis’ removal of its Confederate statues was more successful. Rep. Antononio Parkinson (D-Memphis) objected on constitutional grounds to HB2552 by Rep. Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro), which would make it a Class E felony by members of local bodies to knowingly vote in conflict with state or federal laws on immigration or memorials.

Though White never acknowledged it as such, the bill was clearly, as Parkinson said, aimed at Memphis’ recent action in removing memorials to Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis. There was an extended back-and-forth between Parkinson and White about legal nuances of the legislation during which Parkinson asked the sponsor if she was a lawyer.

The same question was turned on Parkinson by committee member Tilman Goins (R-Morristown), to which Parkinson gave the answer, “No, but I slept in a Holiday Inn last night.” White's bill meanwhile was ultimately voted into the limbo of summer study.

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