Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Confederate Statue Issue, Millington Fireworks Go Forward

Actions in State Capital on Tuesday

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2019 at 9:22 AM

click to enlarge Greenspace president Van Turner looks over legal notes. - JB
  • JB
  • Greenspace president Van Turner looks over legal notes.

NASHVILLE — Shelby Countians interested in a pair of issues got no final answers to their concerns on Tuesday, as both the still simmering issue of Confederate statuaries and the prospect of legal fireworks sales in Millington advanced another notch toward resolution.

1) The saga of the deposed Memphis monuments that once honored Confederate heroes Nathan Bedford Forrest, Jefferson Davis, and one Captain Harvey Mathes proceeded through one more skirmish on Tuesday as a three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals heard arguments for and against a continued injunction against further action by Greenspace, Inc. to relocate the statues it uprooted last December 20.

Allan Wade represented the City of Memphis in the proceeding, Chris Vescovo represented Greenspace, and Doug Jones represented the Sons of Confederate Veterans Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp 215. The judicial panel — composed by Richard Dinkins, Frank Clement Jr. and W. Neal McBrayer took the case under advisement.

The injunction was issued last year by Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle, per a request by the Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter .pending a final disposition by the Tennessee Historical Commission. Greenspace, inc., is an ad hoc nonprofit headed by lawyer Van Turner, who doubles as chairman of the Shelby County Commission.

The issue of the city’s right to sell the parks containing the monuments to Greenspace has previously been resolved in favor of the sale, though the Confederate side continues to  seek to relitigate that aspect of the matter on further appeal. At some point and in some form the case is almost certain to go to the state Supreme Court.

2) If the rest of the way goes as easy for adherents of fireworks sales in Millington as it did in the state House Commerce Committee on Tuesday, you can expect a fair share of future “rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air” to have emanated from a point of sale is Millington.

As various pro-fireworks individuals looked on in Commerce, HB 106 (by Rep. Barbara Cooper, D-Memphis) was approved by voice vote. The bill next goes to the House Finance Ways and Means Committee for approval. No one spoke against the bill in the Commerce Committee, but, according to Billie Howard of Millington, one of the bill’s supporters, its progress forward has been “something of a struggle.”

It has already passed the Senate, however; so its prospects have clearly improved. As of now, fireworks sales are legal across the state line in Mississippi and in Lakeland, which was grandfathered in before prohibitive legislation was passed some years ago.

click to enlarge Greenspace president Van Turner looks over legal notes. - JB
  • JB
  • Greenspace president Van Turner looks over legal notes.

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