The Tennessee General Assembly will begin its 2012 legislative session this week.  This begins the hard work of communicating with and encouraging our state legislators to stand up to the continued encroachments of the federal government on the rights of the citizens of the State of Tennessee.  For 2012, we are keeping our priorities simple.

Priority 1: Sheriffs First (HB0959/SB1108)

Last year, Sen. Stacey Campfield and Rep. Bill Dunn introduced legislation that will require federal law enforcement officers to seek the permission of the county sheriff before executing an arrest, search, or seizure in the state of Tennessee except in specific situations.  The bill states:

“A federal employee who is not designated by state law as a Tennessee peace officer may not make an arrest, search, or seizure in this state without the written permission of the sheriff or designee of the sheriff of the county in which the arrest, search, or seizure will occur.”

Why is this bill needed?  We have seen a vast erosion of our rights as Tennesseans and Americans, even over just the last year.  With the Gibson Guitar factory raids, the extension of the Patriot act, and now the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) containing language that could be construed to allow for the indefinite detention of Tennesseans without probable cause or a trial it is critical that our state and local officials stand up to this overreach and provide real protection for Tennesseans from these egregious unconstitutional actions of the federal government.

Admittedly, the bill as it now stands needs to be strengthened significantly to impose stiff criminal penalties on federal law enforcement agents acting in violation of the provisions of the bill, but for now it is a good start.

Priority 2: Tennessee Nullfication Reaffirmation Act (HB1212/SB0620)

Last year the Tennessee Nullification Reaffirmation Act (SB0620/HB1212), sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield and Rep. John Ragan, failed for lack of motion the General Subcommitee of the House State and Local Government Committee.  However there are indications that it may be resurrected this session.  HB1212 will create a committee to review all federal laws and regulations to ascertain their constitutionality.  The committee will then submit to the Tennessee General Assembly for a vote, a list of recommendations of laws and regulations that it judges to be unconstitutional under either the U.S. or Tennessee constitutions.

This bill, if passed, would be a huge step forward in reasserting Tennessee’s Tenth Amendment powers under the U.S. Constitution.  Begin contacting the members of the General Subcommittee to encourage them to support HB1212.  SB0620 is currently assigned to the Senate Government Operations Committee.

There is an identical bill, SB1474/HB1705, pending sponsored by Sen. Campfield and Rep. Matthew Hill that has yet to progress through the legislature from last year.

Priority 3:  NDAA Nullification

We are currently working on an initiative to petition our governor and state legislature to directly address the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow for the indefinite detention of American without probable cause, charges, or a trial.  There will be more posted here in the next few days.

Lesley Swann