State leaders weigh new rules for Legislative Plaza - WSMV News 4

State leaders weigh new rules for Legislative Plaza

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The Occupy Nashville campground has motivated some lawmakers to consider new rules for the use of Legislative Plaza.

One judge has already decided it's a public place and thrown out the arrests and curfew. And even with another potential fight looming, protesters say they're ready to take a stand.

During an audit hearing with the Tennessee Department of General Services Tuesday, Sen. Jack Johnson addressed the Occupy movement here in Music City. His concern: There's a difference between protesting on the plaza and actually living there. He asked the General Services Commissioner Steven Cates if there needs to be legislation concerning the use of the plaza introduced in the upcoming session. Cates also expressed concerns about public safety and sanitation during the hearing.  

Sen. Mike Bell weighed in too, saying he has concerns that the public property is being defaced by the protesters as they anchor their tents down. But the plaza's facility administrator said while that is a concern, it appears the protesters are putting their tent stakes in between the plaza stones and it doesn't appear that it's causing damage.

Bell also expressed concern that electrical cords on the plaza are a danger to the protesters and the public. Cates said all those issues are being looked into.

We took those concerns to Occupy Nashville protesters, but they say nothing will keep them from Legislative Plaza or their cause.

Johnson told us Wednesday night that there are no specifics yet on the possible legislation regulating Legislative Plaza, but he says he would support The General Services Commissioner if he feels the legislation is needed.  

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