Debate over gun reform bills, protester disputes highlight start of public safety special session
One committee tabled its entire agenda and adjourned in less than a minute, killing a bill about mental health.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - In less than one minute, a Senate committee scheduled to debate a mental health bill about public safety on Tuesday morning tabled its entire agenda and dismissed its members.
That set the tone for the first full day of the Tennessee special session.
More than 50 bills related to guns and mental health were on the table, but only a handful survived committee meetings. Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, said they did not have enough time to look at every bill that was proposed so they decided to wait until the next regular session in January to possibly consider them.
In other committee rooms, members of the public battled to have their voices heard despite new rules limiting their expression. The Civil Justice Subcommittee ordered State Troopers to clear the room after onlookers in the gallery held signs and clapped.
Covenant School parents were among those removed from the room while bills about allowing more guns in schools were being discussed. The parents said this bill will only make schools more dangerous and interrupt learning.
“I have asked legislators to hold compassion for parents whose children were murdered, to uphold the dignity of their children who have been victims of violent crimes,” parent Melissa Alexander told WSMV4 about her testimony to lawmakers.
After that incident, people in the gallery started getting creative. They kept signs in their laps and only held them up during short recesses for members to hear testimony and get legal advice.
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