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Speaker Urges Strict Interpretation of Constitution

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Tennessee needs judges who strictly interpret the state constitution, according to a speaker at the June 14 Giles County Republican Party meeting.

Gary Humble, founder of the organization Tennessee Stands, described that need.

“If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that there is a price to be paid for apathy,” according to information on the organization’s website, some of which he repeated at the meeting.

“Many believed the lie that America is too great to fail. And now, we are on the brink. But together, we can turn the tide and restore the patriotism of our youth.

“Tennessee Stands is a nonprofit social advocacy organization working to protect the individual liberty of all Tennesseans. We are citizens demanding that our governor, county executives, and legislature restrict their authority to only that which is given by the Tennessee Constitution. We believe our rights are given by God and secured by a representative government,” according to Humble.

Once rights granted by the state constitution are given away to other branches of government, such as rights of the State Legislature to the Executive, such as the governor, for instance, it is difficult to get the rights back, Humble said.

“The (state) legislature has a lot of constitutional authority to delegate,” he said,

“Government exists to secure those rights and only draws its legitimacy from our consent. We have a duty (see Article I, § 2) to hold elected officials accountable to acting only within the limited authority they draw from our Constitution of the State of Tennessee.”

Tennessee Stands plans to organize a political action committee, and more information about the group’s podcast is on the group’s website at Tennessee Stands. Org.

One bill on the website is Senate Bill 320, which would prohibit businesses from refusing to serve customers who have not been vaccinated for Covid 19 or for not wearing a face mask.

Joey Hensley, 28th District State Senator, who represents Giles and five other counties, and is a medical doctor, sponsored Senate Bill 320. The bill went to the State Senate Commerce and Labor Committee at the end of March to be considered in January 2022, according to the Tennessee State Legislature website.

Humble commended Hensley for introducing the bill. In the State House of Representatives, the bill was introduced by State Rep. Susan Lynn.

Other legislation, Senate Bill 187, sponsored by State Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, removed “provisions that limit a person’s objecting on religious s grounds to vaccinations, examinations and medical treatments.”

“This bill (also) creates protection from state agencies, departments and political subdivisions promulgating or enforcing ordinances and resolutions that require medical examinations, immunization and treatment to individuals who object on religious or right of conscience grounds,” according to language in the bill.

Sheila Butt

Former State Rep. Butt, R-Columbia, spoke to the approximately 100 Giles County Republicans and guests about selecting county republican candidates by caucus or nominating convention instead of in a county party primary.

Giles County Republicans in recent years have voted to hold a county primary, which has attracted a few candidates. The local party also has been criticized for the cost of holding primaries.

Under state law, county election commissions are required to hold primaries for either political party, if requested.

A show of hands indicated local Republicans were interested in the idea of holding a nominating convention.

Holding a caucus or nominating convention would enable the party to support its candidates more directly, she said,

Hensley

The election of Barrack Obama, who served two terms as United States president in 2008 and 2012, helped more Republicans get elected to offices in Tennessee, Hensley said.

‘After he (Obama) was elected, a lot of Democrats felt like they no longer wanted to hold office,” Hensley said.

This has helped the Republicans build large majorities in the state house, state senate and retain control of the governor’s office.

Republicans acted on several issues, said Hensley, considered a conservative lawmaker.

In this year’s session, lawmakers dealt with many issues, ranging from Covid 19 to transgender issues, he said,

Hensley sponsored a bill which permitted transgender children to compete in school sports based on their sex at birth.

“We (the Legislature) set up classes to help kids catch up,” he said,

Because students spent most of the 2020-21 school year not in classrooms but in front of computers learning virtually, some students fell behind, and the extra courses this summer helped students make up what was lost, he said,

Other steps were taken to make sure that funding for school districts was not hurt as much financially due to changes in attendance, during the pandemic, he said.

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