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Featured Liberty and Justice News

Critics Say Anti-Terrorism Bill Went from Bad to Worse to Much, Much Better

The Legislature spent months flirting with ideas for broadening the power of the state to designate groups and individuals as suspected terrorist and punish people who provide them with “material support.”

But in the final days of the session, lawmakers voted simply to toughen existing penalties in the law after dropping provisions that drew global attention and allegations that Tennessee planned to target people based on their religion.

The issue galvanized Tennessee’s Muslim community, with so many supporters and practitioners of Islam and defenders of “Sharia Law” descending on Legislative Plaza that meetings at times had to be broadcast in multiple overflow-rooms — and many still, for lack of available seating, were left sitting on the floors to watch closed-circuit monitors.

Proponents say they’re happy with the final form of the bill, which awaits the governor’s signature, while Muslim activists, civil libertarians and other critics are breathing easier with many of the most worrisome elements of the bill scrapped — including specific mention of “Sharia Law” and dramatic expansion of the government’s power to designate people as terrorists and to punish those who in any way support them.

“It’s a sigh of relief knowing that the most controversial and most dangerous portions of the bill ultimately came out,” said activist Remziya Suleyman, policy coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, which opposed the bill.

Under the bill that passed, material support of terrorists would bring the same punishment as manslaughter, sexual crimes, burglary and drug crimes — a 15- to 60-year jail sentence and up to a $50,000 fine. The crime would be a Class A felony, more serious than the current Class B designation, punishable with eight to 30 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The more serious punishment would cost an average of $369,000 per inmate.

The plan is less far-reaching than what Sen. Bill Ketron originally proposed, but the Murfreesboro Republican said he’s satisfied with the final product.

Wrote Ketron in his hometown newspaper at the conclusion of the session last month:

There is no prosperity in Tennessee without security. Despite the best efforts of many to thwart legislation to strengthen our laws against homegrown terrorism, we succeeded in passing an anti-terrorism bill, which I sponsored, that updates Tennessee’s Terrorism Prevention Act that was passed shortly after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. There has been much misinformation published regarding this bill. The “Material Support to Designated Entities Act of 2011” simply makes the provision of “material support” a Class A felony and helps to close the prevention gap left by the 2002 statute. This will help give our local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to prevent homegrown terrorism.

The Refugee Rights Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, and the Islamic Center of Nashville were among those that teamed up to fight the earlier versions of the bill.

“It was not just to protect our citizens. It was very clear it was targeting the Muslims,” Mohamed Ahmed, an imam at the center, told TNReport. “Is there anyone proposing a bill saying we’re going to damn the Jewish law? Of course not.”

“The bill as first drafted was very troubling, mean-spirited and ripe with constitutional problems,” said Hedi Weinberg, executive director of the state’s ACLU chapter. “The bill that passed essentially was gutted.”

In addition to prompting outrage in the Muslim community, Ketron’s plan hit snags with vocal members of his own party who refused to go along with it. First, because it seemed to single out a religious minority, then later because they felt it gave the governor and the attorney general too much power — outside the constitutionally established realms of due process in criminal court — in allowing them to ID individuals and groups as potential terrorists.

Among them was Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield, who called the bill a “Patriot Act Part Two for Tennessee.”

“I felt it could have led to targeting of groups that may not be guilty, but only unpopular at this time,” Campfield later said on the Senate floor. “As they come out for Muslims today, they could come out for the Tea Party tomorrow or the Republicans the next day or the Democrats the day after that.”

Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, said the bill, prior to being dramatically reined-in, had disturbing “Big Brother” implications. Lundberg quietly promised he’d loudly oppose the bill on the House floor if the sponsors tried to run a version that he believed would legitimize the violation of people’s rights.

They didn’t. The next time the bill appeared before the Legislature, it had been scrubbed down to a version most all could support — or at least no longer passionately oppose.

“It looks decent,” said Ahmed who originally planned on challenging the earlier versions through the legal system had they passed but has since dropped that idea. “Don’t forget the original intent of the bill. It was not just to protect our citizens. It was very clear it was targeting the Muslims.”

Lundberg called the evolution of the bill “frankly, a pretty ugly process.”

“My concerns before were, were we targeting religion? Number two, then, we became ‘Big Brother,’ and we gave incredible power to a couple of people in this state,” Lundberg said on the floor before the vote. “This takes it back.”

Although a majority of Democrats opposed earlier versions of the bill, they aren’t taking credit for it’s paired down final version — it was the Republicans policing themselves, said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner.

“I think they were trying to play to a certain segment of their party and I think that it might have backfired on them,” he told reporters.

Indeed, once the “Sharia Law” aspects of the bill disappeared, some Democrats began to warm to the measure. Sen. Tim Barnes and Reps. Eddie Bass and Gary Moore voted for what Lundberg described as the “Big Brother” version in their respective chambers’ judiciary committees.

Sen. Barnes, D-Adams, remarked that if from the outset the measure had been dubbed the “Timothy McVeigh Bill,” rather than the “Sharia Bill,” not nearly so much outrage would likely have ensued.

Campfield, who unlike Barnes voted against Ketron’s bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee, later noted that the debate brought to light the “weird divide” among tea-party conservatives.

“You had the people who didn’t want a whole bunch of government intrusion sort of competing against people who are strong on national security. A lot of times those are the same people,” Campfield told TNReport. “It was sort of a weird split that was going on at the time, but I think both sides are happy with what came out.”

The final version was hashed out behind closed doors between bill sponsors and high-level administrators in the Department of Safety and Office of Homeland Security. They stripped down the bill, deleting provisions that would have let the governor and attorney general designate possible terrorists and deny the accused the right to fight the classification before an administrative law judge.

They agreed to give the existing law more teeth and allowed for local district attorneys to report suspicions directly to the Department of State, which handles terrorist designations, instead of reporting to the FBI.

“We are pleased with the final version, which enhances the existing state penalty for groups or individuals who support terrorist organizations,” Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons said in an emailed statement.

“I like where the bill ended, quite frankly,” Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters. “I wasn’t quite sure why the governor and the attorney general had those roles in terms of whether that was appropriate.”

Still, some Democratic lawmakers held out, saying they still felt the measure got off on the wrong foot and they ultimately wanted no part of it in any way, shape or form.

“I am very concerned of the fact that we are demonizing certain people or putting a stigma on certain people because of their religion,” said Sen. Beverly Marrero, a Memphis Democrat who voted against the bill. “I believe so strongly that America is a place where people came for freedom of religion, I really want to speak up for people who feel like they are being prosecuted because of their religious beliefs.”

Also voting “No” in the Senate were Democratic Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis and Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, the Tennessee General Assembly’s longest serving member.

The measure passed overwhelmingly in both chambers, on a 26-3 vote in the Senate and 76-16 in the House. No Republicans in either chamber opposed the final version. Haslam is expected to sign the bill.

Andrea Zelinski is a staff writer for TNReport.com and can be reached at 615-489-7131 or andreazelinski@tnreport.com. TNReport is a not-for-profit news service supported by readers like you.

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Liberty and Justice News

Republicans Broaden Anti-Terrorism Bill

Tennessee lawmakers stress that an expanded plan to fight “homegrown terrorism” has nothing to do with religion.

To prove it, they’ve crafted a bill that focuses not only on suspected radical Islamic fundamentalists or proponents of “Sharia Law,” but any group or individual in Tennessee suspected of harboring terrorist intentions or providing “material support” to groups “designated” by the government as potential terrorists.

Hundreds of Muslims who packed into Legislative Plaza Tuesday still beg to differ — although it was unclear whether they’d received a copy of the amendment, which at post time was not on the internet.

Members of the Muslim community jammed into two overflow committee rooms and a legislative lounge and lined the hallways to watch the House and Senate judiciary committees ultimately advance a measure that would give the administration power to identify terrorist entities and punish people who help them.

The original version of the bill specifically targeted people who practice Sharia Law, the foundation of Islamic Code. The two Republican sponsors have since given the bill a make-over by stripping any language about religion and instead widening the reach of the bill to anyone exhibiting potentially terrorist-like tendencies.

The current measure would allow the governor and the attorney general to label anyone as a terrorist if investigations from the state Department of Safety as well as the Office of Homeland Security suggest they are enough of a threat.

The 15-page “Material Support to Designated Entities Act of 2011” would ultimately fight “homegrown terrorism,” whether the state finds that threat in gangs, cults, religious groups or individuals, according to lawmakers carrying the bill.

However, no one group would be specifically targeted, according to Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny who is sponsoring the measure, HB1353, in the House.

“I would just, please, like to implore the Muslim community, this is not against you,” said Matheny. “This is not a witch hunt. This is nothing but to protect ourselves where the federal government can’t or won’t.”

Members of the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill 12-4 while the measure won a 6-3 favorable vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Both measures now advance to the houses’ Finance, Ways and Means committees.

The problem is the bill doesn’t give enough of a recourse for people falsely accused of being or helping terrorists, said Rep. Mike Stewart, a Nashville Democrat.

“It’s un-American as far as I’m concerned,” said Stewart. “What we’re saying here is that somebody in Tennessee, a regular person, can be declared a terrorist, and they have no right to a trial of their peers to clear their good name. That’s just completely the opposite of what we should be doing in this country.”

Votes for the measure fell on mostly partisan lines, although in both chambers, one Democrat voted with Republicans in favor of the bill, and one GOP lawmaker voted with Democrats against it.

Rep. John Lundberg, R-Bristol, said he’s worried the move would give the governor’s office too much power to brand people — and ultimately groups — as terrorists or supporters of terrorists.

The measure feels a lot like the “Patriot Act Part Two for Tennessee,” said Sen. Stacey Campfield, a Knoxville Republican.

“I may be wrong, and by God I really hope I’m not, but for me at this time it’s a bridge too far,” he said.

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee agrees, saying the language is much too vague and potentially unconstitutional.

Last year, the ACLU landed on the state’s Fusion Center tracking list — which monitors suspected terrorism and suspicious activities —  for penning a letter about respecting religious preferences during the December holiday season. State officials later said the posting was a mistake.

Democrats like Rep. Gary Moore of Joelton and Sen. Tim Barnes of Adams, siding with Republicans, said they are comfortable with the bill as is, although Barnes expects to draft an amendment that would clear up language on due process rights for those accused of being mixed up with terrorism.

Barnes noted to sponsor Ketron that not nearly the outrage would have arisen had the legislation been dubbed the “Timothy McVeigh Bill,” rather than the “Sharia Bill.”

“You can’t put that toothpaste back in the tube, and that’s where we are now,” Barnes said. “This bill has evolved remarkably from where it started out.”

Mohamed Ahmed, an imam from the Islamic Center of Nashville, testified briefly before the House Judiciary committee, telling lawmakers the new version of the measure dwells on emotional blackmail and penalizes the Muslim community, but more than that, it violates the rights of all citizens.

“We believe in justice. We trust our representatives. We’re going to oppose the bill. We’re going to go all the way, Finance Committee, the Senate,” he told reporters after the hearing. “We’re not going to give up. This is not the end. This is the beginning, and we still have a very long way to go.”

Here’s what the measure would do, according to the latest draft adopted Tuesday:

  • The Safety commissioner and state director of homeland security can investigate and recommend the governor and attorney general jointly label a person or group as a terrorists or a terrorist entity.
  • Terrorists are defined as any person or group of two or more people with the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity that threatens the security or safety of any U.S. resident.
  • Terrorist activity, according to U.S. Code Section 1182, includes any unlawful activities which involve any of the following: highjacking or sabotage of an aircraft, vessel or vehicle; holding someone hostage to compel a third party to do or not do something; a violent attack on public officials or their families; or use of biological or chemical agents, explosives, or weapons to endanger people or cause substantial property damage for more than monetary gain.
  • Anyone knowingly helping a person or group deemed a terrorist or terrorist group would be found guilty of a Class B felony, which would be upgraded to a Class A felony punishable by life in prison without possibility of parole if someone dies as a result of their material support.
  • “Material support” means “any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, transportation, and personnel of one (1) or more individuals, including the entity itself; and does not include medicine or religious materials.”
  • Seven days before the designation is made official, the individual or group of people shall be served a summons. The individual or group will then have seven additional days to challenge the classification before it is posted on the Secretary of State website and made public in major newspapers.
  • Once the terrorist label becomes public, designees can seek a judicial review at the chancery court of Davidson County no more than 30 days after the designation kicks in.
  • Any confidential information used by the administration to designate the person or people as terrorists will remain confidential but may be disclosed at the administrative review.
  • A terrorist label can only be removed or blocked by a joint resolution of the General Assembly, a joint decision by the governor and the attorney general or by a court after a challenge by the designee.
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Business and Economy Liberty and Justice News

GOP’s Illegal Immigration Bills Filed Separately

State lawmakers announced Wednesday they’ll push several different proposals aimed at curbing illegal immigration. That’s instead of packaging the measures together as a single unified or “omnibus” bill – a move many had suggested, including Governor Bill Haslam.

Sponsors say the piecemeal approach will let legislators take their time and study each of three proposals in depth.

Senator Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, is carrying an Arizona-style measure that would have local and state police check the legal status of suspected undocumented immigrants during stops for traffic violations, and hand over those deemed unlawful to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

Another proposal, by Senator Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, would require all employers to check the immigration status of new hires through the federal E-Verify system.

And Senator Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, has a bill to let state agencies check for lawful status and thereby keep illegal immigrants from receiving state benefits.

The three bills all share the same House sponsor: Representative Joe Carr, R-Lascassas.

“What we believe we have is model legislation for the other states in the country; we feel that strongly about it,” Carr said.

Not everyone was so upbeat Wednesday; Hedy Weinberg, who runs Tennessee’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Ketron’s Arizona-style measure could get Tennessee sued. She says it invites racial profiling because police will consider suspects’ skin color and accent when judging who may be here illegally.

“It becomes a ‘papers, please’ law because it requires everyone to carry a federal or state-issued ID in order to prove that they are here legally,” Weinberg said. “There’s a presumption that you are here illegally if you don’t have those documents on you.”

For his part, Ketron argued profiling is “not acceptable” and is prohibited under the Arizona law, which is currently facing a federal challenge. The sponsors wouldn’t say exactly how Ketron’s bill differs from Arizona’s.

Ketron had been looking to push another proposal to require drivers’ license tests be in English only, with a few exemptions, but the fate of that bill is now uncertain.

Johnson’s measure to keep illegal immigrants off state benefits does contain a key exception, he noted, in letting children attend public school here no matter their immigration status. “That is dictated by federal law,” Johnson said. “You shall not deny a free public education to a child, regardless of their legality in the country.”

As to the bill requiring employers make sure of new hires’ legality, Tracy says he’s confident it won’t burden small business in Tennessee; the E-Verify system doesn’t cost them anything and is relatively quick, he said. A business would face fines for violating Tracy’s rule the first two times, and lose its license the third.

When asked, Tracy said there’s no specific gauge by which he’d judge his legislation’s efficacy at curbing illegal employment, saying “I just think it’s going to work.”

Carr, however, cited decreases in crime in states like Missourri and South Carolina as evidence of “demagnetization” — that is, a state becoming less welcoming to undocumented immigrants.

Tennessee must act in kind, said Carr.

Sen. Johnson said the push to crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants is motivated at least in part by the belief that they may be snatching up scarce jobs from legal residents who are capable and willing to work.

“Tennessee has an unemployment rate that is bordering on 10 percent,” said Johnson. “We have people that need the jobs that are out there. And if these jobs are being taken by folks that are in the country illegally, we wish them no ill will, but we would rather those jobs be had by lawful Tennesseans.”

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NewsTracker Transparency and Elections

Photo Voter Bill En Route to Senate Floor

Tennessee lawmakers are trying for a fourth year to require voters to bring a photo ID with them to the ballot box.

“When a dead person votes, when a convicted felon votes, it disenfranchises someone who did it legally,” Senate sponsor Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, told members of the Senate State and Local Government Committee Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Opponents, including committee Democrats, Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union, told committee members they’re concerned that the elderly or poor who don’t have the means to get a state ID would be turned off from voting.

The bill excludes those voting from hospitals and nursing homes, instead requiring them to vote absentee. For those who don’t bring photo IDs to the polls, the measure allows for voting by provisional ballot or after filing an affidavit, according to the bill and bill summary:

Under this bill, except as described below, if a voter is unable to present the proper evidence of identification, then the voter will be entitled to vote by provisional ballot in the manner detailed in the bill. The provisional ballot will only be counted if the voter provides the proper evidence of identification to the administrator of elections or the administrator’s designee by the close of business on the second business day after the election. The board would have until the close of business on the fourth business day after the election to count any provisional ballot cast under this bill.

Under this bill, a voter who is indigent and unable to obtain proof of identification without payment of a fee or who has a religious objection to being photographed must execute an affidavit of identity on a form provided by the county election commission in order to vote. The affidavit must state that the person executing the affidavit is the same individual who is casting the ballot and that the affiant is indigent and unable to obtain proof of identification without paying a fee or has a religious objection to being photographed.

Eight states now require that voters bring a photo ID with them to the polls in order to vote under most circumstances, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under the Tennessee bill, a driver’s license, state ID, passport or military identification would be accepted.

The Republican measure passed along party lines with a 6-3 vote and heads to a scheduling committee then to the Senate floor. The proposal has always passed in the Senate since it was first introduced in 2007, but consistently died in the House of Representatives. Ketron says he’s confident the bill will pass both chambers this year now that the GOP has solid legislative majorities.

Ketron, who has previously tied the measure to efforts to stiffen penalties against illegal immigrants, says this bill would hamper their ability to vote, but says he’s specifically targeting convicted felons who lost their right to vote and others committing voter fraud.

Several hundred felons who lost their right to vote ended up casting ballots in the 2008 election, according to Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins, who said the state is approaching 100 convictions for the voting offense.

The House version is scheduled to go before a subcommittee later this month.

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Press Releases

ACLU: TN Law Enforcement Tracking Free Speech

Press Release from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee; Dec. 21, 2010:

NASHVILLE – The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) today learned that the government-run Tennessee Fusion Center is highlighting on its website map of “Terrorism Events and Other Suspicious Activity” a recent ACLU-TN letter to school superintendents. The letter encourages schools to be supportive of all religious beliefs during the holiday season. While the ostensible purpose of fusion centers, to improve sharing of anti-terrorism intelligence among different levels and arms of government, is legitimate and important, using the centers to monitor protected First Amendment activity clearly crosses the line.

“It is deeply disturbing that Tennessee’s fusion center is tracking First Amendment-protected activity,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN Executive Director. “Equating a group’s attempts to protect religious freedom in Tennessee with suspicious activity related to terrorism is outrageous. Religious freedom is a founding principle in our Constitution-not fodder for overzealous law enforcement.”

Fusion centers are institutions created after 9/11 to allow various agencies within a state to share and analyze information about terrorism and other threats to American communities. The ACLU has long warned about the potential dangers of fusion centers, including their ambiguous lines of authority, excessive secrecy, troubling private-sector and military roles and a bent toward collection of information about innocent activities and data mining.

The Washington Post on Monday reported how, nine years after 9/11, U.S. state and local law enforcement are collecting, storing and sharing with federal agencies vast amounts of information about American citizens’ First Amendment-protected activities, often when there is no accusation, evidence or even suspicion of unlawful activity. The article included information about the Tennessee Fusion Center.

“The Fusion Center’s tracking of protected First Amendment activity raises profound civil liberties concerns regarding individual privacy, freedom of speech and religious freedom. We need only look back at our history to be reminded that domestic surveillance is unacceptable. The Tennessee Fusion Center’s classification of the ACLU letter as suspicious raises the specter that the government is once again tracking innocent Americans who are merely exercising the rights integral to a democratic society, returning us to a dangerous chapter in our country’s history,” Weinberg continued.

The Tennessee fusion center’s map can be found here: http://tnfusion.globalincidentmap.com/home.php

The ACLU of Tennessee’s holiday letter to school superintendents can be found here: http://www.aclu-tn.org/pdfs/Superintendent_letter_holidays.pdf

To learn more about the ACLU’s work on domestic intelligence gathering, go to: www.aclu.org/spy-files

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Press Releases

ACLU Challenges TN Public Records Citizenship Requirement

Press Release from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, Aug. 24, 2010:

ACLU-TN Fights to Open Memphis Records for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network: Lawsuit Challenges Open Records Citizenship Requirement

NASHVILLE – The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) today filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the Tennessee Public Records Act’s citizenship requirement on behalf of Richard Jones, Midwest Director of the Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN). Jones was denied access to public records regarding the granting of a government contract in Memphis because he is not a citizen of Tennessee.

“According to the Constitution, states cannot discriminate against residents of other states by preventing them from exercising basic rights. Denying access to public records based on one’s address not only violates the Constitution, it undermines government accountability,” said Edmund J. Schmidt III, ACLU-TN Cooperating Attorney. “We hope this lawsuit will help move Tennessee toward eliminating its unconstitutional open records citizenship requirement.”

Richard Jones is a civil rights advocate who lives in Solon, Ohio and who regularly makes open records requests as he investigates various activities throughout the country for NAN, which works in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a standard of justice and decency for all people, regardless of race, religion, national origin or gender. On May 10, 2010, Jones filed an open records request with the Public Record Coordinator for the City of Memphis, requesting a copy of the December 2008 winning bid for State Advocacy/State Lobbying Services.

The Public Record Coordinator’s office denied Jones’ request, informing him in an email, “Since it does not appear that you are a Tennessee resident, I must deny your request…” Mr. Jones was subsequently referred to the City Attorney’s office, which similarly stated, “This office denies all public record requests from any individual or entity outside the State of Tennessee.” Both offices cited the Tennessee Public Records Act (TPRA) in their denials. Since May 2009, when the Attorney General’s office agreed to waive the citizenship requirement in response to an ACLU-TN challenge, individual agencies have been given discretion in deciding whether or not to release records to people residing out of state.

“My goal in requesting this information is to build a database of government contracts for NAN to both analyze the awarding of government contracts by gender and race, and to help women and minorities understand how to construct winning bids,” said plaintiff Richard Jones. “It’s frustrating to have our efforts to ensure fairness in the bid process be subverted simply because I happen to live in another state.”

The TPRA included the citizenship requirement when it was first enacted in 1957. As recently as 2007, ACLU-TN, the Tennessee Coalition on Open Government and other public interest groups testified in front of the Open Records Sub-Committee of the Special Joint Committee on Open Records, explaining that the provision was a violation of the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the United States Constitution and urging that it be repealed. In 2008, when the Tennessee General Assembly amended the TPRA, they failed to repeal the citizenship provision, despite rulings in other states striking down similar provisions.

In May 2009, the Attorney General’s office agreed to release public records regarding the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to award-winning, Massachusetts-based freelance journalist Joseph Rosenbloom just hours before an ACLU-TN lawsuit was to be filed challenging the constitutionality of the citizenship requirement. The move signified a reversal of the AG’s long-held opinion that non-Tennessee citizens could be denied access to public records. However the State Legislature has yet to repeal the unconstitutional citizenship requirement.

The lawsuit, Jones v. Bredesen et al., was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. In addition to ACLU-TN Cooperating Attorney Edmund J. Schmidt III, Mr. Jones is represented by ACLU-TN Staff Attorney Tricia Herzfeld.

Other out-of-state residents who have found their access to public records in Tennessee denied are encouraged to contact the ACLU of Tennessee by phone at 615-320-7142 or by email at intake@aclu-tn.org.

A copy of the complaint can be viewed at http://www.aclu-tn.org/pdfs/Jones.pdf .