Governor Bill Haslam signed into law on March 15, 2013, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s SB142 (House sponsor Rep. Jeremy Faison HB0118). This bill is a travesty and misrepresentation to the citizens of Tennessee.
It is a travesty because (not an exclusive list)
– it does not remove all risk of criminal prosecution;
– it does not protect the employee’s job from termination if the employee complies with the law;
– it is extremely limited to a “permit holder’s own vehicle” which could put at risk those permit holders who carpool, rent cars, lease cars, borrow cars, have courtesy cars, have “company cars”, or anyone else whose name is not on the title!
First, despite what Ron Ramsey has claimed, the soon to be law does not remove all risk of criminal prosecution. There are at least two statutes (TCA 39-17-1314 and the criminal trespass statute and possibly others) where criminal prosecution still is available. In addition, if prosecution arises, your weapon(s) will be subject to mandatory forfeiture (TCA 39-17-1359). It addition those who are not the “owner” of the car, could be criminally prosecuted.
Second, despite what Ron Ramsey claimed, the soon to be law does not protect the employees’ jobs, health care or even the ability to apply for unemployment. With whatever respect is due, Ramsey’s assertions do demonstrate that he does not comprehend the basis of Tennessee’s employment at will doctrine. It is clear, as Rep. Faison testified in committee that the employer is a full liberty to fire any employee who violates a “no weapons” employment policy.
It is very curious that on March 14, 2013, Lt. Gov. Ramsey and 4 other Senators (including Jim Tracey who is wanting to run for Congress) signed and sent a letter (attached hereto) to the Senate Clerk asking that the legislative history be clarified by stating their intent (contrary to the House Sponsor) that employers would not be able to terminate employees and that if the employers did so that the terminate employees could sue for wrongful termination. That letter evidences that none of those five senators really understands the employment at will doctrine. Drinking is legal under the law, but you can be fired if the employer has a no alcohol policy. Smoking is legal under the law, but you can be fired if there is a no smoking policy. Supporting a particular political party is legal under the law, but you can be fired from private employment for voting for the wrong party. Ramsey is either clueless on the current law or is intentionally misrepresenting it.
Once again, Ramsey is reckless with the rights of citizens. While he claims a fired employee could sue, he makes no reference to the fact that under Public Chapter 1046 passed by the Establishment Republicans in 2012 that if you did sue and you lost (which is practically certain under Tennessee’s employment at will doctrine) that the trial court shall award to the employer up to $10,000 in court costs, deposition costs, attorney’s fees and other expenses. [Once again, evidence that the Establishment Republicans in Tennessee are destroying your constitutional rights].
Pelosi said that they had to pass Obamacare so that we would know what is in it. Ramsey is worse. The Establishment Republicans are worse. Haslam is worse. We told them what was wrong with Ramsey and Faison’s bill and they passed it anyway!!! Then they misrepresent what it does and does not do!!!
About the only thing this bill does positively is to provide a voting record of those legislators who have willfully made a choice on the 2nd Amendment that puts the jobs of Tennessee’s handgun permit holders at risk.
Senate Vote on SB0142
Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Bell, Bowling, Campfield, Crowe, Dickerson, Finney L, Ford, Gardenhire, Green, Gresham, Haile, Hensley, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, Massey, McNally, Niceley, Norris, Overbey, Southerland, Stevens, Summerville, Tracy, Watson, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey — 28.
Senators voting no were: Burks, Harper, Henry, Kyle, Tate — 5.
House Votes on HB0118
Representatives voting aye were: Alexander, Brooks H, Brooks K, Butt, Calfee, Carr D, Carter, Casada, Coley, Curtiss, Dean, DeBerry J, Dennis, Doss, Dunn, Durham, Eldridge, Evans, Faison, Floyd, Forgety, Goins, Halford, Hall, Harrison, Hawk, Haynes, Hill M, Hill T, Holt, Johnson C, Kane, Keisling, Lamberth, Littleton, Lollar, Lundberg, Lynn, Marsh, Matheny, Matlock, McCormick, McDaniel, McManus, Moody, Pitts, Pody, Powers, Ragan, Ramsey, Rich, Rogers, Sanderson, Sargent, Sexton, Shepard, Shipley, Sparks, Swann, Tidwell, Travis, Van Huss, Watson, Weaver, White D, White M, Williams K, Williams R, Windle, Wirgau, Womick, Madam Speaker Harwell — 72.
Representatives voting no were: Armstrong, Camper, Cooper, DeBerry L, Favors, Fitzhugh, Gilmore, Hardaway, Jernigan, Johnson G, Jones, Love, Miller, Mitchell, Odom, Parkinson, Powell, Shaw, Stewart, Towns, Turner J, Turner M — 22.