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Press Releases

TN Chamber’s Statement of Opposition to ‘Guns in Workplace’ Bill

Letter to Tennessee General Assembly Lawmakers, 1 March 2012; Distributed by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

Members of the 107th General Assembly Tennessee State Capitol

Dear Senator/ Representative:

Supporters of the right to keep and bear arms have long recognized the value of firearms to protect life, liberty and property. But in Tennessee, proposals before the Legislature use the 2nd Amendment to produce the opposite effect: The cause of gun rights is being used to attack property rights.

Tennessee has enacted legislation that wisely affirms personal freedom by letting law-abiding citizens obtain permits to carry handguns. But this year, that privilege is being used to attack the rights of private property owners. SB2992/HB 3559 and SB3002/HB 3560 are both aimed at curtailing the rights of private property owners by forcing them to allow firearms to be carried onto their premises — even if the property owner objects. The bills even go farther, allowing a person to have a weapon on private property even when the person does not have the right to be on the premises.

The proposed “guns in the parking lot” bills actually have a much broader reach – pulling in any business entity, owner/manager/possessor of real property or public or private employer. It makes it illegal for them to have or enforce a policy restricting firearms in vehicles parked on their private property.

Under current law, private property owners and employers have the authority to make the rules on their own premises. But when it comes to guns, this legislation would take away that freedom. If an employer or property owner – from a retail store to a factory to a daycare center to a hospital to an educational institution – wishes to prohibit individuals or employees from bringing firearms on their property, they should have the right to do so.

This proposed law is a major infringement on private property rights. There is no right in the state or federal Constitution to have a gun on someone else’s property. This is not a place where the government should substitute its judgment for that of the property owners. Decisions about their own safety, as well as that of their customers and employees, should be the property owner’s to make.

This is a year in which both lawmakers and citizens are calling for government to stop the excessive regulation of our lives and our businesses. Supporters of this legislation argue that this enhances individual rights, but you cannot expand rights for one person by restricting the rights of another. And you cannot use more government regulation to create less regulation.

We urge you to oppose SB 2992/HB 3559 and SB 3002/HB 3560.

Sincerely,

Associated Builders and Contractors,
Children’s Hospital Alliance of Tennessee,
Hospital Alliance of Tennessee,
Knoxville Chamber of Commerce,
Tennessee Association of Air Carrier Airports,
Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police,
Tennessee Bankers Association,
Tennessee Business Roundtable,
Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry,
Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation,
Tennessee Hospital Association,
Tennessee Hospitality Association,
Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities,
Association Tennessee Paper Council,
Tennessee Petroleum Council,
Tennessee Public and Teaching Hospital,
Association Tennessee Railroads Inc.,
Tennessee Retail Association,

Categories
Press Releases

Tech Group: Hidden TN Subsidies Threaten Competition, Broadband Development

Press Release from Citizens for a Digital Future, March 9, 2011:

White Paper Finds Further Telecom Reform is Needed in Tennessee Current System Could Be Hindering Investment

(Nashville, Tennessee) – Yesterday, Hance Haney, Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, released a white paper that looks at hidden subsidies in the current telecommunications structure in Tennessee. The report, “Further Telecom Reform Needed in Tennessee: Hidden Subsidies Threaten Competition and Broadband,” analyzes the issue and what it can mean for broadband growth and Tennessee consumers. The report was realeased at an event hosted by Citizens for a Digital Future (CDF) and co-hosted with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

“Public policies like reforming access fees systems can lead to further innovation in technology and job growth,” said John Watson, CDF Chairman. “At a time when broadband is becoming a necessity for economic growth, it is more important now than ever to be creating environments where broadband investment is encouraged and can thrive.”

The paper also examines the effect that access charges have on broadband availability and notes that current Tennessee telecom laws are slowing the flow of private investment dollars that can benefit the state’s rural and low-income businesses and communities.

“At the end of the day the question is whether or not Tennessee consumers want to continue subsidizing outdated voice only telephone service instead of newer technologies like broadband which can provide voice, video, and data service at a lower cost,” said Haney. “The bottom line is that current intrastate access charges divert private investment to traditional voice service instead of broadband technologies that economic growth increasingly depends on.”

Bradley Jackson, Vice President for Government Affairs, of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry said, “The Chamber is pleased to be a part of this discussion about policies that will help attract investment, benefit consumers and help business grow here in Tennessee and we will continue promoting ideas and policies that make a real impact on economic development in the state.”

The full paper can be viewed at www.CitizensForADigitalFuture.org.

About Citizens for a Digital Future

Citizens for a Digital Future is a coalition of non-profit organizations and industry members that recognizes that adoption of and access to broadband technology — and its enhancements — has become increasingly critical to the environment, education, economic development and health care, among others. Its members support and advance public policies that encourage transparency, broad deployment and robust enhancement of broadband and digital technologies.