Anti-Terrorism Bill (watered-down version) Goes to Governor

News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
(NASHVILLE, TN), May 21, 2011 – The State Senate today voted 26 to 3 to approve an anti-terrorism bill that updates the Tennessee Terrorism Prevention Act that was passed shortly after the 9-11 terrorist attacks and was approved unanimously in both the House and Senate. The “Material Support to Designated Entities Act of 2011” now makes the provision of “material support” a Class A felony and helps to close the prevention gap left by the 2002 statute.
“After discussions with all interested parties the bill was rewritten to achieve a fiscally responsible way to cut off “material support” that assists those planning to commit terrorist acts in Tennessee since it is the support that typically makes the acts more likely to occur,” said Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), sponsor of the bill. “This bill is very timely, in view of the fact that an August 2010 background report showed 21 U.S. citizens were charged in terrorist cases in 2009 and another 20 were charged in 2010 between January and August.”
The trajectory of cases of homegrown terrorism includes actors such as Memphis Carlos Bledsoe who attempted to firebomb the home of a Nashville rabbi and went on to murder 24-year old Private William Long in Arkansas. Secretary Janet Napolitano has called out to states to become more active and engaged in counter-terrorism measures.
The new amendment eliminates designation of terrorist entities by the state authorities and instead, defers to designations already made by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Department of the Treasury. The bill supports the work of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in continuing the collaboration between federal and state law enforcement authorities.
Ketron said the bill is an even handed and non-discriminatory counter-terrorism measure. The bill specifically declares that it does not target the peaceful practice of any religion. It, however, prohibits using religious doctrine as a justification for terrorist acts in Tennessee.
“It should be a priority of ours to protect the citizens of our great state – there will be no prosperity without security,” he concluded.
The bill now goes to Governor Bill Haslam for his signature.

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