Hoping to learn who shot two bald eagles in Southeast Tennessee, state and federal wildlife officials are trying to spark public awareness the old-fashioned way — with wanted posters. So reports the Chattanooga TFP: Dan Hicks, public information officer for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, said Tuesday the state, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, produced wanted posters to be distributed in post offices, public libraries, other public buildings and grocery stores throughout Southeast Tennessee.
Hicks hopes the posters will catch the eyes of passers-by and generate more information about the so-called eagle shooter.
Leads have been coming in following a reward offer, but the culprit or culprits are still at large, he said
…One mature eagle was found with a gunshot wound in late March on Chickamauga Lake, near Soddy-Daisy. The second was found in May near Tellico Lake in Monroe County. Each had been shot in a wing and peppered with pellets.
The raptors were taken to the University of Tennessee Veterinary Hospital and are recovering at the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Authorities have offered a $22,000 reward for information — that’s $11,000 per case. The money was donated by the American Eagle Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust.
The House gave final legislative approval Monday to a bill that calls for restrictions on the number of foreigners employed by charter schools and requires reporting of all funds they receive from outside of the country.
Pushed by The Eagle Forum, a Christian conservative organization, SB3345 says the local school system overseeing a charter school can require that no more than 3.5 percent of the schools employees be from foreign countries.
As originally proposed, the limitation would have been be mandatory, but as amended a local school system that oversees charter schools can grant a waiver. An earlier version also proposed restrictions on out-of-country funding, but the final version just calls for reports on funding from outside the United States.
In House floor debate Monday, House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner said the bill appears aimed at one “Muslim who practices tolerance” and cited an Eagle Forum website report on a Turkish man who has launched charter schools in both the United States and Europe.
When House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, said the bill is not targeting Muslims and “treats everyone equally.”
The bill passed the House 63-29 on a generally party-line vote with Republicans supporting it. The bill was approved 18-13 in the Senate last week with three Republicans, including Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, voting no.
Campfield noted that most Tennessee charter schools have fewer than 20 employees, wo the 3.5 percent mandate could basically block hiring of a foreign persons. He also questioned whether the bill run afoul of federal law prohibiting discrimination based on “foreign origin.”
The bill, which contains an exemption for hiring teachers of a foreign language, was promoted by supporters as a “jobs bill” that would give Tennesseans preference for jobs over persons legally coming into the United States on visas from other countries.
Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, in an article posted on the organization’s website, says charter schools launched by Fethullah Gülen has set up 135 schools in 26 states “after he figured out how to work our system and get the U.S. taxpayers to import and finance his recruitment of followers for his worldwide religious and social movement.”
Citing various media reports, Schlafly says most teachers are Turkish men and the schools are linked to “a close-knit network of businesses and organizations run by Turkish immigrants.”
Restrictions on immigrants’ involvement in Tennessee charter schools would be imposed by legislation that is the subject of a Tennessean report today. The measure, Senate Bill 3345, says chartering authorities may not approve schools that plan to have more than 3.5 percent of their staff made up of legal immigrants with visa work permits. The bill also calls on authorities to revoke schools’ charters later if they exceed the cap, and it requires schools to disclose the source of all donations from overseas.
There is no record of any schools in Tennessee exceeding that limit, in part because records aren’t maintained on employees’ nationality
The Tennessee Eagle Forum, which drafted the bill, is affiliated with the Eagle Forum, a national organization that wants to reduce the number of visas available to foreign-born workers and opposes the use of textbooks that it sees as favorable to Islam.
Last year, the Tennessee Eagle Forum urged lawmakers to pass the Material Support to Designated Entities Act, which would have declared some followers of Shariah to be terrorists. Muslim groups vigorously opposed the bill, arguing that Shariah covers a broad set of Islamic traditions, many of which have nothing to do with warfare or secular law.
Legislators later stripped out references to religion.
Like the Material Support to Designated Entities Act, this latest bill is sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman BillKetron, R-Murfreesboro.
Supporters say the measure is meant to encourage the hiring of Tennessee and American-born teachers by charter schools.
“The state of Tennessee is stating a preference that charter schools look to hire U.S. and Tennessee workers as a priority,” said Joanne Bregman, an attorney for the Tennessee Eagle Forum.
But charter school advocates fear the bill’s broad provisions could limit the ability of schools to hire the best instructors. Immigrant groups, meanwhile, fear it could limit participation in charter schools by people living in immigrant communities.
“The intent of this bill is really to put up barriers for anyone with a foreign background to be involved with working at charter schools,” said Remziya Suleyman, director of policy and administration for the American Center for Outreach, a Nashville-based group that lobbies on behalf of Muslims. “The tendency already is that it’s very difficult to get immigrants and refugees to participate.”