Tag Archives: suspect

AG Says ‘Ag Gag’ Bill is ‘Constitutionally Suspect’

State Attorney General Bob Cooper said Thursday that a so-called “ag gag” bill is “constitutionally suspect,” an opinion that may figure into Gov. Bill Haslam’s pending decision on whether to veto the bill.
The bill (HB1191) requires anyone “intentionally” recording evidence of livestock abuse to turn over all photographs and videos to “law enforcement authorities” promptly – within 48 hours unless the evidence is collected on a weekend. Violations would be a misdemeanor crime subject to a $500 fine.
Haslam said earlier this week that he wanted to see the opinion, requested by state Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, before deciding whether to sign the bill into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature.
“The governor is reviewing the opinion. He has said he anticipates having a decision by early next week,” said David Smith, spokesman for Haslam.

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AG Deems Ban on Non-Citizens at Polls ‘Constitutionally Suspect’

The state’s attorney general says a Senate-approved bill that would prohibit non-U.S. citizens, regardless of their immigration status, from working at or even entering polling places is “constitutionally suspect,” reports The Tennessean.
In an opinion released Wednesday, Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper says House Bill 985, sponsored by Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, would probably violate the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment despite the arguments of some backers.
“It is not apparent that protection of the integrity of the polling place is a rationale for this citizenship requirement, particularly when state law does not otherwise require a person to be a registered voter to perform any of these functions in the polling place,” the opinion reads.
The bill would require that poll watchers be U.S. citizens and bar non-citizens from admission to voting sites.
An amended version — which gives a special exemption authorizing non-U.S. citizens who are assisting physically disabled voters to enter polls — cleared the upper chamber earlier this month. On the heels of the new attorney general’s opinion, however, the House on Thursday opted to delay voting on the bill for one week
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Note: The full opinion is HERE.

AG: Vanderbilt ‘All-Comers’ Bill is ‘Constitutionally Suspect’

A bill vetoed by Gov. Bill Haslam last year was characterized as “constitutionally suspect” in a state attorney general’s opinion released Wednesday.
The sponsor of the bill, meanwhile, said he hopes an “amicable agreement” can be worked out with Vanderbilt University to resolve a dispute that revolves around religious freedom of students. If not, Rep. Mark Pody said he will push similar legislation this year with the legal opinion in mind.
The bill in question was aimed at blocking Vanderbilt University’s so-called “all comers” policy for campus student organizations. Under the policy, all groups must accept all students as members – even in one controversial case where a Catholic students organization was told to accept an atheist member.

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