20-HB8006/SB8001 – Ogles/Hensley

Bill Description

Under this bill, a governmental entity may not intentionally prohibit or prevent law enforcement or fire and rescue services from accessing a specifically bounded area within the governmental entity's jurisdiction during a public demonstration, unless the services are replaced by like services provided by another governmental entity. For purposes of this bill, "governmental entity" means a governing body, board, commission, committee, or department of a municipality, county, or other political subdivision of this state.
A governmental entity that violates this bill may be held liable for damages, injury, or death proximately caused by the entity's intentionally prohibiting or preventing law enforcement or fire and rescue services from accessing a specifically bounded area within the governmental entity's jurisdiction during a public demonstration.
This bill specifies that it does not apply to tactical decisions made by law enforcement or fire and rescue services personnel based on the risks to or safety of personnel.
ON AUGUST 12, 2020, THE SENATE ADOPTED AMENDMENT #1 AND PASSED SENATE BILL #1, AS AMENDED.
AMENDMENT #1 adds "mayor" and "chief executive officer" to the definition of "governmental entity" for purposes of this bill. This amendment clarifies that a governmental entity's liability under this bill will be subject to the limits contained in the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act. This amendment also adds that this bill's provisions do not apply to tactical decisions made by law enforcement or fire and rescue services personnel based on the risks to or safety of the public.

TLRC Position

Strongly support but not scoring; crediting the sponsors for leadership.

TLRC Observed Process

Passed both chambers on a strictly partisan basis, with long specious arguments from opposers. While we don't presently have a likely situation in Tennessee, it is going on in states across the nation and may escalate everywhere around election day.

I give the Republican majority credit for patience and graciousness in their respect for the opposition's right to air their objections.

Vote Result: Passed

Score: +5

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