Twice this spring, lawmakers in the Tennessee Assembly have tried to promote resolutions condemning neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Both times those efforts have failed.
The second attempt was abandoned just this week, after a Republican lawmaker unsuccessfully tried to alter the motion’s language to make it more palatable to his caucus.
House Republican Caucus Chairman Rep. Ryan Williams’ resolution reworked one put forth by Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons, which died in mid-March after the three Republican members of a House subcommittee declined to offer motions to discuss it.
At the time, State Government Subcommittee member Rep. Bob Ramsey (R) told TPM that his panel supported the “intent and philosophy” of the measure but had concerns about language asking law enforcement to consider the groups “domestic terrorist organizations.” Such requests may “seem simple” but have sparked tense debate among lawmakers, Ramsey told TPM.
Williams stripped that language from a second version of the resolution introduced last week that was otherwise nearly identical.
But on Monday night, the day it was set to go before the Delayed Bills Committee, Williams asked that the measure be withdrawn from consideration. Williams told the Tennessean he’d received “additional feedback” from his fellow Republicans that needed to be incorporated into the resolution, which was “too narrow.”
Williams did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for additional information on their outstanding concerns, but told the Tennessean he was committed to hammering out wording acceptable to all parties.
If passed, the resolution would require the House to “strongly denounce and oppose” the racist, violent bigotry of these groups, and to send a copy to President Donald Trump, Congress, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, according to the Tennessean.