Local News

Filthy Home Nets Wanted Man Playing Hide And Seek In Pile Of Clothes

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Bradyville home owner who was in possession of a stolen 4 wheeler was given a release citation Sunday for possession of drug paraphernalia.  Sunday Afternoon afternoon Cannon County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to assist Coffee County Officers at a Bradyville Residence.  Officers found a stolen 4 wheeler.  Donald E. Kogar the owner of the residence showed police the 4 wheeler parked beside the house and said the man suspected of stealing it may be in the house.  He then gave consent to search the home.  The officers did and found Michael O'Hara hiding in the back bedroom under a stack of clothes.  However Coffee County officers said O'Hara was not the person they were looking for in connection with the stolen four wheeler but they ran a warrants check on him anyway.  The check came back with a Violation of Probation Warrant was active at the time so O'Hara was arrested.  A continued search for the suspect took place afterwards.  Officers noted that the living conditions were very poor at the house.  Officers found a glass pipe, rolling papers, and a glass tube with burnt residue in the middle of the inside.  Mr. Koger admitted that he smoked marijuana every now and then.  He also stated that he didn't have any marijuana at the time and produced another glass pipe from the coffee table that officers hadn't found.    At that point Deputy Thomas gave him a release citation for the drug paraphernalia.  DCS was also contacted Monday and informed of the living conditions as there was a minor child living at the residence

Auburntown Historical Society To Meet Tonight

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Auburntown Historical Society will meet tonight at the Auburntown Church of Christ Fellowship Building.  Park Ranger John McKay from the Stones River Battlefield will talk on the Trail of Tears  which came through Cannon County. 

Stinnett's Ban Upheld By Board of Education Last Week

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

His voice was finally heard last Monday and Thursday evening but the Cannon County Board of Education upheld Director Of Schools Barbara Parker's decision to not only terminate local Cannon Courier sports writer and former school employee Tony Stinnett but also her decision to  ban him from being allowed on any of the Cannon County Schools property.  The termination came back in December when Stinnett opened up a email with a thumbnail picture embedded as an attachment.  That small picture was determined to be very inappropriate and was on an email server that normally is filtered by the computer system at Cannon County Schools but for some reason Stinnett was able to access the particular email that got him terminated.  Cannon County High School principal Mike Jones was notified and saw a copy of the email.  He then turned around and immediately called Director Parker and Director Parker viewed a copy of the email.  Stinnett alleges that all of this was done, his accessing the email and Jones's actions within a fifteen minute time frame.  Throughout the two meetings, one being a school board workshop that takes place a couple of days before the actual monthly meeting.  Stinnett approached the board and explained his side of what happened.  He emphasized the importance of understanding that the picture in question was indeed embedded in the email, he opened the email and not the picture.  The picture was not downloaded onto any school computers.  There was a student in the classroom, however the student was in Stinnett's sight and could not see what Stinnett was emailing.  Stinnett asked the Board of Education Monday night and more formally Thursday night to consider the many positive things that he has done through his coverage of Cannon County Schools, students and staff in the local paper rather than the one negative thing that led to his dismissal of employment through the school system .  He also challenged the school board and director of schools to answer the question as to why one of the school board policies is to allow employees who are registered sex offenders of a third party may enter onto school grounds temporarily during school hours for the limited purpose of making mail, food or other deliveries and how the policy can be upheld for something like that, when all Stinnett did was access an email with a small photo embedded as an attachment and get banned from all Cannon school campuses.  Stinnett pointed out he passed a background check upon being employed at the high school and continued to point out that he is still able to pass such a check after noting that his background is clean with no arrests or convictions.  Stinnett continued to question selective cases of discipline.  Prior to this incident, Stinnett reported a high school teacher that allegedly berated a student calling the student a pedophile and a pill head.  This was done in front of other students but when Stinnett reported it to Jones and Director Parker, he stated no action had been taken against the teacher.  Stinnett also stated during the workshop that Principal Jones allowed other board members and media to view the email and video taken from the camera during the time that Stinnett accessed the email.  After presenting his case before the Board.  Director of Schools Barbara Parker read off a list of prepared questions towards Stinnett.  She pointed out that Stinnett violated terms of employment by accessing personal email on company time.  Parker stated that she terminated Stinnett and banned him on the advice of the school's attorney Chuck Cagle.  
Board Member Chris Blackburn asked if Stinnett could cover the school's through news stories and sports stories by having a staff member on each campus accompany him the entire time he was on school grounds.  That was the last of the mention of that idea as Blackburn did not put it into motion.  He did recuse himself of the final vote however after Roy Parker made the motion to uphold Stinnett's ban in which the rest of the board agreed to do so by their vote.  Even though Stinnett will not be allowed to visit any campuses to cover school themed stories for the paper, this issue may not be close to being over.  Tony Stinnett has qualified and will run for school board District 5 in the August election.  The Board of Education may just very well have to revisit this issue again in September

Republican Primary Early Voting Begins Wednesday County General Elections Not Until August

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Early voting for the May 6th Republican Primary begins today in Cannon County and runs through May 1st.  Early voting will take place at the Cannon County Election Offices 301 West Main Street in Woodbury.  Hours are 9A till 12 noon.  There will be two dates April 22nd and 29th in which the Election Offices will house early voting during special hours of 2-6PM
The Republican Primary consists of election of the public defenders of the 16th Judicial District as well as Chancellor, Circuit Court Judges and District Attorneys.  One local resident is also on the ballot running because of it being a Republican Primary.  Anna Pittman who is running for local county executive is on the ballot.  It should be noted that there are no county races up for election in this particular May 6th Election and that it is only a Republican Primary.  The County Election is not until August.
 

Woodland Announces Honor Students For Third Nine Week Grading Period

Monday, 14 April 2014

The faculty and staff of Woodland Elementary School are proud to announce the Honor Students for the Third nine week grading period.
Principal’s List
 
Students on the Principal’s List had all As on their report card for the first nine week grading period.
 

  1. Ms. Larna Martindale’s Third Grade – Bryant Robinson, Taylor Ross, and Houston Witty.
  2. Mrs. Dawn Witty’s Third Grade – Shelby Duggin and Ethan Powell.
  3. Mrs. Stacie Bryson’s Fourth Grade – Kaylee Armstrong, Nolan Bell, Walker Cawthorn, Rebecca Green, Maleah Sissom, and Chloe Thomas.
  4. Mrs. Carla Parker’s Fourth Grade – Jalin Fann and Cassidy Taylor.
  5. Mrs. Theresa Bush’s Fifth Grade – Madison Arnold, Macey Ciramella, and Emma Edens.
  6. Mrs. Beth Northcutt’s Fifth Grade – Brady Bryson, Zettie Elrod, Cassie George, Bradi Mason, Addison Melton, and Shelby Smithson.
  7. Mr. Nathan Brazle’s Sixth Grade – Caroline Blanton, Madison Blanton, Lily Brazle, Jessica Kauffman, Kallie Kemp, Rachel Laxton, Austin Powell, McKenna Powell, Joel Smith, Kaitlynn Trail and Zoe Witty.
  8. Mrs. Suzette Sissom’s Sixth Grade – Abigail Buchanan, Blake Bush, Kristin Fann, Kelsie Foster, Brent Hastings, Abbie Judkins, and Anna Grace Sissom.
  9. Mrs. Mary Jean Cook’s Seventh Grade – Bryson Bell and Cierra Thomas.
  10. Mr. Finchum’s Seventh Grade – Weston Hargrove.
  11. Mrs. Tracy Hale’s Eighth Grade – Lily Davis.
  12. Mrs. Pam O’Hara’s Eighth Grade – Ty Bratcher, Treyton Fann, Cole George, and Allie St. John.

 
Honor Roll
 
Students on this list earned all As and one B on their first nine weeks report card.
 

  1. Mrs. Dawn Witty’s Third Grade – Emma Crabtree, D. J. Moore, Connor Rodgers, Ella Simmons, and Toby Tucker.
  2. Mrs. Stacie Bryson’s Fourth Grade – Faith Vashist.
  3. Mrs. Carla Parker’s Fourth Grade – Natalie Heisey, Kooper Nemeth, Maci Sellars, and Michaela Sellars
  4. Mrs. Theresa Bush’s Fifth Grade – Tyler Southworth.
  5. Mrs. Suzette Sissom’s Sixth Grade – Sadie Jones, Trinaty Muse, and Jackson Simmons.
  6. Mrs. Mary Jean Cook’s Seventh Grade – Andrew Smith.
  7. Mr. Roy Finchum’s Seventh Grade – Jameson Southworth and Austin Taylor.
  8. Mrs. Tracy Hale’s Eighth Grade – Brandon Lack.

 
Merit List
 
Students on this list had only As and Bs on their first nine weeks report card.
 

  1. Ms. Larna Martindale’s Third Grade – Anita Chittaphong.
  2. Mrs. Dawn Witty’s Third Grade – Jonathan Fann, Brody Morris, Hanna Foster, Hannah Jo Foulk, and Branson Smithson.
  3. Mrs. Stacie Bryson’s Fourth Grade – Hailey Bowman.
  4. Mrs. Carla Parker’s Fourth Grade –Ashley Mooneyham and Dylan Taylor.
  5. Mrs. Theresa Bush’s Fifth Grade – Zachary Basham, Hunter Davis, Naomi Nelson, and Shelby Reed.
  6. Mrs. Beth Northcutt’s Fifth Grade – Dalton Hale.
  7. Mr. Nathan Brazle’s Sixth Grade – Addison Miller and Samantha Strait.
  8. Mrs. Suzette Sissom’s Sixth Grade – Christopher Cancino, Tiffany Miller and Joe Overcast.
  9. Mrs. Mary Jean Cook’s Seventh Grade – Jacob Raines and Brady Sissom.
  10. Mr. Roy Finchum’s Seventh Grade – Branden Schwartz and Corey Smith.
  11. Mrs. Pam O’Hara’s Eighth Grade – Sydney Reed.

 
Perfect Attendance
 
The students on this list had perfect attendance during the first nine week grading period.
 

  1. Mrs. Rebekah Mooneyham’s Kindergarten – Jordyn Beaty, Brooklyn Bowman, and Jag Gamberella.
  2. Mrs. Melisha Simmons’s Kindergarten – Haylee Foulk, Brandyn Murphy, Mylee Schwartz, and Kayleb Whaley.
  3. Mrs. MaryBeth Young’s Kindergarten – Braylynn Taylor.
  4. Mrs. Julie Hackney’s First Grade – Lia Bedwell, Jesse Campbell, Riley Jo Goodman, Ben Kauffman, Lakelyn Kilpatrick, and Jacob Smith.
  5. Mrs. Alice Whittle’s First Grade – Garrett Crawford, Katherine Fann, Mason Lowe, and Georgia Wells.
  6. Ms. Maria Jones’s Second Grade – Chloe Cobb, Austin Foster, Ethan Hargrove, Destiny Hiles, Ashlan Reed, and Waylon Southworth.
  7. Ms. Leslie Pursell’s Second Grade – Korbin Bain and George Seybold.
  8. Mrs. Stacie Bryson’s Fourth Grade – Hailey Bowman and Chloe Thomas.
  9. Mrs. Carla Parker’s Fourth Grade – Jalin Fann, Ashley Mooneyham, Kooper Nemeth and Dylan Taylor.
  10. Mrs. Theresa Bush’s Fifth Grade – Alex Horsley and Naomi Nelson.
  11. Mrs. Beth Northcutt’s Fifth Grade – Brady Bryson, Logan Bundy, Lane Crawford, Brady Davenport, Eric Estrada, Dalton Hale, Cheyenne Lanphere, Addison Melton, Shelby Smithson, and Autumn M. Young.
  12. Mrs. Suzette Sissom’s Sixth Grade – Jordan Bean, Chris Cancino, Hayden Cobb, Blake Davis, Kelsie Foster, Jesse Frazier, Dalton Mears, Tiffany Miller, Trinity Muse, Jackson Simmons and Naomi Southers.
  13. Mr. Roy Finchum’s Seventh Grade – Corey Smith.
  14. Mrs. Pam O’Hara’s Eighth Grade – Herbert Cobb.

 
A.R.R.R.O.W. Club
 
Students on this list meet the requirements for the A.R.R.R.O.W. Club.  They have not missed more than ten days this year; they have displayed that they are ready, respectful, and responsible, and have outstanding behavior of a Warrior.
 

  1. Mrs. Rebekah Mooneyham’s Kindergarten –  Mathew Austin, Jordyn Beaty, Brooklyn Bowman, Ziya Dillard, Madilyne England, Jag Gamberella, Carlie Gannon, Austin Laxton, Gabriella Marcum, Kendra Murphy, Cayden Onate, Brayden Smithson, and Kail Spray.
  2. Mrs. Melisha Simmons Kindergarten – Layla Barrett, Phillip Farrar, Haylee Foulk, Claire Hargrove, Edward Heath, Kyleigh Lowery, Makenna Luttrell, Allie Melton, Riley Miller, Brandyn Murphy, Mylee Schwartz, Aiden Smith, Landon Smith, Brett Smithson, Andrew Stratton, and Kayleb Whaley.
  3. Mrs. MaryBeth Young’s Kindergarten – Waylon Crawford, Jaysie Hackney, Carson Henderson, Samuel Holloway, Kyle Judkins, Marshall Miller, Ainsley Moore, Brooklyn Parker, Anna Phillips, Carson Powell, Adlen Sissom, Lane Southworth, Braylynn Taylor, Jaylynn Taylor, and Eli Vassar.
  4. Mrs. Julie Hackney’s First Grade – Lia Bedwell, Jesse Campbell, Abbi Davis, Boone Elrod, Madison Foster, Riley Jo Goodman, Kaylie Hill, Ben Kauffman, Lakelyn Kilpatrick, Estacy Monzalvo, Landyn Murphy, Brennon Parker, Jacob Smith, Kassandra Smyth, Kathryn Trail, Addie Walker, Julia Warren, and Izabell Young.
  5. Mrs. Alice Whittle’s First Grade –Garrett Crawford, Takoda Davidson, Rihanna Edmondson, Ethan England, Katherine Fann, Kaige Ferrell, Alexys Gamberella, Foster Kemp, Kattie Lack, Mason Lowe, Liliana Pope, Alex Powers, Kylea Sullivan, Georgia Wells, Connor Williamson, and Cadence Witty.
  6. Ms. Maria Jones’s Second Grad – A. J. Armstrong, Trey Beilfuss, Cattarena Campis, Chloe Cobb, Zowee Dillard, Graham Edens, Carson Farrar, Austin Foster, Gavin Franklin, Gaven Fly-Franks, Ethan Hargrove, Virginia Hernandez, Destiny Hiles, Jordan Hill, Cassidy McTaggart, Jacob Robinson, Kaia Robinson, Ashlan Reed, and .Waylon Southworth.
  7. Ms. Leslie Pursell’s Second Grade – Chris Alfaro, Korbin Bain, Brianna Bowman, Austin Bush, Jenna Bush, Autumn Casteel, Mattea Ciramella, Luke Cook, Katherin Garcia, Tucker Horsley, Logan Inge, Daigon Jacobs, Lucio Lowery, Noah Maddox, Aubrianna McKee, McKenzie Merritt, Lola Odom, Shauna Pelham, Jared Romines, George Seybold, and Reese Vance.
  8. Ms. Larna Martindale’s Third Grade – Hannah Bowman, Kylie Bratcher, Anita Chittaphong, Brady Davis, Rose Davis, Konnor Lorance, Eric Miller, Aidan Moore, Nicholaus Pelham, Tyson Pope, Cassie Ramsey, Bryant Robinson, Taylor Ross, Rachel Smartt, Kelton Wilkes, and Houston Witty.
  9. Mrs. Dawn Witty’s Third Grade – Emma Crabtree, Shelby Duggin, Jonathan Fann, Hanna Foster, Hannah Jo Foulk, Chantz Inge, Josh Mingle, D. J. Moore, Brody Morris, Ethan Powell, Connor Rodgers, Ella Simmons, Branson Smithson, and Toby Tucker.
  10. Mrs. Stacie Bryson’s Fourth Grade – Kaylee Armstrong, Garrett Basham, Nolan Bell, Hailey Bowman, Carter Cawthorn, Parker Cawthorn, Walker Cawthorn, Karli Davenport, Kolby Duke, Rebecca Green, Alicia Miles, Braxton Parker, Charles Powell, Alex Ruth, Maleah Sissom, Chloe Thomas, Faith Vashist , and Ellianna Young.
  11. Mrs. Carla Parker’s Fourth Grade – Cynthia Davenport, Jalin Fann, Jackson Farrar, Anthony Garcia, Natalie Heisey, Emma Hughes, Mikie Lowery, Ashley Mooneyham, Kooper Nemeth, Dillion Pyron, Jadyn Romines, Maci Sellars, Michaela Sellars, Cassidy Taylor, Dylan Taylor, and Alyssa Winters,.
  12. Mrs. Theresa Bush’s Fifth Grade – Madison Arnold, Zachary Basham, Macey Ciramella, Hunter Davis, Emma Edens, Alex Horsley, Kelsi Mears, Naomi Nelson, Hunter Owen, Austin Phillips, Lori Pittard, Shelby Reed, Kaleb Ryan, Tyler Southworth, and Autumn S. Young.
  13. Mrs. Beth Northcutt’s Fifth Grade – Brady Bryson, Summer Casteel, Dalton Coppinger, Austin Davis, Zettie Elrod, Eric Estrada, Dalton Fox, Maria Funes, Cassie George, Wesley George, Dalton Hale, Bradi Mason, Addison Melton, Shelby Smithson, and Autumn M. Young.
  14. Mr. Nathan Brazle’s Sixth Grade – Caroline Blanton, Madison Blanton, Lily Brazle, Seth Brown, Remington James, Jessica Kauffmann, Kallie Kemp, Rachel Laxton, Bailey Markum, Addison Miller, Austin Powell, McKenna Powell, Joel Smith, Samantha Strait, Kaitlyn Trail, Taylor Weeden, and Zoe Witty.
  15. Mrs. Suzette Sissom’s Sixth Grade – Jordan Bean, Abigail Buchanan, Blake Bush, Chris Cancino, Hayden Cobb, Wyatt Crawford, Blake Davis, Kristin Fann, Kelsie Foster, Jesse Frazier, Sadie Jones, Abbie Judkins, Joe Overcast, Jessica McCrory, Dalton Mears, Tiffany Miller, Trinaty Muse, Jackson Simmons, Anna Grace Sissom, and Naomi Southers.
  16. Mrs. Mary Jean Cook’s Seventh Grade – Bryson Bell, Sydney Hudson, Emily Keaton, Joe Thomas Mitchell, Jacob Raines, Brady Sissom, Andrew Smith, Ty St. John, Cierra Thomas, and Austin Underwood.
  17. Mr. Roy Finchum’s Seventh Grade – Breanna Anderson, Yovany Dominguez, Nick Fisk, Weston Hargrove, J. W. Henderson, Madison Lowe, Holly Markum, Blake Reed, Branden Schwartz, Etta Scott, Jameson Southworth, Amy Spry, Destinee Stratton, Austin Taylor, and Dalton Taylor.
  18. Mrs. Tracy Hale’s Eighth Grade – Jacob Clark, Kaley Davidson, Lily Davis, Brandon Lack, Matthew Pemberton, Noah Pence, Taylor Sturgill, and Abi Taylor.
  19. Mrs. Pam O’Hara’s Eighth Grade – Samantha Anderson, Ty Bratcher, Herbert Cobb, Treyton Fann, Cole George, and Allie St. John.

 

Weekly Legislative Update

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Tennessee Senate passed several key bills this week, including the state budget, as well as legislation sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers that combats meth production and use, as well as legislation that seeks to protect the 4th and 2nd Amendment rights of Tennesseans. 
 
The legislature hopes to close its 2014 session in the coming week.  The State Senate has completed the vast majority of its business with most of the remaining action pending on bills that have passed the House of Representatives in a different form.  Both the House and the Senate must agree on all provisions of a bill before sending it to the governor for his signature or a conference committee is appointed to work out the differences.  
 
The $32.4 billion budget, which is also called the appropriations bill, is the legislation that proposes state government spending for the next fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2014 and extends to June 30, 2015.  Passage of a balanced budget is the only constitutional requirement for lawmakers.
 
Senate passes legislation to protect and give more rights to victims of crime
 
The State Senate passed several bills this week to protect and give more rights to crime victims, including a bill giving victims of rape the power to keep their identity private.  The action came as the nation recognized National Crime Victims’ Week, an annual observance to promote victims’ right and honor crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf.  Senate Bill 2254 provides that identifying information regarding the victim will be treated as confidential following a guilty plea or conviction. The information would not be open for inspection by members of the public, unless the victim waives the right to confidentiality. 
 
Increased Penalties to Meth OffendersThe Senate passed Senate Bill 2021, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers, that strengthens criminal penalties for individuals convicted of possessing or distributing methamphetamine. Senator Beavers’ bill would increase the mandatory minimum sentences for all meth offenders, requiring them to serve at least 180 days in confinement, while a person convicted of possession would have to serve a minimum of 30 days.
 
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) praised Sen. Beavers and her fight against meth offenders – as well as her actions to protect law abiding citizens’ access to cold medicine.  The CHPA stated, in a press release, that: “While each Tennessean has unique concerns and reasons for becoming engaged on this important issue, one of the most common themes is a frustration that some of the legislation being proposed will end up hurting law-abiding consumers more than the criminals who are responsible for the meth problem. Senator Beavers’s anti-meth legislation, however, would do the opposite. It’s designed to target criminals, to impact meth production recidivism and to also provide a deterrent to stop meth crime before it happens. It’s exactly the kind of balanced and targeted approach that a clear majority of Tennessee voters have consistently favored. We want to commend Senator Beavers for her leadership on this important legislation.”
 
Sex Offender Registry – In similar action, the Senate also passed legislation which defines “offender against children” for purpose of the state’s Sex Offender Registry as a sexual offender, violent sexual offender, or violent juvenile sexual offender if the victim in one or more of the offender’s crimes was 12 years old or younger.  Senate Bill 2083 requires a person classified as an offender against children to remain on the Sex Offender Registry for life.  The Registry is open to the public.  In addition, the bill adds aggravated sexual battery to the list of offenses to place a juvenile on the Juvenile Sexual Registry.  The Juvenile Registry is not open to the public, but is available to law enforcement.
 
The Senate also passed Senate Bill 2090, to help ensure Tennessee is not a destination for sex offenders as a result of having weaker laws than other states regarding work and residential restrictions.  Tennessee law already has such restrictions for child sex offenders.   This legislation prohibits any sexual offender, whose victim was an adult, from knowingly establishing a residence or to accept employment within 1,000 feet of any public, private or parochial school, licensed day care center, other child care facility, public park, playground, recreation center or athletic field available for use by the general public.
 
Criminal Gangs – The Community Safety Act, which aims to curb gang crime, has been approved by the State Senate.  Senate Bill 1634 would clarify that a petition for the abatement of gang-related conduct, may be filed against a criminal gang itself to which the members belong.  The court would have the authority to restrict gang activity in certain geographic locations like parks and neighborhoods.  The bill would require gang-related conduct to be proven beyond clear and convincing evidence. It includes an opt-out provision that would allow a gang member to be dismissed from an injunction if he or she renounced membership.  The proposal would also make it a Class C misdemeanor for a gang member to knowingly violate any temporary or permanent injunction.
 
Abuse of Elderly and Disabled – The State Senate passed legislation to protect elderly and adults with disabilities from abuse.  Senate Bill 1852 increases punishment for adult abuse, exploitation or neglect from a Class E to a Class D felony.  Earlier this year, Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability Jim Shulman told members of the Health and General Welfare Committee that assaults on the elderly have grown over the last three years of reporting from 1,360 in 2009 to 1,492 in 2011.  In addition, Shulman said underreporting of abuse may also occur due to incapacitation or abuse may be mistaken for “usual aging.” 
 
Senate passes legislation to protect privacy of Tennesseans
 
The Senate gave final approval to several bills aiming to protect the privacy of citizens, including legislation regarding the improper use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to collect images or video.  Senate Bill 1892 is a proactive measure as the Federal Aviation Administration, which currently has authority over UAVs, is in the process of lifting their regulations, creating a vacuum in Tennessee law for the private use of these vehicles.
 
The bill is an attempt to reinforce a bill passed last year, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers, which prohibited the use of drones by state officials, except under certain limited circumstances.  The new bill creates a criminal offense for using these vehicles except for certain exceptions, including the landowner’s permission, testing of aircraft authorized by the FAA, activity by the military, law enforcement for the pursuit of felony criminals, satellite mapping, and such emergency situations like an oil spill, fire suppression and to rescue a person in danger.  A violation of the basic prohibition will be a Class C misdemeanor under the bill with subsequent distribution or use of unauthorized images as a Class B misdemeanor.
 
Privacy Rights / Search and Seizure – The State Senate voted on Monday night to prohibit law enforcement officers from searching or seizing a person’s cellular telephone data, unless there is a search warrant, the owner gives informed consent, it is abandoned or exigent circumstances exists to suspect criminal activity at the time of the seizure.  Senate Bill 1757, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), would classify cellular telephones as sealed containers and prohibit the search and seizure during a routine traffic stop.
 
“Searching or seizing a person’s cell phone data without any judicial oversight is a major invasion of the privacy of our citizens,” said Senator Beavers.  “This legislation requires a search warrant or consent from the person in possession of the phone, unless there are exigent circumstances.”
 
No cellular telephone data that is obtained in violation of the proposed law would be allowable in any court of law as evidence.  The bill would become effective on July 1, 2014.
 
Surveillance / Electronic Devices – State Senators also voted to prohibit state and local police agencies from accessing or retrieving the location data of residents by surveillance of an electronic device without a court warrant.  Senate Bill 2087, sponsored by Senator Beavers, would help ensure government does not take advantage of technological advances in cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices to spy without appropriate judicial oversight.  
 
The electronic privacy bill is modeled after one passed in Montana which allows exceptions only in order to respond to a possible life-threatening situation, an emergency call by the user or when a device is reported as stolen, unless there is informed consent by the owner.  The legislation prescribes a Class C misdemeanor for violation.
 
Senate passes legislation to protect citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights
 
Second Amendment Rights / Open Carry of Firearms – The Senate voted to approve legislation, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), allowing for the open carry of firearms in Tennessee without a permit, as long as they are openly observable.  Senate Bill 2424 follows similar laws in 29 other states that generally allow a law-abiding citizen  to carry a handgun in an unconcealed or open manner.  In addition, 28 other states, in varying degrees, allow a person to possess a loaded gun in a motor vehicle without being required to carry a permit.  A handgun permit would continue to be required to conceal a handgun.  “Tennessee’s Constitution permits the legislature to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime,” said Senator Beavers.  “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Murdock v. Pennsylvania that no state can convert a liberty into a privilege, license it and attach a fee to it.”
 
Conceal Carry Handgun Permit / Fees – The full Senate approved Senate Bill1204, sponsored by Senator Beavers, which reduces the amount a person must pay for a current handgun carry permit application, as well as a renewal application.  Under the bill the fee for a conceal carry handgun permit would be reduced from $115 to $100 and the renewal fee would be lowered from $50 to $40 beginning January 1, 2015.  The bill is in response to an estimated $11 million surplus in monies collected by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation used to process the applications. 
 
 

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