Crockett Buzz for 7-31-15
Lawmakers push for legislative hearings on Tennessee prison understaffing
Tennessee man arrested near Capitol faces gun charges
An attorney general’s opinion says private organizations can’t prevent licensed handgun permit holders from taking weapons into events the groups operate at public parks.
The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1I5qC8D ) reports the opinion said under a new state law, local governments can’t prohibit permit holders from taking handguns to parks and therefore can’t delegate the authority to anyone else.
Organizers of events at Nashville’s new Ascend Amphitheater and next year’s Memphis in May celebration have told The Tennessean they planned to ban guns. But the attorney general’s opinion Wednesday seems to say they’re not allowed to ban guns carried by legally licensed permit holders. LINK
Lawmakers push for legislative hearings on Tennessee prison understaffingAn estimated 322 Tennessee prison guards have quit working for the state since the Department of Correction in 2014 began phasing in a new overtime policy, which some state lawmakers blame for leaving prison conditions unsafe from increased violence.
"Sure it's more dangerous," said House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, who requested the personnel figures from the department. "You don't need to be a prison expert to figure that out."
Last week, eight felons at the Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville were sent to hospitals with knife wounds, the result of a gang fracas that put the prison on lockdown.
Inmates at the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City also were placed on lockdown in the wake of an assault that injured a correctional officer, The Tomahawk newspaper reported.
"There was an incident at Northeast Tennessee, but out of respect for privacy, I cannot share their medical information," department spokeswoman Neysa Taylor said by email. "That incident is still under investigation."
Fitzhugh said many, if not all, of Tennessee's prisons are facing manpower shortages similar to the West Tennessee Penitentiary in his district because of the overtime changes that are intended to save $1.4 million.
According to Fitzhugh, the overtime policy change was a penny-wise, pound-foolish move that has led to turnover and staff shortages. Correctional officers, he said, began moving last summer from a 40-hour-per-week schedule before becoming eligible for overtime to a 28-day, or 160-hour, schedule where no overtime is granted unless those hours are exceeded. LINK
Judge's Looming Departure Could Bog Down Tennessee Supreme CourtGary Wade's decision to retire from the Tennessee Supreme Court will be the first real test of the state's new system for selecting judges.
With the stakes so high, what if Gov. Bill Haslam takes a while to pick a replacement?
Wade, one of the five justices on the state's highest court, announced last week that he plans to retire Sept. 8. Haslam is expected to replace the Democratic judge with a Republican, tipping the balance of the Tennessee Supreme Court toward the GOP for the first time in generations.
State law doesn't require Haslam to move quickly. But Allan Ramsaur, executive director of the Tennessee Bar Association, says Haslam shouldn't wait long to choose his successor.
He worries about the possibility that a four-judge Supreme Court could split 2-2 on a case, with no one to break the tie. And he says it'll be hard for the court to stay on top of its work: With Wade gone, other justices will have to write more opinions and review more cases. LINK
Getting beyond that Battle Flag.
I think the best way to celebrate our heritage is to take advantage of our colorful way of speaking. Don't hide your accent. Parade it around on the front porch. After I told my husband I was hungry enough to eat the ass outta low-flying duck, I asked friends for some other phrases we could use to celebrate our way with words. Butts figured prominently, as in "that ass looks like two raccoons fighting in a burlap sack" and "her butt's lumpier than a bad batch of gravy."
Our ways of saying someone is not very pretty are also awesome. Ugly as a mud fence. So homely she'd scare a freight train down a dirt road.
We all know people crazier than a sprayed cockroach or crazier than a sack of bees. We've all eaten fried chicken good enough to make you slap yer mama or make a puppy pull a freight train.
We have some amazing things to celebrate about the South. We are authors, painters, potters, actors, statesmen, educators, musicians. We're storytellers. I think maybe that's what gets us in trouble. When it's our story, we tell it the way we want to. We're more than a flag. Let's start acting like it. LINK
Tennessee man arrested near Capitol faces gun chargesA Tennessee man driving a truck loaded with guns, ammunition and a propane tank faces charges in the U.S. capital after asking police for directions to the White House, according to court documents.
Steve Randall Oney, 59, of Sevierville, was arrested near the U.S. Capitol at around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday after he pulled over his Ford pickup and asked an officer, “Where’s the White House?”
Oney had three firearms in the vehicle – a long-range rifle with a scope, a .44 caliber handgun and a bolt-action rifle – as well as 505 rounds of ammunition and a foot-long knife, according to the arrest affidavit.
He was charged with carrying a handgun without a license, a felony, and two misdemeanor charges of having an unregistered gun and ammunition, according to court documents.
He was released from custody on Wednesday. A judge has ordered him to stay away from all government buildings. LINK
Crockett Policy Institute