Nashville Police Say Man Behind Nightclub Shooting Was Previously Released on $50,000 Bond

Erik Dewaun Williams

The man who allegedly shot six outside a Nashville nightclub on Sunday was previously released from jail on a $50,000 bond, the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) confirmed.

Williams is accused of injuring six in a shooting near the Soho Lounge in South Nashville, with MNPD reporting officers were initially responding to a call about “persons with guns fighting.”

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Attorney General Skrmetti Declares Tennessee House Ticketing System Follows State Constitution

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti confirmed on Thursday that the new ticketing system for members of the public to attend meetings of the Tennessee House of Representatives follows the Tennessee Constitution.

The legal opinion was requested after House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) announced a new ticketing system that limits half of the public gallery to media members, with members of the public and congressional staff only allowed with a ticket. Lawmakers are each given one ticket to distribute as they see fit.

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Tennessee House Speaker Sexton Provides New Details on Constitutional Amendment to Refuse Bail for More Violent Criminals

A spokesman for Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) on Monday provided The Tennessee Star with new details about the constitutional amendment proposed last week in Memphis to allow Tennessee judges to refuse to grant bail to more violent criminals.

Sexton was joined by Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Memphis Mayor Paul Young in a Friday press event with other lawmakers and community leaders to call for the constitutional amendment, which would need to be approved by Tennessee voters in a public referendum.

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Tennessee House Speaker, Senate Majority Leader Call for Constitutional Amendment to Let Judges Deny Bail for Violent Criminals

Memphis Press Conference

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) joined Memphis Mayor Paul Young and a number of lawmakers from both major political parties at a Friday press event in Memphis to call for an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that would empower judges to deny bail more often.

Sexton, Johnson and Young were joined by State Senator Brent Taylor (R-Memphis) and State Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis), and other local leaders, to call for the constitutional amendment.

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Tennessee House Speaker, Senate Majority Leader to Hold Joint Event in Memphis with Paul Young

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) will hold a joint event with Memphis Mayor Paul Young at Memphis City Hall.

In a Thursday media release from Sexton’s office, the leaders revealed they plan to “make a major announcement alongside Mayor Young, law enforcement officials and community leaders” on Friday at 10:30 a.m.

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Tennessee House Speaker Sexton Claims Nashville DA Funk ‘Doing Everything He Can to Put People Behind Bars’

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) claimed in a Wednesday appearance on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN’s “The Matt Murphy Show” that Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk (D) is “doing everything he can to put people behind bars,” but said he could not comment on why Funk decided against launching appeals against court rulings in a bid to keep career criminal Shaquille Taylor in jail prior to the death of Belmont freshman Jillian Ludwig.

Sexton repeated his claim that the Tennessee General Assembly’s failure to pass HB 7036 in the special session means Funk is “doing all he can” but “law enforcement’s hands are tied.”

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Speaker Cameron Sexton Blasts Biden Administration and Stands with National Guard Members

Tennessee Speaker of the House of Representatives Cameron Sexton, in a statement issued to The Tennessee Star, expressed his support for the Tennessee National Guard members who are scheduled to lose their jobs on June 30 due to their refusal to comply with a COVID-19 vaccination mandate. 

Sexton additionally had sharp criticism for the Biden administration’s handling of COVID-19 policies and mandates. 

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Little Support for ‘Grandstanding’ Dem TN State Rep’s Call for Special Session to Push Gun Control

Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton threw cold water on “grandstanding” State Representative John Ray Clemmons’ (D-West Nashville) call for a special session to push gun control in Tennessee, demonstrating that there is little support for the idea.

In a press conference that NewsChannel5 reported on, Clemmons said, “Let’s pass mental health care laws. Let’s repeal bad laws that have facilitated this. Let’s use the indicators we see in domestic violence to limit people’s access to firearms. Let’s repeal the open carry law and guns in trunk law. Let’s take legislative action now. Not later, now. Not after another shooting, not after more deaths. Now.”

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New ‘Truth in Sentencing’ Legislation Becomes Law Without Governor Lee’s Signature

Governor Bill Lee declined to sign new legislation passed by the General Assembly that impacts the amount of prison time served by convicted criminals, allowing the measure to go into law without his signature.

The bill, known as “truth in sentencing” legislation, mandates that individuals convicted of certain violent crimes serve their entire sentence behind bars.

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Lt. Governor Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton Formally Call for Special Session to Address COVID Mandates

Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) on Tuesday formally issued a call for a third session of the 112th General Assembly.

According to the two state lawmakers, the additional session “will cover a number of issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including overreaching health care mandates.”

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Tennessee State Rep. Vincent Dixie Welcomes Federal Investigation into Concerned Parents

Tennessee State Representative Vincent Dixie (D-Nashville) on Wednesday announced his support for Attorney General Merrick Garland’s investigation into alleged “threats” made by parents against school officials.

According to a statement from the Department of Justice, Garland has directed “the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to meet in the next 30 days with federal, state, Tribal, territorial and local law enforcement leaders to discuss strategies for addressing this disturbing trend.” 

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Tennessee Special Sessions Cost More Than $30K Per Day

If Gov. Bill Lee calls for a special session of the Tennessee Legislature, it will cost state taxpayers more than $30,000 per day.

Each day the House and Senate meet costs $30,750 in per diem for lawmakers, while each round trip for all lawmakers costs taxpayers $15,474 in mileage, according to Connie Ridley, the director of Tennessee’s Office of Legislative Administration.

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Tennessee to Use Taxpayer Funds to Pay Out-of-State Tourists to Visit

In an attempt to continue the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the state of Tennessee will utilize an unprecedented marketing effort — paying out-of-state tourists to travel to the state.

The program, initiated by Governor Bill Lee and dubbed “Tennessee on Me,” will grant $250 airline vouchers to any individual who travels to Tennessee’s largest cities and stays at least two nights.

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Tennessee General Assembly Eliminates Sentence Reductions for Sex Trafficking, Rape, Molestation, Child Abuse and More

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill eliminating sentence reductions for 31 sexually-related offenses. These offenses were largely related to rape, assault, sex trafficking, and a variety of crimes against children. The Senate hastened to pass the bill on Wednesday after the House passed it on Tuesday. The General Assembly voted unanimously in favor of the bill. 

As amended, the bill established that there would be no release eligibility for the following offenses: female genital mutilation, felony domestic assault, sex trafficking, advertising minor sexual abuse, rape, aggravated and non-aggravated sexual battery, aggravated statutory rape, felony indecent exposure, patronizing or promoting prostitution, public indecency, continuous child molestation, sexual battery by an authority figure, felony solicitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, statutory rape by an authority figure, promoting travel for prostitution, unlawful photography of a child under 13, observation without consent, incest, aggravated and non-aggravated child abuse or child neglect and endangerment, child pornography, sale and distribution of child-like sex dolls, and aggravated and especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. It would also ensure no release eligibility for conspiracy, criminal attempt, or solicitation of any of the above offenses.

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State Rep. Bruce Griffey Reinstated to Committees by Speaker Cameron Sexton

Less than two weeks after being removed from the House Civil Justice, Criminal Justice, and Education Instruction Committees, Rep. Bruce Griffey’s (R-Paris) membership was reinstated by Speaker Cameron Sexton.

Griffey’s removal came unceremoniously at the end of the March 25 House floor session, three days following a testy exchange on the House floor primarily with House Parliamentarian Daniel Hicks, and to a lesser degree Sexton himself, related to Griffey’s use of Rule 53 of the House Permanent Rules of Order for the 112th General Assembly for his proposed E-Verify legislation.

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Speaker Sexton Spares House Members from Rule 53 Vote on E-Verify Legislation

During the House floor session Monday evening, Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) spared his members from a Rule 53 vote regarding the proposed E-Verify legislation.

Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) invoked the Rule 53 provision from the House Permanent Rules of Order for the 112th General Assembly, which is the process of recalling a bill from committee.  If a Rule 53 effort is successful, the subject bill would be scheduled directly to the House floor for a vote, bypassing the committee process that killed the bill.

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Tennessee Legislature Re-Elects Randy McNally, Cameron Sexton as Speakers of Senate, House

Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) on Tuesday was re-elected for his third term as Speaker of the Senate, while State Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) returned as House Speaker.

The Tennessee House Republican Caucus tweeted, “The 112th General Assembly convened today in Nashville! Congratulations to our re-elected Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, newly elected Speaker Pro Tem Pat Marsh, and all our members as they were sworn into office. @CSexton25 @marsh4tn”.

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Governor Bill Lee’s Second State of the State Continues His Priorities in a $40.8 Billion Budget

Bill Lee on the State House floor

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee – At his second annual State of the State Address, Governor Bill Lee continued to prioritize education, criminal justice reform, care for the most vulnerable, and rural Tennessee in his $40.8 billion budget for the upcoming 2020-2021 fiscal year. The next fiscal year’s budget reflects a 3.7 percent increase over last year’s $39.3 billion budget and is the first time that the state’s budget has exceeded $40 billion. Providing the General Assembly information on the state of the government is an Article III requirement of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee for the state’s chief executive and was set for Monday, February 3 at 6 p.m. in the chambers of the State’s House of Representatives in the State Capitol. Prior to delivering the State of the State Address, Governor Lee gave a preview in a 5 a.m. release of excerpts from the Address to the governor’s office webpage. Monday evening, legislators, Governor Lee, guests, and other attendees were met – starting at 5:30 p.m. – by a regular protester standing in front of the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest located between the Senate and House chambers shouting, “Remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest,” and “Remove…

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Attempts by House Democrats to Expel Representative David Byrd During the Special Session Unsuccessful

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee – House Democrats launched an unsuccessful attempt to expel Representative David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) from the House of Representatives during the Extraordinary Session on August 23 to elect a new Speaker. HR 7006, introduced by Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) on August 5 reads, “Expels David Byrd from his seat as a member of the House of Representatives of the One Hundred Eleventh General Assembly.” Byrd has been accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with underage female student athletes 30 years ago when he was a high school basketball coach. The allegations were made against Byrd prior to the 2018 elections, which Byrd won capturing 78 percent of the vote against his Democrat opponent. Since the allegations were made public, protesters have been regular attendees at the legislative offices and committee rooms in the Cordell Hull Building, and even more present outside the chambers during floor sessions. Protesters were present during and after the House Republican Caucus meeting held on August 22, the day prior to the Extraordinary Session. A group, Enough is Enough, has repeatedly called for Byrd to be removed from the House, even to Governor Bill Lee who has no such constitutional authority. Earlier this week, before…

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