Tennessee Libertarian Party Takes Aim At Legislative Activities

This article was originally published by Donn King in The Examiner on March 18th. 

The new chair of the Libertarian Party of Tennessee has called on members to contact legislators regarding a variety of bills under consideration in both the Tennessee House of Representatives and the Senate.

Jim Tomasik credits member phone calls and emails (along with those of other Tennessee citizens) with helping move House Bill 475 through committee. In opening remarks, Local Government Committee chair Matthew Hill (R – Jonesborough) called the bill “the reason that we’ve all been getting the emails.” The bill would require a referendum in which at least 51 percent of property owners vote in favor of annexation before a municipality could annex the area.

Tennessee is one of only three states remaining in the nation allowing involuntary forced municipal annexation (Idaho and Indiana are the other two).

In a recent email, Tomasik urged party members to also contact representatives to support the passage of the following bills:

  • SB804. According to LegiScan, as introduced, prohibits Tennessee from participating in any Medicaid expansion authorized under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  • SB0796 / HB0591. Titled “The Anti-Drone Bills,” LegiScansays, as introduced, enacts the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act.” Before drone technology could be used within the state, authorities would have to meet at least one of three tests: a declaration from the federal Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security concerning a credible risk of terrorist attack; a search warrant signed by a judge; or evidence that “swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life.” The bill would also allow lawsuits for civil damages against drone operators, and would disallow the use of any evidence collected in violation of this bill.
  • SB0891 / HB1078. This bill would stop what Tomasik calls “policing for profit.” The most significant aspect is the requirement that a person from whom property is removed must be convicted of a criminal offense before the property can be forfeited. Under current law, cash and property can be taken under mere suspicion of drug-related activity, and will be forfeited unless the suspect takes specific action to recover the property.
  • HB1059 / SB1290. “The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, or NDAA, included provisions that allowed for the indefinite detention of Americans on U.S. soil with no warrants or access to due process” Tomasik said. “This is anathema to everything we believe as Americans.”

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