****Update 7.25.23 – Representative Todd Warner (R-District 92-Chapel Hill) and Senator Joey Hensley (R-District 28-Hohenwald) in addition to several others are now signatories of the letter described below.****
Image Credit: Gov. Bill Lee / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
A coalition of elected Williamson County officials and Williamson County Republican Party Executive Committee members have sent an open letter to Governor Bill Lee appealing with him to reconsider holding a Special Session and to instead wait to reconvene during the General Session to discuss any legislation related to public safety.
The complete letter can be downloaded HERE.
The text of the letter can be found below:
Dear Governor Lee,
As a coalition of elected officials and community leaders in Williamson County, we are calling on you to reconsider the Special Session currently scheduled for August 21, 2023, and resume discussions about future legislation to create safer schools and communities during the regularly scheduled General Session in January 2024.
Among our main concerns:
• Regarding the tragedy at Covenant School this past March, there is still an ongoing investigation that has unanswered questions. Consequently, we request you allow the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department to complete its work so the public may have a better understanding of the root cause of this tragic event. Tennessee has always been a state at the forefront of embracing the values of Faith, Family, and Freedom. Let us allow for the facts to come forth, so we can ensure we are protecting these values and not inadvertently violating the constitutional rights so many have fought and sacrificed for to make this country and state what it is today.
• Regarding the current timing of the session, most, if not all, of our local public and private school students will have already been back in session for a couple of weeks. At this same time, university students will be preparing to start their fall semesters. After what we witnessed at the State Capitol this past March when activists sought disruption over productive conversations, we believe it would be in the best interest of our students and citizens to avoid what could potentially become a dangerous public safety situation. This is of even greater concern given the recent reports of activists training and preparing to travel to the area to create chaos and intimidate our state legislators.
• Regarding funding needed for the Special Session, do we know how much this will cost Tennessee taxpayers? As a fiscally conservative state government, any additional costs or resources required should be a consideration. This would include additional security, which to our understanding may include bringing back the TN National Guard from the current crisis at our US border.
• Finally, please consider the impact this may have on local law enforcement outside of the metro Nashville area. This would include the Williamson County hotel and hospitality district, as there is sure to be an overflow of individuals traveling from other parts of the state and country. Our law enforcement agencies work hard to keep our communities safe, so let us avoid placing additional stress on their already significant workload.
We encourage you to take time to fully consider the concerns we have presented, and additional time given to our legislators for all the facts of the Covenant tragedy to become known and considered before the next regularly scheduled General Session. This will allow them more time with constituents to discuss how together we can create safer communities. We should not allow agitators to control the narrative and promote an agenda that does not align with the will of the People of Tennessee.
Please download full letter HERE to view all letter authors, signees and the State Senators and Representatives the letter was also sent to or view below.