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From WMOT News

GOP state lawmakers pass bill prompted by riots in Seattle and Portland

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee lawmakers have passed new legislation in response to recent riots in Seattle and Portland.

The measure was passed during last week’s special legislative session, but received little media attention.

If signed by the governor, the measure would prohibit government officials from excluding police, firefighters and other first responders from public demonstration sites.

During debate, Democratic Senator Raumesh Akbari asked GOP bill sponsor Senator Joey Hensley if some incident in Tennessee had prompted the bill’s creation.

Hensley referenced incidents in Portland and Seattle where city leadership allowed demonstrators to take control of a few city blocks, in some cases for several weeks.

Hensley also alleged an incident involving Mayor John Cooper and Nashville Police during the recent riot in Nashville, without providing specific details.

A WMOT email asking for clarification sent to Rep. Brandon Ogles, the sponsor of the House version of the bill, has not been answered.

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