Constitutional Reform

Tennessee citizens need reforms to make our State Constitution consistent with the United State Constitution, prohibit conflict-of-interest on county commissions, and prevent misadventure affecting Tennessee citizens and their rights that results from lack of cooperation or communication between federal employees operating in Tennessee and properly constituted local law enforcement authorities.

The reforms below accomplish that:

 

Joint Resolution for a Constitutional Amendment

A RESOLUTION to propose an amendment to Article I, Section 26 of the -Constitution of the State of Tennessee, relative to keep and bear arms.

Whereas, the Legislature finds that Article I, Section 26 of the Tennessee Constitution conflicts with the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution; and

Whereas, Article 6, Paragraph 2 of the United States Constitution states: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” The Constitution of the United States is the highest form of law in the American legal system even if state laws or constitutions conflict; and

Whereas, the legislative intends to make the Tennessee Constitution in compliance with the United States Constitution; now

therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that a two-thirds majority of all the members elected to each house concurring, as shown by the yeas and nays entered on their journals, that it is proposed that Article I, Section 26 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee be amended by replacing the existing sentence with

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in accordance with Article XI, Section 3 of the

Constitution of the State of Tennessee the foregoing proposed amendment shall be submitted to the people at the next general election in which a governor is to be chosen, the same being the 2010 November general election, and the secretary of state is directed to place such proposed amendment on the ballot for that election.

 

 

County Conflict-of-Interest Act of 2011

Whereas Integrity of county legislative bodies is compromised whenever members obtain livelihood via employment by the county, and

Whereas Current Tennessee statutes permit such members to participate by stating an insufficient standard disclaimer to ignore their conflict-of-interest,

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:

SECTION 1. The title of this act is and may be cited as the “County Conflict-of-Interest Act of 2011”.

SECTION 2. Amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 5, Chapter 5, Section 102 as follows:

1. Replace (c)(1) with the following text:

Any county employee, or individual whose spouse, parents, or children is a county employee, is disqualified from serving on the county legislative body.

2. Delete (c)(4) including subsections (c)(4)(A), (c)(4)B), (c)(4)(C), and (c)(4)(D).

SECTION 3. Nothing in this act shall be pertains to current members of the county legislative bodies. This act becomes effective the next elections in 2014.

 

Sheriffs Act of 2011

It is the intent of the legislature to ensure maximum cooperation between federal employees and local law enforcement authorities; to ensure that federal employees who carry out arrests, searches, and seizures in this state receive the best local knowledge and expertise available; and to prevent misadventure affecting Tennessee citizens and their rights that results from lack of cooperation or communication between federal employees operating in Tennessee and properly constituted local law enforcement authorities.

Whereas The elected sheriff of each county is the senior law enforcement officer of that county and is the most authoritative law enforcement official in the county. The primary duties of the sheriff are to keep the peace in the county and to secure and protect the liberties and security of the residents of the county.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:

SECTION 1. The title of this act is and may be cited as the “Sheriffs Act of 2011”.

SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 8, Chapter 8, Part 2, n 106 is amended by adding Section 222 a new, appropriately designated section;

Section 222. Sheriff has power over federal employees.

(A) County sheriff’s permission for federal arrests, searches, and seizures — exceptions.

(1) A federal employee who is not designated by Tennessee law as a Tennessee peace officer may not make an arrest, search, or seizure in this state without the written permission of the sheriff or designee of the sheriff of the county in which the arrest, search, or seizure will occur unless:

(a) the arrest, search, or seizure will take place on a federal enclave for which jurisdiction has been actively ceded to the United States of America by a Tennessee General Assembly Joint Resolution;

(b) the federal employee witnesses the commission of a crime of natural law which requires an immediate citizen’s arrest, in their personal capacity;

(c) the intended subject of the arrest, search, or seizure is an employee of the sheriff’s office or is an elected county or state officer, and the arrest, search, or seizure is based on malfeasance of position; or

(d) the federal employee has probable cause to believe that the subject of the arrest, search, or seizure has close connections with the sheriff, which connections are likely to result in the subject being informed of the impending arrest, search, or seizure.

(2) The county sheriff or designee of the sheriff may refuse permission for any reason that the sheriff or designee considers sufficient.

(3) A federal employee who desires to exercise a subsection (1)(c) exception shall obtain the written permission of the Tennessee attorney general for the arrest, search, or seizure unless the resulting delay in obtaining the permission would probably cause serious harm to one or more individuals or to a community or would probably cause flight of the subject of the arrest, search, or seizure in order to avoid prosecution. The attorney general may refuse the permission for any reason that the attorney general considers sufficient.

(4) A federal employee who desires to exercise a subsection (1)(d) exception shall obtain the written permission of the Tennessee attorney general. The request for permission must include a written statement, under oath, describing the federal employee’s probable cause. The attorney general may refuse the request for any reason that the attorney general considers sufficient.

(B) Permissions.

(1) A permission request to the county sheriff or Tennessee attorney general must contain:

(a) the name of the subject of the arrest, search, or seizure;

(b) a clear statement of probable cause for the arrest, search, or seizure or a federal arrest, search, or seizure warrant that contains a clear statement of probable cause;

(c) a description of specific assets, if any, to be searched for or seized;

(d) a statement of the date and time that the arrest, search, or seizure is to occur; and

(e) the address or location where the intended arrest, search, or seizure will be attempted.

(2) The request may be in letter form, either typed or handwritten, but must be countersigned with the original signature of the county sheriff or designee of the sheriff or by the Tennessee attorney general, to constitute valid permission. The permission is valid for forty-eight (48) hours after it is signed. The sheriff or attorney general shall keep a copy of the permission request on file.

(C) Remedies.

(1) An arrest, search, or seizure or attempted arrest, search, or seizure in violation of [this act]is unlawful, and individuals involved must be prosecuted by the county attorney for kidnapping if an arrest or attempted arrest occurred, for trespass if a search or attempted search occurred, for theft if a seizure or attempted seizure occurred, and for any applicable homicide offense if loss of life occurred. The individuals involved must also be charged with any other applicable criminal statutes.

(2) The county attorney has no discretion not to prosecute once a claim of violation of [this act]has been made by the county sheriff or designee of the sheriff, and failure to abide by this mandate subjects the county attorney to recall by the voters and to prosecution by the attorney general for official misconduct.

(D) Invalid federal laws.

Pursuant to the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution and this state’s compact with the other states, the legislature declares that any federal law purporting to give federal employees the authority of a county sheriff in this state is not recognized by and is specifically rejected by this state and is declared to be invalid in this state.

(E) Severability.

If a part of this Section is invalid, all valid parts that are severable from the invalid part remain in effect. If a part of this Section is invalid in one or more of its applications, the part remains in effect in all valid applications that are severable from the invalid applications.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.