Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The gems we find

You try to look up a law in the massive amount they pass every year and you stumble upon an interesting tid-bit.

Seems that the Tennessee house speaker JAMES O. "JIMMY" NAIFEH has decided that he is not just the speaker, but he has Boss Hog powers. Regretfully the law backs him on this issue.
Republicans threatened to walk out of the state House of Representatives last Wednesday, prompting Speaker Jimmy Naifeh to promise the arrest of any legislator to do so.

The argument began over a House Democratic resolution criticizing President Bush and Congress for the rising national debt. The measure, while controversial, does nothing more than convey the message to congress and various other officials.
"I really don't want us to start down this road," Hargett said. "I'm also going to vote no. … It's taking a great deal of self-restraint, quite frankly, for me to not ask several of you to just walk out the doors right now … we could just let the people who wanted to vote on the bill pass the bill and the rest of us just go stand out in the hall and talk about what resolution we're going to pass next to go to Washington."

Naifeh (D-Covington) responded with an open threat to have anyone leaving the chamber arrested.

"Might I remind this body that if you willfully absent yourself from session you can be guilty of a felony and I will send the highway patrol after you," Naifeh said. "Let there be no mistake about what I will do."
Note that they could be guilty of a felony according to him, then the police would be sent out. Screw due process. Naifah has been known recently for the power games he plays with his phallic like gavel, with Blake at the Nashville Files keeping this guy under a watchful eye.

Now I wondered what law they had to force the members to stay. The Tennessee law site is pretty well laid out and I found this.
2-18-102. Quorum - Vote - Adoption of rules of order - Power to compel attendance.
(a) A majority of the members of each house shall constitute a quorum. The speaker of the senate shall preside.
(b) Every member shall have one (1) vote, and the majority of the votes shall prevail on all questions to be determined by the joint convention.
(c) The joint session may be adjourned from time to time and rules of order made by it may be adopted and altered.
(d) A minority of the members of the joint convention shall have the power to compel the attendance of absentees by arrest on warrant issued and signed by the speaker of the senate, executed by the sergeant-at-arms of the senate or by any person authorized by the joint convention.
[Acts 1972, ch. 740, § 1; T.C.A., § 2-1802.]
So it looks like her could have had him arrested if he left. How stalinistic of him.

But the search pulled up several other unrelated laws that involved arrest and one leaped out as it also involved arrest.
7-3-505. Failure to produce identification - Arrest - Release - Bond.
When any police or peace officer of a metropolitan government or any employee of a metropolitan government authorized to enforce ordinances, laws or regulations of the metropolitan government or charged with the duty to serve civil or criminal process, asks the violator for identification for the purpose of issuing a citation or civil warrant to that person, the failure to produce or give such identification shall be grounds for the violator to be arrested by an officer authorized to make arrests pursuant to title 40, chapter 7. In such event, the violator shall be arrested, transported to the police station or jail, booked, photographed and fingerprinted for identification purposes and, thereafter, shall be served with the citation or civil warrant and released from custody without being required to post a bond.
[Acts 1993, ch. 335, § 5.]
Ordinances. Such as the guy who writes you a ticket for a noisy dog, or your grass may need mowing, or worse, you don't separate your trash in a recycling area. According to this they can ask for your national ID card, but it is more like a demand if you do not have the option to say no, and if you do not show it to the shrub police they could have you arrested.

During the Hiibel case they had mentioned states that required showing ID on demand. I was rather proud that Tennessee was not one of them. Turns out we have our own little gulag here in middle Tennessee called Nashville.

Heartless Libertarian pointed out the law I quoted from may not be the corect one. I checked out what "joint convention" represented and it was not as close as I thought. I did some more checking and found this
Section 11. The Senate and House of Representatives, when assembled, shall each choose a speaker and its other officers; be judges of the qualifications and election of its members, and sit upon its own adjournments from day to day. Not less than two-thirds of all the members to which each house shall be entitled shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized, by law, to compel the attendance of absent members.
This is a direct quote from the Tennessee constitution of 1796, 1835, and the adopted constitution of 1870. It sounds like it was to be used to force member who were out to come back for votes that were required. This was after checking under the words "arrest", "compel", and "attendance".

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