Senate panel clips bills designed to get at root of mass shootings – Tennessee Lookout

The Senate Judiciary Committee turned into the Grim Reaper Tuesday, killing a long list of bills designed to respond to The Covenant School mass shooting while allowing only three to pass — setting the tone for the rest of the special session.

The panel’s decision to table 52 other bills, many dealing with juvenile justice, red-flag proposals and mental health reporting requirements are effectively dead for the session, according to Judiciary Committee Chairman Todd Gardenhire.

Measures that passed — and could be the only ones that become law this session — came from Gov. Bill Lee’s office: Senate Bill 7085 dealing with safe storage of weapons and allowing sales tax breaks on safes and gunlocks; SB 7086 codifying the governor’s executive order on gun background checks, which requires court clerks to notify the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation about felony convictions within three business days instead of 30; and SB7088, requiring the TBI to make an annual report on human trafficking.

The full Senate could take vote on them Wednesday or Thursday. 

House bills that weren’t considered Thursday won’t be taken up by the Senate Judiciary and won’t be sent to the Senate floor, according to Gardenhire.

“The House is the House and the Senate is the Senate,” he said.

Sen. Jeff Yarbro, a Nashville Democrat, said afterward the meeting had been carefully plotted.

“This seems clearly orchestrated to do the absolute bare minimum, and it’s clear that the Legislature isn’t in a position to take gun safety seriously right now, and it’s damn depressing,” Yarbro said.

Asked about that comment, Gardenhire said, “Sen. Yarbro is always welcome to his conspiracy theories, and I’ll let him speak for himself.”

The Chattanooga Republican said the other bills on Tuesday’s calendar deserved a “proper hearing,” which would have required more time than is being allowed in this week’s special session.

Earlier in the day, Bishop Aaron Marble, who led a group of ministers at the legislative office building Tuesday, expressed disappointment in the Legislature’s actions but maintained some semblance of hope.

“We’re committed to understanding that the road to justice and freedom is a long one,” Marble said.