Body cams, sexting and casinos on legislature's plate this week

Feb. 22, 2017: Lawmakers punted a decision on Gov. Bill Haslam's gas tax proposal during a committee meeting Wednesday.

NASHVILLE, TENN. - After a week of flurry around Gov. Bill Haslam's broad plan to provide transportation funding for nearly 1,000 projects, a few obscure issues are expected to become popular topics this week.

Here's a look at a few big topics coming up in the legislature this week.

Body cameras

A bill that targets the records and video files collected by body cameras worn by law enforcement officers is set to come up in the Senate State & Local Government Committee at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday.


Body cameras have become a sticky topic for lawmakers about deciding what rights the public has to the video and information collected by the cameras. The bill on notice this week will exempt interactions with minors, the interior of mental health facilities and inside homes where no crime has occurred.

RELATED: Nashville mayor commits to fund body cameras

Sexting by minors

A bill sponsored by two Williamson County lawmakers, including House Majority Leader Glen Casada, R-Brentwood, and would make it illegal for minors to send messages, including texts, photos and video, that contain nudity to other minors.

The bill appears to take aim at behavior sometimes associated with mobile apps like Snapchat, which erases images and video shortly after they are displayed by the recipient.

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee is scheduled to discuss the legislation at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Bathroom bill

After a swath of protest and opinions from state officials and others, the legislature will get its first opportunity to formally discuss the controversial legislation at 3 p.m. Tuesday in a House subcommittee. The event will almost certainly draw protesters.

The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to discuss the Senate version of the bill at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Wilson County Republicans Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, and Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, would require public school students to use the bathroom associated with the gender on their birth certificate. The measure has already met some resistance from legislative leaders, and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen sent a memo to local schools directors last week that she thought the matter was best handled locally.

RELATED: Commissioner: Bathroom issues best handled locally

Distilleries serving their products

Jack Daniels tasting at Jack Daniels, anyone?

A bill sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, would allow distilleries - like Jack Daniels - to serve their products by the drink at their facilities. There are eight distilleries in the state, and at least four are expected to take part, should the measure pass, according to the bill's fiscal note.The bill is on the House State Government Committee calendar for noon on Tuesday.

Casinos in Tennessee?

Memphis Democrat Rep. Larry Miller is sponsoring a resolution to amend the state constitution to allow casinos in Tennessee.

Though the measure is a longshot to become reality, it is scheduled to come up before the House Local Government Committee at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

To become law, the measure would have to pass both chambers by a majority this year, pass by two-thirds majority in the next General Assembly that convenes in 2019 and then by a majority of the populace in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

Jake Lowary covers Tennessee politics and state government for the USA Today Network. Reach him at 615-881-7039 or follow him on Twitter @JakeLowary.

the Tennessean


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