After the Tennessee legislature twice failed to advance resolutions this year to condemn white nationalists and neo-Nazis, an Illinois lawmaker has taken the resolution's text and filed it for himself.
But in addition to asking for the Illinois General Assembly to denounce neo-Nazis, Democratic Rep. Lou Lang's resolution specifically calls out the House of Representatives in Tennessee.
The Illinois House resolution filed this week alleges that the Tennessee House of Representatives "failed to summon sufficient moral courage and basic decency to place itself on the record against such a sinister and pernicious ideology infecting the body politic of the United States."
It also states that the House in Tennessee had "been cowed by the growing influence of white nationalists and neo-Nazis."
The resolution goes on to say that the Illinois legislature wishes to adopt the full text of the initial resolution introduced by Tennessee state Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville.
Clemmons' resolution died in a House subcommittee in mid-March after he failed to receive a second motion to discuss the resolution.QA
Earlier this month, House Republican Caucus Chairman Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, sponsored a nearly identical version of Clemmons' resolution that omitted a paragraph urging law enforcement to recognize and pursue white nationalist groups as "domestic terrorist organizations."
He then withdrew it from consideration, citing concerns from other Republicans about the text of the resolution.
Tennessee lawmaker now reaching out to other states to pass neo-Nazi resolution
Speaking to USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee on Thursday, Lang said that his resolution, filed Tuesday, has already gained to Republican co-sponsors. He expects "it's going to pass quite easily."
"I thought it was breathtaking that the Tennessee legislature couldn't find it in their heart and soul to turn back the kind of thinking that comes out of those two groups of people," Lang said, referring to neo-Nazis and white nationalists. "I wanted to use the Tennessee experience to make the statement in Illinois ... to show the state of Tennessee how it’s done."
When reached on Thursday, Clemmons said he had spoken with Lang earlier in the day and thanked him for introducing the resolution.
"I've been encouraging others to do the same," Clemmons said, adding that he is starting the process by reaching out to legislators in New Jersey, Texas and California about filing similar resolutions.
"This is something that has gotten national attention, obviously for reasons that are unfortunate for the state of Tennessee, but I have not given up hope that we’ll pass this resolution an I plan to introduce this resolution again next session."
Reach Natalie Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @natalie_allison.