(USNewsMag.com) – Tennessee Republicans are taking a stand against human trafficking, appearing at a press conference on Tuesday during a controversial special session of Tennessee lawmakers focusing on the issue alongside gun control and mental health.
The press conference was organized by an advocacy group of conservatives called the Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition. Taking place in the Supreme Court chamber in Nashville, the conference featured multiple Tennessee Republican lawmakers from both the Senate and House.
The executive director of the advocacy group, Aaron Gulbransen, called human trafficking “the scourge of our time.”
The purpose of the conference was to discuss legislation pertaining to mandated annual reports from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) as well as raise awareness about the problem of human trafficking in “The Volunteer State. House Majority Leader William Lamberth said the issue is one that isn’t dragged “out into the light” enough and that the TBI, law enforcement, and lawmakers must “work together… to identify every single community” where human trafficking is taking place and “then allocate needs” there.
On Tuesday, Senate Bill 7088 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson is in support of the bill, stating that the government is “going to war” with anyone engaged in human trafficking in Tennessee. The bill will require the TBI “to submit a report” on “crimes and trends” of human trafficking based on their data, current programs, and activities.
Meanwhile, left-wing protesters descended on the Tennessee Capitol the same day to continue their push for gun control legislation, which ramped up after the March massacre that left three staff members and three 9-year-old children dead at a Christian school in Nashville. The Tennessee House and Senate were holding special sessions to discuss red-flag gun laws, mental health, and new conduct rules for members.
Most of the session ended up focusing on debating the new rules, which House Democrats believe will restrict their free speech, while Republicans feel some guidelines are needed about how members should conduct themselves in the House and Senate. The debate was sparked after two representatives were expelled (and then later reinstated) for organizing and holding a protest demanding more gun control.
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