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Tennessee resolution denouncing white nationalist, neo-Nazi groups fails

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By ADRIAN MOJICA, WZTV

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - A Tennessee legislator says he can't even begin to imagine why a resolution denouncing white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups didn't even make it to discussion.

Representative John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) says he wrote HJR0583 just after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that claimed the life of Heather Heyer.

Clemmons says he even modeled the language after statements made by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"I used the same language Sessions used. He stated the violence was domestic terrorism."

The resolution would have made it clear Tennessee denounces bigotry by white nationalists and neo-Nazis, stating "the great State of Tennessee, and its people will not tolerate discrimination or hate in any form or manifestation and that we stand united with resolve to promote and ensure equality for all Tennesseans."

It would have also urged law enforcement agencies to recognize the groups as terrorist organizations and pursue criminal elements of the groups in the same way other terror groups are investigated.

However, the resolution failed in the House State Government Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Bill Sanderson (R-Kenton). Clemmons says fellow Democrat Darren Jernigan motioned to have the resolution discussed but Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) and Bob Ramsey (R-Maryville) sat quiet and did not second the motion.

With the motion failing to get a second, it was never brought to discussion and the committee moved on to the next item on the agenda.

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"Generally, when something like that happens it's because everyone got together and planned it before-hand," Clemmons says. "It was insinuated to me the Chairman told them to kill the bill by not seconding. Why, I can't begin to imagine."

Clemmons says he can't understand why the resolution would give pause or be considered too controversial.

"What example does this set for children when their own state won't denounce acts of violence by hate groups? We have blown a tremendous opportunity."

Although the resolution is essentially dead, the committee could still motion to reconsider and bring it back up for discussion.

WZTV has reached out to Ramsey and Hulsey's office and has not received a response. Any responses will be added to this article.

See the full resolution below or CLICK HERE:

HJR0583 by Anonymous GF8PPILW5 on Scribd