Haslam Doesn’t Want Legislation For Plaza Occupiers

Governor Bill Haslam says a slow, open process is the best way to make rules for protests on the plaza near Tennessee’s legislature. Occupy Nashville protesters have said they’ll stay camped there through winter.

Haslam ran into trouble in federal court earlier this fall, after trying to set a curfew for the plaza without going through the public rulemaking process. Lately some state workers have hinted lawmakers, who reconvene early next year, could instead try to push a bill that kicks out the occupiers.

But Haslam says he’d rather go through the administrative process, which can take months, to be sure and get the new rule right.

“It’s a fairly lengthy timeframe to do that, and so there might be some people that are frustrated with that. I just think this is a better way to have those discussions: What’s it going to be used for? What are the circumstances? Make sure everybody has the proper notice and timeframe to do that – It’s our position that’s the best way to approach it.”

Right now a federal ruling is letting occupiers stay camped outside the capitol. Any attempt by the state to impose new rules there will likely trigger a court fight.

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