Monday, March 24, 2008

Republican lawmakers want more secrecy

Senator Ketron wants to allow anonymous complaints against businesses who hire illegals and Senator Finney wants to make secret the contact information for State Employees.

What the heck is going on? Senator's Kyle is absolutely correct, you have a right to confront your accuser, this is basic civil liberties 101. And making State Employee contact information secret? This would make investigation of public corruption practically impossible.


Sen. Raymond Finney said his proposal is aimed mostly at state employees.

"It's a concept of whether we protect our employees against harassment or potential harm if an irate citizen tries to take out their frustration on an employee," said Finney, R-Maryville.

But Herron argued that the measure casts too wide a net by including elected officials.

"Every county commissioner, every county official, every city councilman, every mayor, every state official, every one of them will now have this information confidential," Herron said. "The idea, I think, is not ideal."

Finney took the unusual step of refusing requests from three Democratic senators to delay a vote before finally agreeing to a fourth request by Republican Sen. Tim Burchett, of Knoxville.

"I don't believe that we understood fully the implications of this," Burchett said.


The proposal to allow elected officials to anonymously lodge complaints against businesses drew the ire of Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle, of Memphis.

"The right to confront your accuser is a pretty basic American right," said Kyle. "If someone is saying that you are committing a crime and you're not allowed to know who does that, that's pretty serious."

Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro and sponsor of the anonymity measure, said he's concerned about retaliation from business owners.

"Because if you do turn someone in who broke the law … then they (can) come by and shoot up your house, or torch your house, or kidnap your kids, because you did something that put them out of business because they broke the law," he said.