State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) joined host Michael Patrick Leahy on the newsmaker line on Wednesday’s episode of The Tennessee Star Report to discuss the special session Gov. Bill Lee formally called in a proclamation last night.
Cepicky broke down the steps ahead and shared his thoughts about the fate of Lee’s “Red Flag” law aspirations.
Michael Patrick Leahy: 6:18 a.m. – we are joined on a newsmaker line right now by our very good friend, State Representative Scott Cepicky.
Good morning, Scott. How are you today?
Scott Cepicky: Good morning, Michael. How’s everybody doing today?
Michael Patrick Leahy: Well, I was doing fine until I saw the governor last night release this proclamation for a special session, which will be held Monday, a week from Monday at 4:00 p.m. in the state Capitol.
What’s your reaction to this laundry list of 18 things that he wants you to pass in a special session?
Scott Cepicky: Well, Michael, the first thing I wanna say is I swore an oath to uphold the constitution of Tennessee and pass no bill or vote for any bill that is injurious to the citizens of the state. So I take that very seriously and all of these proposals that are going to be made.
We’ll be bounced off that oath of office that I took and swore an oath to the people of Tennessee. There are some things in here that are troubling that we’re gonna have to be very, very cautious on and make sure that we understand exactly what the intention of the bill is.
But when it comes right back down to it, Michael, if I believe in my vote to the people that I represent, if I believe it is injurious to the people of Tennessee or restricts their rights, as it is presented by the constitution, I will be a firm ‘no’ vote.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Well, the other thing, too, about this that’s kind of odd is, he said the reason for this special session – the reason he’s got a hold this on August 21st – is in reaction to the covenant killings by 28 year old Audre Elizabeth Hale, and yet the manifesto that she wrote and the writings have not been released by either the Metro National Police Department or the FBI.
We are litigants in that case.
We’ve asked that the law be followed and this information be released. My question to you: how can you pass legislation that would stop future Covenant killings? How can you do that if you don’t have a copy of the manifesto?
Scott Cepicky: Oh, I agree with you 100 percent, Michael. I said that from the very beginning.
It’s not only getting the manifesto and the toxicology report, but getting testimony from law enforcement, from psychologists, from medical professionals to tell us what exactly that manifesto and the state of mind and that individual means, so that we can pass effective legislation.
I think what you’re looking at here is more of a shotgun effect instead of being laser-focused on what the issue is.
And that’s why it’s very dangerous for us – we have to make sure that we are actually coming up to solve a problem that we know what the problem is.
You said it yourself: we’re kind of walking into this blind trying to figure out what the problem is. And I think there’s enough of us up there, Michael, that I have faith that we will curtail anything that’s going to violate any type of constitutional rights.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Well, I have confidence in you and the conservatives there in the Tennessee General Assembly.
There are huge political pressures here that Governor Lee is encouraging from the Left. And in fact, we do anticipate that there are gonna be a lot of very loud, very angry left-wingers. Some of whom, from our previous reporting at The Tennessee Star, we believe are likely to be armed as you walk into the Tennessee General Assembly.
My sense on this is this is gonna put you, as a legislator, in a position where you may have concerns about your personal safety. Are you concerned about your personal safety?
Scott Cepicky: Well, yes, I am. I mean, I saw how it was at the end of the session you know, this spring, and we know that. The Left is going to be targeting Nashville on the 21st to try to push their agenda. I think, Michael, you’ve got to have faith in God that he has put people in these offices that will stand on the wall to defend liberty and freedom.
Myself and others, we, we will be on that wall, and we will be pushing back as hard as we possibly can, and I believe in the end that we will prevail.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Article III, section 9 of the Tennessee State Constitution says that the governor may, on extra extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly by proclamation in which he shall state specifically the purposes for which they are to convene.
Well, he stated 18 specific purposes. Typically, in an extraordinary special session, the governor will have already drafted legislation, and 18 is an unusually high number. For this, usually, there’s only one or two.
The legislation will have been put in front of the legislators. They’ll look at it; they won’t go through a lot of hearings.
They’ll just, you know, pass it quickly. Have you seen any proposed legislation from the governor on these 18 topics?
Scott Cepicky: No, I have not.
I know that there’s been a working group that they’ve been working towards legislation. I know that a lot of the mental health facilities and mental health for people to gain access to has been one of the main things that myself and others have been talking about.
Another thing that we have a big concern with Michael is school safety, and especially with Metro Nashville and Adrian Battle, not wanting to put SROs into the elementary schools. We are going to possibly look at a change to the SRO bill, the school safety bill, to allow Chief Drake or head law enforcement under the, under the guidance of school safety to override the superintendent and put SROs in those schools, we’ve got to protect these kids.
Michael Patrick Leahy: One of these 18 topics that he wants you to address has to do with the problem of human trafficking.
Is the Tennessee General Assembly going to undertake legislation in this special session to address the problem of human trafficking?
And how can you do that without addressing the problem of the open border between the U.S. and Mexico?
Scott Cepicky: Well, that’s the problem we have. If we would get more cooperation from the federal government doing their job, protecting our borders, it would make our job a lot easier in protecting our borders in Tennessee.
But we swore an oath to protect the people of Tennessee, regardless of what the federal government does. And I think you’re going to see stiffer penalties. I think you’re going to see more law enforcement looking to stamp this out in our communities. I know you have a gentleman that comes on the radio with you that talks about this a lot.
That we agree, we have got to stamp this out in Tennessee to make Tennessee a place where if you’re gonna deal in human trafficking, it’s going to be very, very painful to you as a criminal.
Michael Patrick Leahy: So Monday, the special session convenes, the governor wants a laundry list of 18 issues addressed in legislation.
You’ve not seen any of that proposed legislation, even though a working group may be working on it. How long do you anticipate this special session will last, and will it accomplish anything?
Scott Cepicky: Well, I’ve been through five of these now, and normally they last three to four days, so I would assume, barring any problems up there, we would come in on Monday night, we’d probably be out by Thursday or Friday.
The main concern I have, Michael, is making sure that there is transparency to the people of Tennessee and making sure that people like you in the press have the ability to see this legislation and ask the proper questions along with us. So, it’ll be very interesting the next couple weeks here to see where we go, but I’m sure we’ll be starting to see this legislation roll out very quickly, especially the stuff from the Left, especially the “Tennessee Three.”
Michael Patrick Leahy: So, do you think that Governor Lee’s trying to steamroll the Tennessee General Assembly on these 18 issues?
Scott Cepicky: No, I don’t believe that at all. I think he’s thrown everything out there that his group can possibly think of, and then it’s up to the general assembly to take the lead. The General Assembly has to lead on this, Michael, not the governor.
We are the elected body that passes the laws, not the governor. I think the governor has opened up the avenue for us to have discussions about these things, but when push comes to shove, the people elected to the General Assembly to pass the laws for them.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Scott Cepicky, state representative from Murray County, former teammate for a while of Michael Jordan playing minor league baseball.
Scott, thanks so much for joining us today. Have a great day.
Scott Cepicky: All right.
Michael Patrick Leahy: We’ll be back with more Crom Carmichael joins us after this.
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