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From The Jackson Sun:
A bill in the state legislature that would require federal agents to obtain written permission from the local sheriff before making an arrest for a non-federal offense is ridiculous and should be voted down.
The bill has been submitted by state Sen. Stacey Campfield and state Rep. Bill Dunn, Republicans from Knoxville. It would also require federal agents to get written permission from the local sheriff before conducting a search or confiscating property.
We find it intriguing that while he is a sponsor of the bill, Dunn says he’s not ready to talk about it. Campfield says the bill is an outgrowth of a Supreme Court decision that says the sheriff should have the “ultimate decision-making power.”
“I think we need to start doing some things that show where that power lies,” Campfield said.
And there we have it. This boils down to a power play.
Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork says he is not aware of any problems with federal agents overstepping their authority or trampling state rights. In fact, he noted the excellent cooperation shown between local, state and federal authorities in the hunt that centered on Jackson this month for two fugitives from Louisiana.
Woolfork says the law would limit federal authorities at the expense of public safety.
State Sen. Roy Herron, a Democrat from Dresden, says the law would only help “every terrorist, Mafia thug, drug lord or corrupt politician” and would potentially tie the hands of the FBI in its fight against illegal drugs and terrorism.
Laws such as the one proposed by Campfield and Dunn are an embarrassment to Tennessee. They say our lawmakers would rather make political statements than address the real problems of our state.
Unemployment. Education. Crime. Those are issues that deserve the full attention of our state legislature. And they deserve it now.
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