NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A Tennessee lawmaker is pulling back on a proposal submitted to the State House. Representative Bud Hulsey of Kingsport proposed a bill that would make it illegal to wear masks, hoods, or any device that covers your face in public. Representative Hulsey spent the morning setting the record straight.
“I’ve been called every name under the duck here this morning,” said Hulsey.
He proposed a bill that would make it illegal to cover up your identity with masks, hoods, and other devices in public. Hulsey said law enforcement initially asked him to run the bill. It was supposed to be for those covering or hiding their face during demonstrations and protests, but his legal team reworded the draft.
“They thought they would run into some constitutional problems if they were that specific with just demonstrations or protests,” said Hulsey. “They drafted it in a way that was broader. The whole intent of the bill was to give law enforcement an edge in those kinds of settings to be able to inject themselves and maybe prevent a crime from happening or at least know who did it.”
Many were upset with the wording.
“It was the word ‘hoodie’ that’s in that bill, when somebody said, ‘You are going to pass a law saying that I can’t wear a hoodie. How crazy are you?’ Of course, that’s insane,” said Hulsey.
The Representative withdrew the bill to make changes. Some say even if the bill only applies during demonstrations, they would still oppose it.
“That’s one place I would wear a mask as I just said because I don’t want my character assassinated by the opposition,” said Brendon Westhoff, a University of Memphis student.
“I think that it’s kind of stupid. It’s a waste of money, a waste of time for everybody,” said William Crowe, another student.
State Senator Jon Lundberg also presented the bill in the state Senate. Hulsey said that the proposal will be withdrawn as well.
If the revised bill gets passed, Tennessee would follow behind Virginia.Earlier this week, a woman was arrested at a pro-gun rally in Richmond. The woman allegedly refused to uncover her face when the police asked her repeatedly. The deadline for Hulsey to submit his revised bill is February 5.