MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the Tennessee legislature prepares to reconvene next week, one Memphis lawmaker has been busy trying to help set an agenda for the new session.
The problem is, that lawmaker is a Democrat and Republicans hold a supermajority at the capital.
But that’s not stopping state Senator London Lamar from forging ahead with bills dealing with gun permits, police interrogations of juveniles and faster testing of rape kits.
You have to admire Lamar’s drive, but there is virtually no chance this ultra-conservative, gun-loving legislature will consider her proposal to again require gun permits in Shelby and Davidson County. Republicans have spent the last dozen years relaxing gun laws – eventually passing legislation allowing law abiding adults 21 and over to carry a gun without a permit. I don’t believe they will change course now.
But Lamar’s bill to speed up the process of testing rape kits may have support. She wants to require DNA testing of rape kits to be completed in 30 days – a far cry from the current time frame of almost a year – without an expedited request from police. Lawmakers from both parties agree that the state’s testing process is too slow and underfunded. That may have led to the kidnapping and murder of a Memphis kindergarten teacher last September.
So kudos to Senator Lamar for putting her issues front and center. Perhaps one of them will gain traction.