Joe Towns Goes Upbeat as the General Assembly Ends

But not all is in jest as session comes to an end.


NASHVILLE β€” This is how to end a session of the Tennessee General Assembly β€”one that had the usual amount of partisan acrimony, personal rivalries, and legislative disappointments (q.v., in related article, to be posted).

How's about having state Rep. Joe Towns (D-Memphis) deliver to a full House his latest (amply ad-libbed)
rendition of Louis Armstrong's "It's a Wonderful World?"

This is hhow it looked and sounded Wednesday night in the waning hours of the 2015 legislative session:

That wasn't the end of last-minute hi-jinks. Spearheaded by state Rep. Antonio (2-Shay) Parkinson, members of the Shelby County House delegation responded to a resolution naming the Barrett rifle as the state's official firearm with tongue-in-cheek resolutions of their own, naming FedEx, AutoZone, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Memphis Grizzlies as, respectively, the state's official carrier, supplier, museum, and athletic team.

'2-Shay' asks Rep. Steve McManus to sign on to his tongue-in-cheek naming resolution. - JB
  • JB
  • '2-Shay' asks Rep. Steve McManus to sign on to his tongue-in-cheek naming resolution.
It wasn't all in fun. While these resolutions were presented in jest, the naming of the Barrett rifle as the official Tennessee firearm was done for real, with Parkinson and state Rep. Susan Linn (R-Old Hickory), among others, protesting this giving of the state nod to a single manufacturer.

Ad ding to the resentment, the Barrett-rifle naming resolution had occurred in the wake of an earlier, barely defeated effort to name the Bible as the state's official book and the passage on Wednesday of a bill abolishing obstacles to the possession of firearms by people with a history of mental illness.

State Rep. Larry Miller (D-Memphis) and state Rep. Mike Stewart (D-Nashville) had been among those β€” a minority in the voting β€” who professed themselves stupefied by this latest firearms bill.


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