In the weeks leading up to the primary, Steve testified in front of the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Human Rights to discuss civil rights and voter suppression.
The Memphis Flyer reported:
“The legislation under consideration was SB8005, passed by both chambers and signed into law as Public Chapter 3 by Governor Bill Lee. Essentially the measure had been filed as a response to a prolonged youth protest in Nashville that summer in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis police.
The protesters, numbering in the several thousands, gathered in the public plaza outside the Capitol to protest racial injustice, including what at that time was the continued presence in the Capitol of a bust of Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan eminence Nathan Bedford Forrest (finally removed last July).”
As one of the panelists, Steve summarized his views: “…’it’s legitimate for the state to want law and order, and for it to desire that protest to be peaceful. It’s not legitimate to pick and choose between different types of protests. Nor is it OK for the state government to take voting rights away because people are protesting state government, while not doing so for actual violent or dangerous Class A misdemeanors. Both Mulroy and Franklin had observed that the law’s severe prescribed penalties had not been suggested or applied in such cases as the 2001 anti-income tax riots at the state Capitol nor in the various disruptions of school board meetings in various parts of the state.”