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Despite Council quarrels, positive things are happening in the City and Cumberland County. Cumberland County Sheriff Casey Cox and City Police Chief Rod Shoap, during a presentation at Thursday’s City Council meeting, announced that crime rates are down and arrests are up. Chief Shoap said that according to statistics, the crime rate within the City is down by 15%, the lowest in 10 years. Shoap also added that the recent community visioning meetings have resulted in unexpected participation in law enforcement from the community. Shoap noted that in addition to a renewed enforcement effort with the Sheriff, the visioning sessions have resulted in a partnership with citizens.
A motion by councilmember Jesse Kerley to request an apology from fellow councilman Pete Souza passed with 3 ayes, 1 no and one abstention. Initially the motion was ruled out of order by Mayor Mayberry, who ruled that complaints against fellow councilmember’s actions or behavior should be lodged with the city attorney or the personnel board. Kerley then moved to overturn that ruling, which passed in a 3-2 vote. During the discussion, Mayor Mayberry encouraged the council to move forward with the positive things that had transpired previously in the meeting. After a 5 minute recess to consult with the city attorney, Mayberry called for a vote on the question. Kerley’s original motion to request Souza’s apology was passed with Kerley, Harris and Wyatt voting for, Mayberry voting no and Sousa abstaining. Souza announced after the vote that the request for an apology was denied.
The leaders of the state House and Senate are moving to end a total gun ban at the legislative office complex.
Sen. Ron Ramsey of Blountville and Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville, the Republican speakers of the Senate and House, said Thursday that they want the begin allowing people with handgun carry permits to be armed within the Legislative Plaza.
Ramsey said he had wanted to make the change at the start of the year, but that the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which runs security at the facility, wanted more time to make logistical changes.
It's unclear whether the change would require another checkpoint to be set up at the underground tunnel to the Capitol.
About 536,000 people have state-issued handgun carry permits in Tennessee.
Authorities from DeKalb County and the FBI are looking for a gunman who robbed the Liberty State Bank Wednesday morning.
Authorities said a person, believed to be a man, ran into the bank at around 8am Wednesday, approached a teller and displayed a weapon.
The teller complied with the robber's demands and the gunman got away with an undetermined amount of cash.
Authorities described the robber as a white male, five feet ten inches tall, wearing a red hoodie.
A bid to freeze tuition at public colleges and universities and colleges in Tennessee is advancing in the state Senate.
The Senate Education Committee voted 9-0 in favor of the measure sponsored by Sen. Dolores Gresham of Somerville on Wednesday.
Under the bill, students would pay the same tuition for all four years in college. And any major tuition hike would have to gain unanimous approval by the school's governing board.
According to the non-profit College Board, the 54 percent increase over five years at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville was the highest rate among flagship public universities in the country.
State higher education officials have long blamed steep tuition hikes on the shrinking share of state funding to cover growing costs at state schools.