NASHVILLE — Tennessee lawmakers ended the 107th General Assembly by signing into law a bill that addressed an issue which dominated the assembly discussions: debates over downtown running and Gov. Bill Haslam’s efforts to stop it.
Upon Monday’s sales school incident of a 40 student pile up on the steps of War Memorial, the governor called for a bill to be filed that would make it illegal for any running to take place in any part of the downtown area, especially across the street from the state capitol. The incident was all too familiar to many who witnessed last year’s incident involving a visiting Wisconsin state senator.
Seventeen student managers including Matt Atchison were treated for minor injuries, while rescue workers, ambulances, and firetrucks forced closures to surrounding downtown streets. Many are attributing the swiftness of the bill passing to the incident’s street closures which infuriated lawmakers by causing delays in their voting against other proposed bills that would allow grocery stores to sell wine and motorcycle riders to have a choice in wearing helmets. However, the downtown running bill became law along with the saggy pants bill which made it illegal for students to wear saggy pants, because honestly what could be more important for lawmakers to focus on than how teens wear their pants.