League of Women Voters hosts heated senator debate

League of Women Voters hosts heated senator debate


6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Some listened, some voiced their opinions while others challenged state senators.

The League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County invited two senators to the Blount Mansion to have breakfast with some of their constituents.

But afterwards it was all business.

"I applaud you for coming out here on a Saturday morning because it shows your commitment," said State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey.

Massey, who was recently elected, and State Sen. Stacey Campfield stood in front of dozens fielding questions about new laws and upcoming legislation.

"This is all about learning, we are giving our members and the public the chance to learn," said League of Women Voters President Jamey Dobbs.

"I thought today was a great success, good turnout many elected officials in the room," said participant John Stewart.

Stewart and many others didn't shy away from asking tough questions. The most debated issue was the new law requiring a photo ID to vote. Campfield, who co-sponsored the initiative, strongly stood up for the law at the event.

"I don't think it's disenfranchising to ask for the same proof that you have to use to get a six pack of beer, a pack of cigarettes or to go see an R rated movie," said Campfield.

"The process of getting a valid photo ID is much harder for some people than what Sen. Campfield made out in the discussion and I am just concerned that the elderly and people of lower income are going to be essentially discriminated against," said Stewart.

A topic Campfield did not have to defend was the legislature's efforts to fight the prescription pill epidemic.

This year new laws will require pain clinics to go through hurdles to prove they are legitimate.

"The piece that just went into effect in January is going to be huge or I think, I hope and what you will see this year is some fine tuning," said Campfield.

Being the new kid on the block, Massey says it's all about listening and studying.

On the agenda for next week is major changes to Tennessee's congressional districts. It will be the first time in decades Republicans have controlled the process.

"It will pass, there may be some minor modifications, it doesn't affect our Knox County areas that much," said Massey.

The League of Women Voters was against the bill that requires a photo ID to vote, but now that it is law the organization says they are focusing on getting information about how voters can get a photo ID.

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