Tennessee to pass law that would ban public displays of Confederate flags at public parks

A bill that would require people to wear Confederate flags in public places in Tennessee is being considered in the state Senate.

The measure is sponsored by State Sen. Tom Smith, D-Ridgefield.

The bill would make it a Class B misdemeanor for anyone to display a Confederate flag or a Confederate symbol in a public place without permission from the person or property owner.

Smith says the legislation is meant to protect all Tennesseans.

“The Confederate flag is the symbol of hatred, the symbol for racism, the word for evil, the enemy of our nation and we have to stop this.”

Smith says he will introduce the bill next week in the Tennessee Senate.

He says he plans to introduce a similar bill in the House.

“When the Supreme Court says that the right to freedom of speech is guaranteed, I think it’s time to move forward and we need to do it,” Smith said.

A coalition of groups and local businesses have sued the city of Chattanooga, claiming the city violated their First Amendment rights when it banned the Confederate flag from its city parks.