Last week, Governor Bill Lee signed a bill into law that criminalizes certain types of protest -- and could strip protester's of their voting rights.
HB 8005 makes overnight protests a federal offense, by stating that those who camp illegally on state property between 10:00pm and 7:00am will face a “class E” felony -- which is punishable by up to six years in prison. In Tennessee convicted felons also lose their right to vote.
The legislation comes after protesters occupied the plaza in front of the state capitol building for months, asking for a meeting with the Gov. Lee about matters of systemic racism and police brutality.
The bill also increased fines and jail time for those who assault first responders, block highway access to emergency vehicles, and engage in aggravated rioting.
The American Civil Liberties Union had asked Lee to veto the legislation, saying it attacks free speech rights. The story has made national headlines, with many elected officials and activists calling the law a national embarrassment.