Gov. Lee to sign tougher penalties for some protests


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers questions during a news conference Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee says he will sign a bill that toughens penalties on some protests in response to continued demonstrations in the state and nationwide over racial injustice.

The Republican told reporters Thursday that on balance, the bill ensures lawlessness doesn’t occur amid protests.

He said he would have crafted some components differently, including the increased penalty on those who illegally camp on state property to a Class E felony.

He said the requirement that law enforcement offer an initial warning on camping violations strengthened the bill.

He said he will also sign bills to limit liability for businesses sued over COVID-19 and to expand telehealth offerings. 

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