Rep. Brenda Gilmore's resolution expressing regret for slavery and segregation caused a ruckus in the House today, with black and white lawmakers trading accusations. "Mr. Chairman, may I roll this bill?" Gilmore asked more than once as the debate raged. But the committee's chair, Curry Todd, insisted on berating Gilmore for talking to the media about her resolution and putting its opponents on the spot.
"You've done things that I am very disappointed in," Todd told the Nashville Democrat. "I was told by members of your caucus that this was not going to be a media circus."
"This is a grown woman. She can go out and have a press conference anywhere she wants to," Rep. Ulysses Jones shot back. To the resolution's opponents, he said, "What Representative Gilmore is doing is she's recognizing a dark time in our history. ... You're putting your heads in the sand like it didn't happen. It happened. It happened. No one is pointing the finger at anybody. It's acknowledgment."
Rep. Larry Miller said, "I'm quite surprised and shocked by things that are being said by both sides. It's amazing to me that we would take a simple resolution and bring out true colors, if I can just say that. It's absolutely amazing, somewhat embarrassing. It's shocking, amazing, surprising, what other adjectives can I come up with. ... I guess this is a good thing because now I'm beginning to know how people think in the deepness of their souls."
Gilmore asked again to postpone the vote on her resolution. To which, Curry replied, "I wanted everybody to have their opportunity to talk about it. I will honor her request but I want to give everybody the opportunity to hear what's got to be said." The committee eventually put off the resolution.