Rep. Joe Towns withdrew his resolution last night to punish the AP's Erik Schelzig for taking pictures of House Speaker Kent Williams after he fainted last week. Even Towns was smart enough to know it was time to retreat. National journalism organizations and open-government advocates were piling on the legislature for embarrassing the state yet again, this time by behaving like banana republic tyrants, and Williams himself urged Towns to drop it.
“I don’t have any problem with him trying to take a picture," the speaker told the Tennessee Report. "He was just doing his job. I’ll protect his First Amendment rights, you know, to do his job.”