Nashville DA Glenn Funk can refuse to enforce the transgender bathroom sign law, lawyers say

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk is not backing down on his decision to not enforce the controversial transgender bathroom sign legislation once it becomes law July 1.

This is despite backlash from Republican lawmakers including East Tennessee Representative John Ragan who said the action from Funk is “offensive.”

The law requires businesses to notify the public if their bathrooms are inclusive.

“Every person is welcomed and valued in Nashville. Enforcement of transphobic and homophobic laws is contrary to those values. My office will not promote hate,” Funk said in a letter.

Abby Rubenfeld, a Nashville Civil Rights attorney with Rubenfeld Law Office said, “General Funk’s response was completely appropriate, I mean he has limited resources, he has to make priorities about enforcement of laws and that’s just the accepted part of his job.”

There’s been continued outcry from Republican lawmakers who say it’s their job to write the laws and its Funk’s job to enforce them.

“The only thing, I think that’s different about this situation is — it’s a controversial law and then the district attorney has taken a more blanket approach,” said Melanie Wilson, Lindsay Young Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Funk also said district attorneys have “discretion of when and under what circumstances to enforce laws enacted by the legislative branch and signed by the executive.”

Something Wilson, a former federal prosecutor, says is correct.

“Even in Tennessee there are Attorney General opinions, there’s a statue that gives broad unfettered discretion to the prosecution to pick and choose and I think it’s likely that the district attorney is going to be upheld in exercising his discretion,” Wilson said.

Tennessee is the first state to require such signage, something Rubenfeld says will be struck down if challenged in court.

“I mean these laws are unconstitutional and our legislature should quit wasting time,” Rubenfeld said. “I mean we have an attorney general who could’ve given them an opinion before they passed it that it was unconstitutional and it’s unnecessary, that’s the more important point to me.”

It’s unclear how the law will be enforced or if any other district attorney will also refuse to enforce the law.

News 2 reached out to Rep. John Ragan for comment and received an emailed statement in part saying Funk is acting outside of his legal authority.

District Attorney General Funk maintains that he has complete discretion to declare that he, alone, “has the discretion to decide when and under what circumstances to enforce laws enacted by the legislature and signed by the executive branch.” If this sounds like an individual is exercising power that “is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind,” that’s because it certainly

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Nashville DA won’t enforce new bathroom sign law

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville’s top prosecutor said Monday that he will not enforce a newly enacted law that requires businesses and government facilities open to the public to post a sign if they let transgender people use multiperson bathrooms and other facilities associated with their gender identity.

“I believe every person is welcome and valued in Nashville,” Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk said in a statement. “Enforcement of transphobic or homophobic laws is contrary to those values. My office will not promote hate.”

Funk’s office clarified that this refusal to enforce “transphobic or homophobic laws” specifically included the first-of-its kind measure signed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee earlier this month.

The move, along with the flurry of other anti-transgender laws approved by Lee, has sparked alarm among LGBTQ advocates. Many have decried the latest measure as discriminatory and said the required signs are “offensive and humiliating.” The law will go into effect July 1.

However, questions have remained about how specifically it will be enforced.

Republican Rep. Tim Rudd, who sponsored the legislation, told a legislative committee in March that the bill “does not provide any fines or penalties at this point,” and the amended version passed by that committee became law. Rudd has also said that the law could be enforced by people filing lawsuits or district attorneys asking a judge to force businesses to comply.

Yet Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference President Amy Weirich argued that the language in the new law “doesn’t speak to anything having to do with enforcement.”

“The way it’s written, I don’t see anything that allows or provides me the responsibility or right to go to civil court and ask a judge to enforce it,” said Weirich, Shelby County’s district attorney.

Lee did not have a strong reaction when pressed by reporters Monday on Funk’s refusal to enforce the bathroom sign law.

“I think his decision will be his own,” he said. “I signed the law; it’s his decision how he wants to respond to it.”

Lee’s response was markedly different than when Funk announced in September he would not enforce a new law that required abortion providers to tell their patients it may be possible to reverse the action of abortion medication half-way through the procedure. Funk said at the time he believed the law was unconstitutional.

Without naming Funk, Lee’s office tweeted that, “A district attorney purposefully disregarding current, duly enacted laws by the legislature is a grave matter that threatens our justice system and has serious consequences.”

___

Associated Press writer Jonathan Mattise contributed to this report.

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Nashville DA won’t enforce new bathroom sign law | National News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville’s top prosecutor said Monday that he will not enforce a newly enacted law that requires businesses and government facilities open to the public to post a sign if they let transgender people use multiperson bathrooms and other facilities associated with their gender identity.

“I believe every person is welcome and valued in Nashville,” Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk said in a statement. “Enforcement of transphobic or homophobic laws is contrary to those values. My office will not promote hate.”

Funk’s office clarified that this refusal to enforce “transphobic or homophobic laws” specifically included the first-of-its kind measure signed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee earlier this month.

The move, along with the flurry of other anti-transgender laws approved by Lee, has sparked alarm among LGBTQ advocates. Many have decried the latest measure as discriminatory and said the required signs are “offensive and humiliating.” The law will go into effect July 1.

However, questions have remained about how specifically it will be enforced.

Republican Rep. Tim Rudd, who sponsored the legislation, told a legislative committee in March that the bill “does not provide any fines or penalties at this point,” and the amended version passed by that committee became law. Rudd has also said that the law could be enforced by people filing lawsuits or district attorneys asking a judge to force businesses to comply.

Yet Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference President Amy Weirich argued that the language in the new law “doesn’t speak to anything having to do with enforcement.”

“The way it’s written, I don’t see anything that allows or provides me the responsibility or right to go to civil court and ask a judge to enforce it,” said Weirich, Shelby County’s district attorney.

Lee did not have a strong reaction when pressed by reporters Monday on Funk’s refusal to enforce the bathroom sign law.

“I think his decision will be his own,” he said. “I signed the law; it’s his decision how he wants to respond to it.”

Lee’s response was markedly different than when Funk announced in September he would not enforce a new law that required abortion providers to tell their patients it may be possible to reverse the action of abortion medication half-way through the procedure. Funk said at the time he believed the law was unconstitutional.

Without naming Funk, Lee’s office tweeted that, “A district attorney purposefully disregarding current, duly enacted laws by the legislature is a grave matter that threatens our justice system and has serious consequences.”

———

Associated Press writer Jonathan Mattise contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Light Up Your Kitchen With This Central Perk Neon Sign From ‘Friends’

Halloween is right around the corner—which means it’s officially time to bring out the jack-o’-lanterns, watch scary movies, buy your costume(s), and hang up your festive decorations. Although there are thousands of decorations to choose from, you don’t have to blow your budget while decking out your house or apartment in honor of the spooky season this year. With a little guidance, you’ll find plenty of ways to create the perfect ambiance at home without going for broke. (And best of all, you can put the money you saved toward extra Halloween candy to stash away.)

From giant spiders to hanging ghosts and lawn decorations, here are a few of our favorite props under $25.

1. Halloween Pillow Covers (4-Pack); $17

These adorable Halloween-themed pillowcases make the perfect accessory for any couch, sofa, or mattress. Made with thick linen fabric, these are durable, sturdy, and designed to last for seasons to come. (Tip: To prevent the zipper from breaking, fold the pillow in half before inserting.)

Buy it: Amazon

2. Black Lace Spiderweb Fireplace Mantle; $12

This versatile spiderweb prop is made with 100-percent polyester, and its knit lace spiderweb pattern adds a spooky touch to any home. Display it on your doorway, across your fireplace mantel, or atop your table. (It also makes a great backdrop for Halloween photo ops.)

Buy it: Amazon

3. Statement Halloween Signs; $16

These festive, statement-making banners come pre-assembled, making them incredibly easy to install. They’re also weather-resistant and washable for both outdoor and indoor use. Use tape, push-pins, or weights to prevent the signs from blowing away.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Jack Skellington and Sally Plush Dolls; $23 (Each)

Celebrate your favorite holiday with a pair of adorable Jack Skellington and Sally plush dolls from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack stands at 28 inches tall, while Sally is a bit shorter at 21 inches. Set them up on your sofa or against the window sill for all to see.

Buy them: Disney Shop (Jack and Sally)

5. Halloween Zombie Groundbreaker; $22

This spooktacular zombie lawn decoration is sure to scare all of your friends, family, and neighbors alike. Made with a combination of latex, plastic, and fabric, this durable Halloween prop is sure to last for years to come.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Hanging Ghost Decoration; $14

Drape this handmade, 14-foot-long hanging ghost decoration over your porch, doorway, or window. You can also hang it outdoors over a tree or a (very tall) bush. And, since it comes pre-assembled, you won’t have to waste time constructing it yourself.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Two-Piece Hanging Ghost Set; $17

This pair of ghosts adds a whimsical touch to any home. While they’re not “scary,” per se, they certainly are adorable. Display them in your front yard, on your porch, on a lamppost, or a tree. To hang, simply tie the ribbons and bend the wires, arms, and tails.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Pumpkin String Lights; $19

Not only are these solar-powered, 33-foot-long

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A Sign of Home Improvement Market Health

It seems just about everyone is staying busy at home during the pandemic by tackling DIY home improvement projects. And to do all of those home improvement projects, we need tools! This might be why business is booming for Harbor Freight.



a close up of a sign


© JIM WATSON / Contributor/Getty Images


Harbor Freight Is Opening New Stores

The discount tool and equipment retailer has been opening new stores across the country at a rapid rate. Harbor Freight boasts more than 1,050 stores in almost every state, and they are currently considering hundreds of new locations across the U.S., according to their website. Hiring is up as well, with 2,800 current openings. The jobs feature mostly retail positions, but corporate positions are also available in web development, accounting, human resources and marketing.

The quick expansion of Harbor Freight is an accurate representation of the home improvement industry as a whole. According to the Home Improvement Research Institute, 2020 has seen an explosion in home improvement spending. The latest estimates show $439 billion in sales, with the largest boost coming from consumers, who are expected to spend 11 percent more this year than they did in 2019.

What Is Harbor Freight?

In case you don’t already know, Harbor Freight is a privately owned discount tool retailer headquartered in Calabasas, Cal. Founded in 1977 as a family business offering mail-order tools, it has since expanded to the nation-wide business it is today. Harbor Freight carries more than 7,000 tools and accessories, including hand tools, air and power tools, shop equipment and automotive tools.

Compared to other home improvement stores like Lowe’s and The Home Depot, Harbor Freight’s tool prices are more affordable — dirt cheap, in fact. However, the quality of the products isn’t always up to par. Savvy customers have discovered which tools at Harbor Freight give you the most bang for your buck, and which you’re better off buying at a traditional home improvement store.

Why DIYers Love Harbor Freight

The store has acquired an enthusiastic following of DIYers who love a good deal. The Harbor Freight Reddit group has more than 25,000 members, who log on daily to share their favorite products, coupon tips and more. Most DIYers will agree that Harbor Freight is a fine option for basic hand tools, tool boxes and storage products, and many swear by their affordable air compressors.

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White House ordered to provide sign language interpreters for coronavirus briefings in ‘historic win’

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the White House must provide sign language interpreters during public coronavirus briefings starting Oct. 1. 

A U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C., ordered the White House to include a qualified American Sign Language interpreter for any news conference related to coronavirus matters conducted by the president, vice president or White House press secretary held on White House grounds or any federal agency. 


Our country is in a historic fight against the Coronavirus. Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


The ruling says the interpreter could be in the frame physically near the speaker, or off-site using the picture-in-picture feature. The White House is required to make the interpreter feeds accessible online and on television. 

The order stems from a lawsuit filed against the White House by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and five deaf plaintiffs. The group argued the lack of a sign language interpreter during briefings on the pandemic was a violation of the First Amendment as deaf and hard-of-hearing people are not getting proper access to crucial health information. 

The court issued an opinion earlier this month stating the plaintiffs were entitled to some relief. 

“Closed captioning and transcripts may constitute a reasonable accommodation under some circumstances, but not here,” U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg wrote in a preliminary ruling on Sept. 9. 

NAD CEO Howard A. Rosenblum applauded the judge’s decision Wednesday. 

“Sign language and accurate captioning are both essential and crucial to ensuring all deaf and hard of hearing people are well informed and are able to make better decisions on how to stay safe from the pandemic,” he said. “The judge’s order sets a great precedent to achieve this goal of full accessibility.”

The Trump administration kicked off daily coronavirus press briefings that included the coronavirus task force as the epidemic in the country began to escalate. The administration has since pulled back on daily briefings and has instead opted for occasional news conferences that largely only include President Trump.


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Judge orders White House to provide sign language interpreters at Covid briefings

The White House must provide sign language interpreters at public Covid-19 briefings, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

The ruling, which takes effect Oct. 1, applies to any press conference on coronavirus-related matters with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence or White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany held on White House grounds or at any federal agency. The White House must make interpreter feeds available online and to all television networks, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and five plaintiffs sued the White House earlier this month, urging the administration to provide interpreters for briefings related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. At that point, the court provided relief for the plaintiffs and hinted that the White House might have to comply.

“Closed captioning and transcripts may constitute a reasonable accommodation under some circumstances, but not here,” the court ruled in their Sept. 9 decision.

Pressure from advocacy groups and other independent federal agencies grew as the White House coronavirus task force briefings continued without interpreters. The National Council on Disability released a letter in March urging the administration to act, saying “there is no doubt that the Coronavirus brings with it significant added concerns for people with disabilities.”

An estimated 11.5 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Sign language and accurate captioning are both essential and crucial to ensuring all deaf and hard of hearing people are well informed and are able to make better decisions on how to stay safe from the pandemic,” NAD CEO Howard A. Rosenblum said in a statement. “The judge’s order sets a great precedent to achieve this goal of full accessibility.”

Press briefings with Trump and other members of the coronavirus task force began in March, though they have since gone from daily events to sporadic occurrences timed to specific updates or announcements.

Over 200,000 people have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

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White House ordered to make live sign language interpretation during coronavirus briefing available to TV networks

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the White House to include a sign-language interpreter in its video feed of coronavirus briefings beginning October 1.



a woman looking at the camera: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on September 16, 2020.


© Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on September 16, 2020.

The order means live video feeds available to TV networks will also now include American Sign Language interpretation.

“Defendants shall include a qualified ASL interpreter in the … feed for all White House coronavirus briefings,” DC District Court Judge James Boasberg wrote, either by putting an interpreter physically near whomever is speaking or by including within the frame a video of an interpreter located elsewhere.

If the latter, the White House will make footage of the remote interpreter available in a way that “allows the networks to include the qualified ASL interpreter in their live broadcasts,” Boasberg added.

The news follows a lawsuit filed by the National Association of the Deaf and five deaf Americans last month attempting to force President Donald Trump and other top officials to have American Sign Language interpreters at Covid-19 briefings. Boasberg had previously indicated earlier this month that the White House might have to do so.

NAD CEO Howard Rosenblum told CNN that Wednesday’s order “sets a great precedent to achieve this goal of full accessibility.”

“Sign language and accurate captioning are both essential and crucial to ensuring all deaf and hard of hearing people are well informed and are able to make better decisions on how to stay safe from the pandemic,” he said in a statement.

In their lawsuit filed last month, the plaintiffs alleged that the lack of live sign language interpretation at White House coronavirus briefings was against the law.

“By contrast (to written captions), an interpreter is able to convey tone and context of a message through facial expressions, sign choice, and demeanor,” the lawsuit said. “Further, the provision of live closed captioning frequently contains errors and omissions that make it difficult or impossible for (deaf and hard of hearing) individuals to understand the information being provided in the briefings, particularly if they are not fluent in English.”

Plaintiffs pointed out that governors in all 50 states have provided in-frame ASL interpretation during their public briefings on coronavirus.

“President Trump, however, does not,” the lawsuit said. “He now stands alone in holding televised briefings regarding the Covid-19 pandemic without ever having provided any ASL interpretation.”

According to court documents, since March, Trump and the coronavirus task force have not been seen with an ASL interpreter while addressing the American people during the pandemic, though the Trump administration has used interpreters in past briefings, including for hurricanes.

The federal government’s National Council on Disability and some members of Congress had already written to the White House requesting it add ASL interpreters. The US Census Bureau estimates that about 11.5 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss.

This story has been updated with additional information

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Burglar rumbled by girl, 6, who spotted alarming sign in garden

A girl, aged just six, urgently warned her mum of a burglar who was about to enter their property.

The brave daughter spoke out after Kelly Price climbed over the fence of her and her mum’s home.

Leicester Crown Court has heard how the little girl raised the alarm saying: “Mummy, there’s a lady in the back garden'”

The mum then confronted price in the doorway of her kitchen and escorted her off the premises, LeicestershireLive reports.

Price claimed she was being chased by a man, but sneakily helped herself to a mobile phone, which had been left charging on the kitchen counter of the home in Alma Street, Newfound Pool, Leicester, at 6.30pm on Wednesday July 29.

The victim’s husband rang his wife on the way home from work and ended up talking to Price, who answered the call.

She claimed she had just bought the handset and offered to re-sell it for £35.

The drama unfolded at Leicester Crown Court
The drama unfolded at Leicester Crown Court

Katrina Wilson, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court: “He took her up on the offer.”

They arranged to meet at the Lidl car park on Fosse Road North, in the city.

When the husband arrived, he took a photograph of the defendant.

Miss Wilson said: “There was an argument about ownership of the phone and he made a grab for it.”

She threw it under a parked van and her bag fell to the floor causing a bottle of alcohol inside to break – which the defendant then picked up and pointed it at him.”

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She threatened: “If you come near me I’ll hurt you.’

“I know your wife and I know your home.”

The prosecutor said the defendant ran off leaving the man “shaken up”, but he recovered the phone.

Leicester Crown Court

Police then found Price nearby and arrested her.

When interviewed, the defendant, of Astill Drive, Mowmacre Hill, Leicester, insisted she had just bought the phone.

She told the officers “I’m not a dishonest person.”

Price has 79 offences on her criminal record, which were mostly thefts and burglaries, Miss Wilson said.

Sentencing, Judge Ebrahim Mooncey said: “You went to someone’s garden where there were children playing and one of them alerted her mother.

“You helped yourself to a phone from within the house, which makes it a burglary when occupants were present.

“No doubt the mother and children will remember it for a long time and feel they have to be careful in their own back garden

“Your behaviour towards the father, who wanted the phone back, is very concerning.”

James Varley, mitigating, said: “This isn’t a typical burglary and was clearly committed in desperation by putting her hand through a doorway to take something from the counter.

“She says she was being threatened by a man about a £20 debt.

“Happily, her relationship with him has broken

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‘Trump Lied, 200,000 Died’ Neon Sign Displayed at White House as U.S. Nears Milestone

A neon sign was placed in front of the White House with a message blaming President Donald Trump for the coronavirus death rate in the U.S..



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press prior to his departure from the White House on September 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Democrats have held up a neon sign outside the White House reading "Trump lied, 200,000 died."


© Sarah Silbiger/Getty
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press prior to his departure from the White House on September 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Democrats have held up a neon sign outside the White House reading “Trump lied, 200,000 died.”

The display reading “Trump lied, 200,000 died” was held up by several democrats and paid for by the DNC, WSET reported.

The sign was lit up on Sunday night as the U.S. is on the verge of hitting the 200,000 milestone for COVID-19 deaths.

As of late Monday morning, Johns Hopkins University places the death toll in the U.S. at 199,525—the highest in the world.

Democrats have accused Trump of misleading the public in claiming that the U.S. is starting to control the spread of the virus, when 31 states are reporting an increase in the number of confirmed cases.

Trump has also been widely criticized after he was recorded in March telling journalist Bob Woodward how he “wanted to always play it down” when asked what he knew about the potential dangers of the virus.

“I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump told Woodward.

Elsewhere, marches are set to take place across the country in protest at Trump’s handling of the outbreak as the 200,000 death toll approaches.

The Refuse Facism group has organized several rallies in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Boston this week. The events titled “March Against Death, Lies, and Fascism and For Humanity” are scheduled on Monday.

The group has accused Trump of “continuing to lie, assail science, traffic in conspiracy theories, hold super-spreading rallies, and sabotage attempts to contain the pandemic.” Organisers have also said they fear that Trump will not accept election defeat in November.

Most recent polling has suggested that Democratic nominee Joe Biden will win the upcoming election.

“We face a rolling coup barreling to a showdown on November 3. The Trump/Pence regime have said and shown that they will not abide by an election they lose,” Coco Das, of the RefuseFascism.org Editorial Board, said in a statement.

Where Are Coronavirus Cases Rising In The World?

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“A new path of sustained, non-violent protest is being blazed. A force is gathering that must grow that will not stop until this fascist regime is driven from power. We must make this OUR time, not Trump’s.”

“On Monday, September 21, we’ll take the next step,” Das added. “Marking the grim milestone of 200,000 COVID-19 deaths by holding nationwide marches with the resounding demand for an end to the death, lies, and fascist escalation.”

This map, provided by Statista, shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country.



a close up of a map: STATISTA


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