published Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Rep. Curry Todd steps aside from chairmanship of Tennessee's State and Local Government Committee

  • photo
    This booking photo released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police shows state Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, who was arrested late Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, on charges of drunken driving and possession of a gun while under the influence. Todd was a main sponsor of a Tennessee law to allow people with handgun carry permits to bring their guns into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. (AP Photo/Metropolitan Nashville Police)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE -- Embattled state Rep. Curry Todd stepped aside from his chairmanship of the powerful State and Local Government Committee today -- at least temporarily -- after a nearly weeklong controversy following his arrest on DUI and possessing a handgun while intoxicated.

"Today, I told Speaker [Beth] Harwell that I would step aside as chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee until this matter is resolved and she has accepted it," Todd said in a statement. "The committee's work is an important aspect of the General Assembly and I do not want my actions to distract from that."

Harwell, R-Nashville, said Monday in a phone interview that Todd "has resigned until the [legal] matter's resolved. That's where it is. It may never be resolved."

She said she didn't get a chance to speak with Todd until Monday afternoon when the decision for him to step down was reached.

She declined to speculate on what would happen if Todd is convicted on the charges.

"Well, we'll wait. We'll cross that [later]," she said. "I'm not going to pass judgment until the court of law does."

Earlier Monday, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, called for Todd to step down as chairman of the committee.

"Our actions have consequences, and I believe that Rep. Todd should resign his chairmanship of State and Local Government and concentrate on other things right now," McCormick told the Times Free Press.

Todd, R-Collierville, was arrested by Nashville police last Tuesday night, saying the lawmaker was stopped for traveling 60 mph in a 40 mph zone. He failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a breath/alcohol test.

A loaded .38-caliber gun also was found in a holster that was "stuffed" between the driver's seat and the vehicle's center console, according to an affidavit.

Last week, Todd resigned his chairmanship of a Republican firearms task force. The lawmaker, who championed a controversial bill that allowed permit holders to bring their weapons into restaurants and bars selling alcohol for on-premises consumption, last week issued a statement saying he was "deeply sorry."

McCormick said the firearms task force will continue and is looking at expansion of Tennessee's handgun-carry permit laws.

"I just decided to keep it going," said McCormick. "I still say it's not going to be a top legislative priority by any means."

House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, who is the panel's vice chair, voiced interest in taking over as chairman.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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rolando said...

Exactly what does the photo have to do with the headline, Mr Sher?

True, the photo has a certain...ah...attention-grabbing, ridicule-enabling appeal, but this is a bit over the top.

Let us remember that the handguns-allowed-in-bars law was passed after a judge found the original law unconstitutionally vague after anti-gunners objected to it. That law allowed concealed carry only in restaurants...and was a much better law.

The only way the original intent of the law could stand was to allow handguns anywhere alcohol is served; restaurants and bars both. It was deemed better to have both than neither...it is a right, after all.

October 18, 2011 at 7:09 a.m.
KevinOK said...

rolando, that Gary Busey like picture of Curry Todd has everything to do with both the headline and the issue. Todd made a name for himself by trying to pass outlandish laws that would put loaded handguns into the possesions of intoxicated patrons at bars. Todd is now the poster boy for just how dangerous an outcome this type of law could have. I guess we are just lucky that some family did not cut him off on the road, giving him road rage. Looking at that picture, I would not want to meet him with a gun in his hand as he stumbled out of his car. There is no right for drunks to possess guns.

October 18, 2011 at 10:27 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Because drunken "road rage" with an automobile as the weapon is OK... KevinOK.

I find more and more that folks whom shiver and quake at the knowledge of inanimate objects, and cannot equate the person animating said objects to any end results, are in fact the same folks that have life effecting issues regarding personal responsibility.

October 18, 2011 at 4:31 p.m.
NoMyth said...

Curry is a schmuck. It is a privilege to represent others on the state legislature. No representative should be guilty of committing a crime. It is very easy to live your life and not be convicted of a crime. It is beyond the pale that this knucklehead has not already resigned.

October 18, 2011 at 5:05 p.m.
headcoconut said...

rolando said... Let us remember that the handguns-allowed-in-bars law was passed after a judge found the original law unconstitutionally vague after anti-gunners objected to it. That law allowed concealed carry only in restaurants...and was a much better law.

But wasn't that decision made on condition, roland? The condition being the individual packin' da heat was NOT to consume any alcohol? This guy being one of the driving forces behind that law and the essence of law abiding citizens would not consume alcohol sort of shoots down that theory, right? If the ones who make the laws don't obey them, what makes you think the average citizen will?

October 18, 2011 at 6:40 p.m.
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