GOP lawmaker abstains from Occupy Nashville vote

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A Republican lawmaker who abstained from voting on legislation intended to stop Occupy Nashville protesters from staying overnight at the Capitol complex says the measure is too broad.

Rep. Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains was the only Republican who didn't vote for the GOP-backed proposal that overwhelmingly passed the House on Thursday. The companion bill is scheduled for the Senate floor next week.

Protesters have camped at the plaza since early October, but their numbers have drastically decreased, mainly because of the proposed legislation that would make it a misdemeanor to lay down "bedding for the purpose of sleeping."

Niceley said the bill goes too far. He said people traveling through Tennessee that are unfamiliar with the law, and decide to camp out, "might accidentally get on some public land."

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