'Occupy Nashville' bill passes Senate 20-10

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A proposal aimed at stopping Occupy Nashville protesters from staying overnight at the Capitol complex has passed the Senate.

The measure was approved 20-10 on Thursday. The companion bill passed the House 70-26 last week. The legislation will now return to the lower chamber for concurrence after an amendment was added.

The legislation would make it a misdemeanor to lay down "bedding for the purpose of sleeping." It refers to items associated with camping.

Protesters have camped at the plaza since early October. At one time there were as many as 60 tents, but that number is now less than half, mainly because of the proposed legislation.

Under the proposal, violators would be fined as much as $2,500 and face up to nearly a year in jail.

Supporters say the bill is necessary because of criminal activity and lewd behavior at the encampment.


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