By Bill Grubb
ROGERSVILLE — A resolution to display "certain historical documents," including the Ten Commandments, will be considered when Hawkins County Commissioners meet Monday morning.
The resolution, dealing with the display of items known as the Foundations of American Law and Government, was pulled from the November 2012 meeting agenda by sponsors B. D. Cradic and Fred Castle.
According to the resolution, "private individuals have volunteered" to donate funds to offset the cost of the display at the Justice Center.
Specific items in the display include: Tennessee's Constitution, the National Anthem, the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Seal of Hawkins County, the Cumberland Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Mayflower Compact, the Magna Carta, a depiction of Lady Justice, the Ten Commandments and a document explaining the importance of each.
Former Judge James "Jay" Taylor first started talking about a similar display in 2010, even drawing opposition from an out-of-state group known as the Freedom From Religion Foundation. In 2012, Taylor was indicted and entered a guilty plea to theft charges involving the misuse of funds collected from three churches and a local business for that display.
The proposed resolution commissioners will consider this month notes three different federal courts have found a Foundations display constitutional.
If adopted, the resolution states that commissioners believe the display "is necessary and proper."
"Whereas, the Hawkins County Board of Commissioners wishes to state its purpose in displaying the foundation of American Law and Government display is to educate the citizens of Hawkins County, Tennessee, on some of the documents and symbols that have played an important role in the foundation, development, and history of Hawkins County, the State of Tennessee, and the United States of America," the resolution states.
If commissioners approve the proposal, the display is to be installed at the Justice Center. The commission’s Public Buildings committee will be given the discretion to determine the size and exact location of the display.
Commissioners will also apparently have two different resolutions dealing with the creation and appointment of an advisory committee to research health insurance coverage for county employees.
Commissioners Fred Castle and Danny Alvis are sponsoring a resolution establishing the committee consisting of Sheriff Ronnie Lawson, Assessor Jeff Thacker, Road Superintendent Lowell Bean, Commissioners John Metz, Joe McClain, Robert Palmer and Gary Hicks, Jr. County Mayor Melville Bailey was designated as a non-voting member on Castle’s resolution, signed by County Clerk Carroll Jenkins and put on the Web site where resolutions are available.
Another resolution, apparently changed and signed by Bailey, deleted Thacker, added Register of Deeds Judy Kirkpatrick and former Finance and Budget Director Evelyn Gladson as members. It also moved Bailey to the position of a voting member. The altered resolution, however, still names Castle and Alvis as sponsors, although they claim they did not approve any changes.
In other business, commissioners are scheduled to consider resolutions to:
- Appoint Commissioners Stacy Vaughan and Robert Palmer, Jackie Webb and Francis Horne to the county’s Agriculture Extension Committee;
- Set a 40 mph speed limit on Slate Hill Road;
- Acceptance of an agreement on State Route 31;
- Set a bond for constable Josh Myers;
- Increase the annual fee for seasonal fireworks retailers from $300 to $1,000; and
- Consider several budget amendments.
The Hawkins County Commission will meet at 9 a.m. at the Hawkins County Courthouse. The session will be the first regular meeting in the commission’s meeting room, on the main level of the courthouse. Prior to a renovation project he space was occupied by the chancery court office and courtroom, now located on the second level of the building.
Copies of the agenda and resolutions for the meeting are available at http://www.hawkinscountyclerk.com