Dr. Joey “Don't Say Gay” Hensley (TN Senate R) tries more mischief for KKK founder bust
A noted piece of work, State Senator Hensley, a Sons of Confederate Veterans member, decided there were so many new ways to get a KKK founder’s statue to stick around in the usual battles of Tennessee culture. This particular 1978 bust is a Jim Crow monument with marginal historical value other than honoring treason.
- Tennessee lawmakers formed a commission to determine if the statue of former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest should stand on capitol grounds.
- Critics say Hensley’s bill is solely due to his disagreement with the commission’s vote.
- On July 9, 2020, the Tennessee Capitol Commission voted 9-2 in favor of removing the bust from the Capitol building and relocating it to the Tennessee State Museum. The process to remove the bust is lengthy, and removal will likely not take place until 2021. The Tennessee Historical Commission voted 25-1 on March 9, 2021 to move the bust to the museum. Governor Bill Lee (R) said this should be done as soon as possible. en.wikipedia.org/…
The Tennessee Historical Commission voted 25-1 last week to remove the bust and place it in a museum. On Wednesday, eight days later, five Republicans on a Senate committee voted to advance a bill to dismiss the commission’s current members entirely, and replace them with a new, 12-member body. An amendment to the legislation would also require any commission decisions about removing monuments to be approved by a joint resolution of the general assembly.
“It’s embarrassing, is what it is,” State Senator Heidi Campbell (D) told TPM Thursday, adding that she believed the bill to replace the commission had enough support to reach the governor’s desk.
But the effort to sack the historical commission is just the latest in a years-long bureaucratic struggle over monuments to Confederate history in Tennessee. In fact, the current rules for removing monuments date back to 2013, when the state passed the Heritage Protection Act, barring the removal of monuments on public property without a two-thirds waiver vote from the commission.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 19, 2021
Now, a group of state senators are working to remove all of the members from the commission, just two weeks after their ruling.
Local outlets report that this effort is spearheaded by Senator Joey Hensley (R), who sponsored a bill that would replace the 29 members on the commission with 12 new members.
The bill has yet to be introduced before the state legislature.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) appointed 24 of the 29 commission members. Other former Confederate states, including Virginia, Louisiana and Alabama, have exhibited similar divisions when it comes to removing statues that harken to periods of legal slavery in the U.S.
In 2012 and 2013, Hensley introduced a bill, nicknamed “Don't Say Gay”, to ban schools from discussing LGBT issues; the bill eventually failed.
For several years, Hensley cosponsored a bill allowing counselors and therapists “to refuse to counsel a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist,” such as LGBT clients. This bill was eventually passed and signed into law on April 27, 2016.
In February 2017, Hensley introduced a bill that would classify children born through artificial insemination as illegitimate, even if both parents are married and consent to the insemination. He also sponsored a bill (known as the “Milo bill” after right-wing pundit Milo Yiannopoulos) requiring public universities “be open to any speaker whom students, student groups, or members of the faculty have invited.”
In February 2020, Hensley argued against including female hygiene products such as tampons in a state sales-tax holiday because people could purchase too many if not given a limit. “I don't know how you would limit the number of items someone could purchase.” 
George Cantor, a biographer of Confederate generals, wrote, “Forrest ducked and weaved, denying all knowledge, but admitted he knew some of the people involved. He sidestepped some questions and pleaded failure of memory on others. Afterwards, he admitted to 'gentlemanly lies'. He wanted nothing more to do with the Klan, but felt honor bound to protect former associates.”