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After DUI, gun arrest, Todd resigns post

After DUI, gun arrest, Todd resigns post

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 8:02 pm

Associated Press
FRANKLIN (AP) — State Rep. Curry Todd, a lead proponent of a new state law allowing permit holders to carry handguns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, resigned a key House committee chairmanship Monday days after his arrest on drunken driving and gun charges.
Todd stepped down as chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee, which handles a range of proposals affecting cities and counties, including most alcohol bills.
The Collierville Republican said in a statement that he informed House Speaker Beth Harwell he was stepping aside “until this matter is resolved.”
“The Committee’s work is an important aspect of the General Assembly and I do not want my actions to distract from that,” said Todd.
Harwell, R-Nashville, said in a phone interview that she welcomed Todd’s decision.
“I’m proud that Rep. Todd has done the admirable thing, which is resigning from this position,” she said.
Harwell said she does not expect Todd to resign from the Legislature altogether. While the speaker said she is keen to find out how the case against Todd is resolved, she said she will appoint a permanent replacement on the panel because she can’t allow the legal proceedings to “impede the process of the General Assembly.”
“There will have to be someone appointed as chairman, because Curry has stepped down from the chairmanship,” she said.
Todd, a retired Memphis police officer, was arrested during a Nashville traffic stop Oct. 11 after failing a roadside sobriety test and refusing to take a breath test. A loaded .38-caliber gun was found in a holster stuffed between the driver’s seat and center console.
Todd, who holds a state handgun carry permit, was charged with possession of a gun while under the influence and drunken driving. It is unclear where he was coming from when his SUV was pulled over for traveling 60 mph in a 40 mph zone near Vanderbilt and Belmont universities.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said after a speech in Franklin told reporters he had spoken to Todd at a charity golf tournament hosted by Harwell and Democratic Rep. Gary Odom of Nashville earlier Monday.
“I just asked him how he was doing … He said, ‘I realize I made a bad mistake and I’m sorry,”’ Haslam said.
The governor said he was concerned about the circumstances surrounding Todd’s arrest, but would defer to House leadership about his fate as a chairman.
“It was a big mistake from Rep. Todd that could have had dangerous consequences, and I think he’s aware of that as well,” Haslam said.
“Drinking and driving is wrong under any circumstances,” the governor added. “Now obviously having a weapon in the car makes it worse.”
Harwell had put off a decision on Todd’s chairmanship until she returned from an out-of-state college tour with her daughter last week.

Published in The Messenger 10.18.11

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