With the passage of the bill, Tennessee will increase the reimbursement to local jails by $2 per day, at a total annual price tag of about $4 million. The mandatory sentence for a second conviction will be 30 days. A third conviction of domestic violence brings a mandatory 90-day sentence. Passage of this legislation shows we are serious about cracking down on domestic violence in Tennessee.
We earn top rankings in a number of business friendly categories, but we are also near the top in domestic abuse rankings. We need to drop in those rankings immediately. I believe this legislation will help do just that.
DUI offenses, fines
Generally, under present law, upon conviction of a first DUI offense, an offender is fined between $350 and $1,500. This individual is also prohibited from driving a vehicle in Tennessee for one year, given a sentence that can range from 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days of probation, and be ordered to remove litter during daylight hours from public roadways.
However, if at the time of the commission of the DUI, the person was accompanied by a child under 18 years of age, then the person must be punished by a mandatory minimum incarceration of 30 days and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. House Bill 2751 will increase those provisions of the law. Under this bill, a minimum incarceration of 30 days must be served consecutively with any sentence for convictions of DUI, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide.
As an emergency responder in my professional life, I see too many careless individuals willing to risk the life of others. That must be stopped. This bill increases the penalty for that type of violation. This bill is a personal priority of mine and I believe it will help save the lives of our most vulnerable citizens — our children.
House advances bill
on testing for drugs
House lawmakers last week advanced a bill to the Finance Subcommittee that will require testing for illegal drugs for individuals applying for Tennessee welfare benefits. The measure requires applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program benefits to undergo a drug test before receiving such benefits. The bill restricts TANF benefits for positive drug test results under certain circumstances. The legislation would ensure that those individuals who receive a positive result for drugs in their system will not be able to receive the TANF benefits for one year.
This measure is about accountability and proper fiscal management. Taxpayers don’t want individuals who are clearly taking advantage of the system in order to procure more illegal drugs to benefit from hard-earned taxpayer dollars.
We need to help those families who need legitimate support, not those trying to milk the system. Some legislators have questions about how the bill will be implemented and the bill sponsor pledged to work with the members and the Tennessee Department of Human Resources to determine an appropriate framework.
1. Budget Process Wrapping Up: The Finance, Ways and Means chairman moved that the House Finance Committee begin considering budget amendments from House lawmakers this week. The committee began weighing each member’s request while, at the same time, maintaining a balanced budget as required by Tennessee law. The Majority Leader indicated there would only be enough room to fit just a bit more than the governor requested in his budget amendment.
2. About 345 Students Were Expected to Compete Saturday (Yesterday) at Tennessee History Day: About 345 Tennessee students in grades 6 through 12 were scheduled to compete in Tennessee History Day which was held at various sites in downtown Nashville. History Day is a competition in which students are judged on the quality of their exhibits, term papers, web sites, documentaries or live performances on history-themed topics. This year’s theme was “Revolution, Reaction and Reform in History.”
3. Body of Tennessee Soldier Missing for Nearly 61 Years Comes Home: Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs remembered Private First Class Frank Primm Jennings who has been missing in action for nearly 61 years. The Korean War veteran’s remains arrived at the Nashville International Airport last week. Private Jennings was serving with “E” Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in the United States Army when he went missing in South Korea on April 25, 1951. Jennings was posthumously promoted to Private First Class and awarded the Silver Star as well as the Purple Heart for his gallantry in action.