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Death Penalty Could Be Option For Convicted Child Rapists

Updated: 7 days ago

Information is provided by the office of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD< R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles, Lewis, and parts of Marshall, Maury and Williamson counies.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced legislation to increase the penalty for child rapists in Tennessee.

Senate Bill 1834 would expand the death penalty to defendants convicted of rape of a child.

The legislation will strengthen existing state law by increasing the penalty for rape or aggravated rape of a child to death, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison.

Current law classifies the offense as a Class A felony punishable as either a Range III offense, which carries a sentence of 40-60 years in prison or a Range II offense of 25-40 years in prison.

The proposal builds on General Assembly efforts in recent years to improve public safety, reduce recidivism rates, and hold criminals accountable through smart-on-crime justice reforms.

The General Assembly in 2022 passed truth in sentencing laws that increased penalties for the most violent of crimes and requires offenders to serve 85-100 percent of their sentences. 

Legislation Aims To Increase Punishment For iIlegal Immigrants Who Commit Violent Crimes

Legislation that would sentence illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes in Tennessee to life in prison without parole advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 2770, would allow a judge to sentence an illegal immigrant to life without parole if convicted of a violent crime or if a deadly weapon was involved in the offense.

The bill also authorizes the same enhancement for adults convicted of a violent crime on school property.

Under the bill, the arrest of an illegal immigrant and all subsequent convictions must be also reported to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Data will be used to help understand the impact to Tennessee. 

The Department of Homeland Security has reported more than 6 million encounters along the southern border since 2021. An additional 1.7 million individuals entered the country illegally and successfully evaded authorities.

Delinquent Property Tax Payments - "Senate Bill 2172, which I sponsored, aims to help citizens behind on paying property tax," according to Hensley.

The bill will set up a uniform system for collection of delinquent property tax by allowing partial payments. Partial payments will help citizens cut down on interest owed.

The bill advanced out of the Senate State and Local Government Committee to the  Senate floor for final approval.       

Ensuring SROs At Schools - "Senate Bill 1715, which I sponsored, would ensure that all schools have a school resource officer (SRO) on campus," according to Hensley.

Some local boards of education have not entered into a memorandum of understanding with the local law enforcement agency, meaning that some schools do not have a SRO.

This bill will allow the law enforcement agency to assign a law enforcement officer to serve as the SRO to a school.     

Clarifying Necessary Immigration Status For Employment: "Legislation, which I sponsored, clarifies acceptable hiring practices for legal and illegal immigrants," according to Hensley. Senate Bill 1866 would clarify that when an employer is considering hiring an immigrant who might be getting their documentation to work in the country legally, the employer must consider the immigrant’s legal status when they are seeking employment.

This legislation passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and awaits passage on the Senate floor.    

Creating Accountability For Election Administrators:

"Legislation which I sponsored, would help create accountability for election administrators by enforcing certain rules and regulations to follow," according to Hensley.

Senate Bill 1706 requires an administrator of elections to file information of certain educational events related to elections that occur outside of the state to the Secretary of State.

The bill specifies that the form must be filed within 15 days of the event. The legislation passed out of the Senate on Thursday and now awaits passage in the House.

Increasing Protections From Bullying, Cyberbullying - The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Senate Bill 1887, to further protect students in Tennessee from bullying and cyberbullying.

The bill would classify the crimes as forms of harassment and require an officer who has knowledge of bullying or cyberbullying to make a report of the incident and notify the parent or guardian when the victim is a minor.

The bill advances to the Senate floor for final approval.

Prioritizing Autopsies For Children - Legislation that will instruct the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and county and chief medical examiners to create policies prioritizing autopsies of children involved in active investigations by DCS.

The bill pertains to issues uncovered by the Second Look Commission when trying to look at the most heinous deaths against children.

The Commission looks at autopsies to help investigate and close cases. Some autopsies have taken up to 3.5 years to be completed.

Senate Bill 2929 will ensure cases are prioritized so they can be closed and resolved quicker. 

Sen. Hensley may be contacted at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, TN, 37243 or call 615-741-3100, or call toll free 1-800-449-8366 extension 13100, or fax 615-253-0231.

His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald, TN ., 38462, or phone 931-796-2018, or call his cell phone at 931-212-8823, or e-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

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