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Jillian’s Law Passes Senate

This information is provided by 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD, R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles, Lewis and parts of Maury, Marshall and Williamson counties.

As part of a strong push to improve public safety in Tennessee, this bill would close a legal loophole for defendants found incompetent to stand trial.

Senate Bill 1769, would require criminal defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial to be committed to an appropriate treatment facility. Current state law does not provide this requirement.

The legislation was introduced following the murder of Jillian Ludwig, an 18-year-old Belmont University freshman who was fatally shot while walking in a Nashville park on Nov. 7, 2023. Her killer, Shaquille Taylor, was a repeat violent offender who was deemed incompetent to stand trial for committing aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in April 2023. 

Because of this finding, Taylor was released from custody and went on to murder Jillian Ludwig.

The legislation would additionally require individuals deemed incompetent to stand trial to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which serves as a namecheck database of people prohibited from buying or owning firearms.

Senate Advances Legislation To Provide Support Services For Fifth Grade Students

The Senate passed legislation that will grant fifth grade students who are not adequately progressing in their English Language Arts (ELA) studies supplemental services throughout the year.

Each year, students take the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program  (TCAP) and other diagnostic tests to determine if they meet grade level standards.

The General Assembly has previously enacted legislation that addressed reading deficiencies in children who entered school during COVID.

This legislation makes accommodations for students who might still experience learning loss due to the pandemic.

Currently, if third grade students’ test results do not meet grade-level standards, they can move on to fourth grade with special services like tutoring or summer school. After completing these services, it is expected these students will catch up to grade-level standards. 

Under Senate Bill 2183, if a student does not meet standards after the fourth grade, the parent, teacher, and principal – the individuals closest to the student – will consult to determine if the student should be held back or advance to the fifth grade with the same support services received in fourth grade.

The legislation would be repealed on July 1, 2025, so the General Assembly can continue reviewing education standards and data to determine the best policy for students’ education.

Ben Kredich Act Aims To Prevent Impaired Driving By Those Treated With Narcan

The Senate passed legislation to clarify that patients treated for a drug overdose with Narcan could still be impaired and charged with driving under the influence, as drugs would still be in their system.

Senate Bill 2116, instructs first responders who administer an opioid antagonist such as Narcan to an individual experiencing a drug overdose may provide information on the risk of driving within a 24-hour period.

The legislation is named after Ben Kredich who tragically lost his life after being struck by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel after being administered Narcan in a hospital. The driver was unaware of possible side effects of Narcan and that drugs causing the overdose would remain in his system for at least 24 hours.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Act Passes

The Senate passed legislation that will help streamline victims' ability to obtain compensation for damages brought on by their perpetrators. Senate Bill 1416, expands the time frame under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act for a crime to be reported by the victim from two days to fifteen days.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act provides funds of last resort to financially assist innocent victims of crime with personal injuries.

Current law only allows a victim 48 hours to report these offenses. Under this legislation, victims would have a more reasonable amount of time and ability to report offenses and damages against them.

The law also expands the amount of documents a victim may submit to prove the crime occurred. Current law only allows this provision for victims of human trafficking.

Helping Rural Utility Operations

Senate Bill 129 will help rural counties with utility depreciation. Many rural counties cannot afford to accept block grants because state expectations of depreciation prevent rural municipalities from upgrading their utility systems.

The municipality is responsible for paying depreciation immediately, which is costly and burdensome for rural counties. This also makes it even harder to replace systems once their life has ended.

The bill allows a one-year reprieve of paying depreciation after installation, and still keeps the municipality in compliance with accounting standards.

Hensley may be contacted at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, TN 37243, by calling 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 call 931-796-2018, or his cell phone at 931-212-8823, or e-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

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