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Bills Advance To Limit Crime, Hold Criminals Accountable

This information comes from the office of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD. R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles, Lewis, and parts of Marshall, Maury and Williamson counties.

The Senate advanced bills to increase penalties for criminals, specifically repeat offenders and criminals who target children.

Dr. Benjamin Mauck Act

The Dr. Benjamin Mauck Act would increase penalties for assault in a healthcare facility.

On July 11, 2023, Mauck was shot point blank three times in his Collierville medical facility. One week prior, his life had been threatened by the individual who savagely murdered him.

"Legislation which I sponsored, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee that would enhance the punishment for assault in healthcare facilities to a Class A misdemeanor and aggravated assault in healthcare facilities to a Class C felony.," according to Hensley.

Senate Bill 1709 advances to the Senate Finance Committee.

Strengthening Tennessee's Response To Repeat Misdemeanor Offenders

To address the issue of persistent crime, Tennessee lawmakers are prioritizing solutions to tackle the challenge of repeat misdemeanor offenders who often avoid significant consequences. 

Senate Bill 2155 passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee which would increase the minimum jail time following a fifth qualifying misdemeanor offense. The list includes 37 total crimes ranging from assault to driving under the influence. 

Under this legislation, a criminal convicted of any combination of five or more qualifying misdemeanors in the past 10 years would be subject to a class E felony charge at the discretion of a judge.

In certain repeat violent offenses such as domestic assault and child neglect, the legislation would raise the third or subsequent conviction from a class D misdemeanor to a class E felony. A Class E felony is punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.

Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Legislation To Protect Children From Abusers

The Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee advanced pieces of legislation that will protect children from known abusers and also enhance the punishments for child abuse.

Senate Bill 1835, enhances the penalty for abusing a child over the age nine.

The offense results in a Class A misdemeanor, and abusing a child under the age of nine is a Class D felony.

This enhancement will bring the offense of abusing a child older than nine to a Class E felony to ensure child abusers are held accountable.

The legislation advances to the Senate Finance Committee.

Another bill will create a Class A misdemeanor offense for knowingly leaving a child in the care or supervision of a person who is a registered sex offender. Senate Bill 1587, aims to protect children from unsafe environments. This bill advances to the Senate floor for final consideration.

Senate Bill 2070 will protect children from being in unsafe homes. The bill will ensure that a child cannot be in a home where there is a history of child abuse.

It also holds caregivers, parents or guardians accountable to protect the child from abuse by other individuals in the home. Senate Bill 2070 advances to the Senate floor for final consideration.

These pieces of legislation are some of the latest efforts the General Assembly is advancing to protect children in and out of the home by enhancing punishments for abusing children.

The Family Rights And Responsibilities Act Advances

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation that explicitly lays out 12 fundamental rights of parents in Tennessee Code.

The Family Rights and Responsibilities Act, protects parents’ fundamental rights and responsibilities to make education, healthcare, moral and religious decisions for their child. The bill aims to protect children from being indoctrinated by ideologies contrary to the values taught by their parents.

Legislation Addressing Generative AI In Music Industry Awaits Senate Floor Vote

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee passed the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act, a bill updating Tennessee’s Protection of Personal Rights law to include protections for songwriters, performers, and music industry professionals’ voice from the misuse of artificial intelligence (AI).

The ELVIS Act would be the first legislation in the nation to protect against the unauthorized use of someone’s likeness by adding “voice” to the existing protections.

Tennessee’s music industry supports more than 61,617 jobs across the state, contributes $5.8 billion to the state’s Gross Domestic Product and fills over 4,500 music venues.

Tennessee law protects name, image and likeness, but it doesn’t specifically address new, personalized generative AI cloning models and services that enable human impersonation and allow users to make unauthorized fake works in the image and voice of others.

Artists and musicians face exploitation and theft of their unique voices, threatening the future of Tennessee’s creators, the jobs that they support across the state and country, and the bonds between fans and their favorite bands.

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. His telephone number is 931-796-2018, his cell telephone is 931-212-8823, his e-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

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