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Legislation Aims To Discourage Assaults In Healthcare Facilities

Updated: May 25

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.

Dr. Benjamin Mauck Act – "A new law, which I sponsored, increases penalties for assault in a healthcare facility," according to Hensley.

On July 11, 2023, Dr. Benjamin 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.

The law enhances the punishment for assault in healthcare facilities to a Class A misdemeanor and aggravated assault in healthcare facilities to a Class C felony.

Back The Blue Act - This law increases the penalties for assaulting a police officer from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony. The law also increases the mandatory minimum sentence from 30 days to 60 days and the fine from $5,000 to $10,000.

Increasing Penalties For Drag Racing – This law increases the penalty for drag racing from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony. This change will give law enforcement the option to charge a person with either drag racing or reckless driving.

Keeping Tennessee Roads Safe – The Jacob (Jake) T. Barnhardt Act will prevent accidents and keep Tennesseans safe. It establishes a task force dedicated to addressing the issue of illegal street racing and devising effective prevention strategies.

Penalizing Violent Conduct In judicial Proceedings - This law creates a Class E Felony offense for a person who causes bodily injury to or offensive contact to someone in a judicial proceeding.

Offensive contact could include spitting, throwing, or otherwise transferring bodily fluids, bodily pathogens, or human waste onto a victim.

The law also applies to participants in a judicial proceeding including anyone employed as a judge, district attorney general, attorney for a party in a criminal or civil case, court employee, bailiff, courtroom security personnel, and other person who works in the building where a judicial proceeding takes place.

Stronger penalties for indecent exposure by inmates - A new measure was approved by lawmakers to address a rampant problem in state prisons of inmates continuously exposing themselves to correctional officers and other staff members, especially female officers and staff. 

The new law enhances the punishment to a Class E felony from a Class A misdemeanor.  If convicted, it would extend the inmate’s sentence by two weeks. If convicted more than once, the sentences will be served consecutively.

Penalizing False Reports Of Active Shooter - Lawmakers passed a law to increase protections against the intentional false reporting of emergencies in Tennessee, often referred to as “swatting.”

The law makes it a Class C felony to knowingly make a false report of an active shooter and hostage situation in order to draw a large law enforcement response to a specific location. This legislation expands on previous state law which imposed a Class C felony for intentionally making a false report regarding a past, present or future bombing or fire.

Threats Of Violence At Schools - The law strengthens the punishment for threatening to commit mass violence on school property or at a school-related activity in Tennessee.

This increases the crime from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony.

This law does not pertain to individuals with an intellectual disability.

DUI Enhancements -  Lawmakers passed legislation that increases penalties for intoxicated drivers. The law increases the jail time requirement for drunk drivers from two days to seven days if their blood alcohol content (BCA) is equal to or higher than .15.

Expediting Evidence Collection In DUI Cases - This law allows for faster and more effective collection of blood samples involving individuals suspected of driving under the influence in Tennessee.

It allows an officer to execute a search warrant anywhere in the state for medical records or tests to determine the alcohol or drug content of a person’s blood.

It also gives magistrates increased authority to issue warrants to recover evidence if at least one element of the crime occurred in their jurisdiction.

Additionally, it encourages hospitals and health care providers to take a blood sample as soon as possible when a warrant is issued and provide the sample to law enforcement expeditiously.

Prohibiting License Plate Flippers – The General Assembly passed legislation criminalizing selling, manufacturing, purchasing and possessing license plate flippers.

The new law makes it a Class B misdemeanor to purchase or possess license plate flippers and a Class A misdemeanor to manufacture, distribute and sell license plate flippers.

License plate flippers allow drivers to switch between their legitimate plate and a blank or expired plate. They are sold in several physical and online retailers.

Concealment of a license plate remains a Class C misdemeanor in Tennessee. Flipping a license plate if a license plate flipper is involved. This new law will enhance the penalty for concealing a license plate.

Increasing Punishment For Intentionally Blocking Roads - Lawmakers passed a bill aimed at illegally blocking roadways in Tennessee.

The new law would increase the penalty for intentionally obstructing roadways or other areas used for transportation from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony.

The law also allows anyone who suffered injury or loss from the crime to seek compensatory damages through legal action.

A Class D felony is punishable by a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Stronger Penalties For Cyberattacks – Lawmakers passed legislation to continue efforts to fight cybercrime and protect Tennessean’s online data. The new law adds cyberattacks to critical infrastructure vandalism crimes, making it a Class C felony.

Prohibiting Taxpayer-Funded Ransomware Payments - Cybercriminals have increasingly targeted federal and state agencies, disrupted critical systems and compromised citizens' private data.

A law passed in 2024 prevents taxpayer funds from being used for ransom payments to cybercriminals to discourage cybercriminals from targeting Tennessee.

The legislation forbids state entities from engaging in contracts, negotiations, or payments with known system hackers.

It also mandates state entities notify the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in the event of a cyber-attack.

Sen. Hensley may be contacted at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N. Suite 742, Nashville, Tenn., 37243 or call 614-742-3100 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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