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State Legislature Adjourns 2

2024 Session of the 113th General Assembly

 

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

This is a summary of public safety and crime issues passed during the 113th General Assembly.

Public Safety / Crime

Jillian's Law / SB 1769

Jillian’s Law passed which requires criminal defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial to be committed to an appropriate treatment facility.

The legislation came from the murder of Jillian Ludwig, an 18-year-old Belmont University freshman, who was fatally shot 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 later that year.

The law also requires individuals deemed incompetent to stand trial to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, a database of people prohibited from buying or owning firearms.

Denying bail for violent crimes / SJR 919

The General Assembly passed a resolution proposing to amend the state constitution to expand judges’ ability to deny bail for certain violent crimes when it is in the best interest of public safety.

If ratified by voters, the measure would add these criminal charges that can be denied bail:

Violent offenses of terrorism Second-degree murder Aggravated rape Grave torture

It also would allow judges to deny bail for violent offenses that would require the defendant, if convicted, to serve at least 85 percent of their entire sentence under the state’s Truth in Sentencing law.

Under the measure judges could only deny bail when the proof is evident or the presumption of guilt is great.

The reasoning for denying bail must also be put into the record.

This constitutional amendment passed its first of two required passages by the General Assembly. How Constitutional Amendments Work To ratify the constitution, a constitutional amendment must pass the general assembly twice. The first time it must pass with a simple majority voting in favor. The second time it must pass the next General Assembly by a two-thirds majority.  Finally, the amendment would become part of the state constitution if the number of yes votes equal a majority of the total votes in the following gubernatorial election.

Prohibiting ‘Ability to Pay’ To Determine Bail / SB 2565

A new law ensures a defendant’s ability to pay is not used as a determining factor when setting bail.

This law is in response to Shelby County’s new Bail Hearing Room and intended to prevent them from recklessly releasing criminals without bond based on an “Ability to Pay Calculator” to set bail.

Prioritizing Safety When Setting Bail / SB 2562

This law requires judges to prioritize the safety of communities when setting bail for defendants.

Other factors that will still be considered include: the likelihood of appearing for their court date, nature of offense, and apparent probability of conviction.

Under this legislation, the community will be put first when considering bail determinations for those charged with a crime.

Prohibiting Local Restrictions On Routine Traffic Stops / SB 2572

We passed legislation that will ensure law enforcement can conduct routine traffic stops to protect public safety.

The law is in response to The Memphis City Council passing a resolution to prohibit Memphis Police from conducting routine traffic stops.

Routine traffic stops are a proven means of catching violent offenders, drug traffickers, and other dangerous criminals.

DA Second Opinion Act / SB 1802

We passed a law that permits a neighboring District Attorney to prosecute certain county crimes if the DA in the district where the offense took place refuses to prosecute.

This law requires law enforcement to report certain major criminal investigations to District Attorneys in neighboring counties.

The law gives law enforcement officials more options.

 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 call 931-796-2018 or call 931-796-2018, or call his cell phpne at 931-212-8823 or e-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

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