By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn.– The House on Wednesday passed Gov. Bill Haslam’s bill to require mandatory jail time for people with repeat domestic violence convictions.
The chamber voted 98-1 to approve the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Coley of Bartlett, despite objections from some lawmakers that the measure could be seen as an unfunded mandate for local governments.
“This cost is going to be passed on to local governments, and I don’t know about y’all, but I told my people that I won’t do them like the feds do the state,” said Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, who voted against the bill.
Haslam earlier this month brokered an agreement with the representatives of local governments to break an impasse over the domestic abuse measure. Under the deal, the state will increase the reimbursement to local jails by $2 dollars per day, at a total annual price tag of about $4 million.
News release from House Republican Caucus:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The effort to combat human trafficking received a major boost today with passage of an important bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives. If the bill becomes law, victims of human trafficking offenses would have a civil right of action for actual damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, any combination of these, or any other appropriate relief.
Representative Jim Coley (R–Bartlett), a strong advocate for the rights of victims, celebrated the passage of House Bill 2489–a personal priority for Coley. The legislation passed with unanimous, bipartisan support.
The organizer of a trip by 15 state legislators to China this summer says he returned with a “verbal commitment” from Chinese officials to match up to $5 million in state money for establishing educational ties between the nation and Tennessee.
The lawmakers, including Reps. Ryan Haynes and Harry Tindell of Knoxville, spent 10 days touring the Asian nation last month.
In interviews, several said they were impressed by the extraordinary amount of construction under way and by the extraordinary amount of pollution. They offered mixed reviews on other matters, including the quality of the food they were served.
The legislators were responsible for paying their own airfare and related expenses, which two said was about $2,500. Once in China, their food, travel and lodging costs were covered by Hanban, a branch of the Chinese government, said Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, who organized the trip. Some said they used campaign funds to cover their portion of the cost.
Both Democratic and Republican legislators have put out news releases today on the occasion of Gov. Bill Haslam signing bills that deal with sex trafficking.
In almost an oddity for this year, the legislation was sponsored on a bipartisan basis — Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis, in the Senate and Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, in the House.
The releases are below.
By Erik Schelzig
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The demise of a bill seeking to allow faculty and staff to carry guns on the campuses of public colleges has led to a flare-up between Republican lawmakers in the Tennessee House.
Freshman Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden sent an email close to midnight Tuesday to Rep. Jim Coley of Bartlett that criticizes his fellow Republican for “acts of retaliation” last week in sending the measure to a study committee after the legislative session adjourns.
“I hope you’re still proud of your cowardly actions,” Holt wrote in the email.
Holt, who told reporters Wednesday that he has since made up with Coley, wrote in the email that the move made the House GOP caucus look “dysfunctional and incompetent.”