By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Attorneys and law enforcement officials speaking before a legislative panel examining criminal justice reform in Tennessee said Monday that the state’s sentencing laws should be reviewed.
Nashville criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor David Raybin was among those who spoke before the Senate Judiciary Study Committee, which was scheduled to meet again on Tuesday and hear from city and police officials, district attorneys, and criminal justice advocates.
Also suggested was reviving a sentencing commission, which was dissolved in 1995.
Raybin said the commission made recommendations that were beneficial to lawmakers.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The House on Monday approved two key pieces of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s anti-crime package and sent the bills for the governor’s signature.
The chamber voted 91-0 to increase penalties for violent crimes committed by groups of three or more people. A bill to enhance penalties for gun possession by people with previous felony convictions was approved on a 95-0 vote with no debate.
The companion bills were approved earlier by the Senate. Haslam included the estimated $6 million cost of the enhanced penalties in his budget proposal, but did not include funding for other parts of his crime package.
As a consequence, some of those measures have faced a bumpier road in the Legislature. They include bills seeking to create a prescription drug database and to require mandatory jail time for people receiving repeat domestic violence convictions.
The domestic violence bill has been further complicated by charges filed against Rep. David Hawk last week after his wife said he assaulted her. Hawk has denied the charges and alleged that his wife threatened him with a gun.
The governor’s plan was produced over the course of a year by representatives of 11 state agencies to reduce drug abuse and trafficking, lower violent crime and cut the rate of repeat offenders.
Note: The bills are SB2250, Ifirearms) and SB2252 (gangs)