Three bills to elevate charges, punishment, provide personal safety
NASHVILLE, Tenn., (June 27, 2016) – A group of six Republican state lawmakers gathered for a press conference today at the Legislative Plaza to announce proposals designed to protect members of Tennessee’s law enforcement through the enhancement of criminal charges, commiserate punishment and personal safety measures. The TN Blue Lives Matter coalition includes three senate members and three house members.
A package of three bills was announced at the press conference with sponsors speaking to each legislative proposal:
- Sponsors Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) spoke to the elevation of an assault of a law enforcement officer from a Class A or B misdemeanor to a Class E felony with an increase in the fine of up to $5,000 for an assault and up to $15,000 for an aggravated assault.
- Sponsors Senator Mark Green, MD (R-Clarksville) and Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) addressed the designation of “hate crime” assigned to the killing or attempted killing of an individual due to the actual or perceived employment as a law enforcement officer. The crime will be classified as a Class A felony with the presumptive sentence awarded at the maximum of the range permitted.
- Sponsors Senator Mike Bell, (R-Riceville) and Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) spoke to the protection of the home address of a member of law enforcement. A misdemeanor crime will be charged carrying a fine of $500 of accidental publication and $2,000 if intentional without the permission of the law enforcement officer.
Statements Offered by Legislative Sponsors
“I have enormous respect for the men and women who put on a uniform and risk their lives on a daily basis to serve and protect our communities. Just recently, I read about an incident in our state that involved individuals firing multiple shots at a highway patrol station. Frankly, I’m tired of watching the news and seeing our public servants assaulted by those they protect. Individuals must realize that attacking a police officer or a firefighter or emergency medical personnel in this state, simply, will not be tolerated, and I believe this legislation will help meet that goal.” – House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (TN HD 26) who hosted Chattanooga Police Officer Kyle Moses at the press conference. Moses was one of the law enforcement team who stormed the Chattanooga terrorist on July 16, 2015 who targeted military servicemen.
“To honor those who protect and serve the public daily through their willing sacrifice is a duty we must fulfill. Their safety in fighting crime is critical to our own.” – Senator Todd Gardenhire (TN SD 10)
“As a nation that prides itself on being a nation of laws, we must do everything possible to protect those we have empowered to enforce our laws. The men and women who have taken the oath to ‘serve and protect’ must also be protected.” – Rep. Mark White (TN HD 83)
“While I’ve never served as a law enforcement officer, as a veteran with trips to Iraq and Afghanistan I understand what it means to raise your right hand a swear an oath to protect freedom. Our men and women in blue, and all the other shades of uniforms who place themselves between evil, those who would do us harm, to protect us deserve our unending devotion. Even more they deserve our protection. People who target police should pay a higher price as it is an attack on all of us, it is an attack on freedom itself. I pray this ‘Blue Lives Matter Initiative’ will raise awareness to this despicable trend and rally the citizens of Tennessee to defend those who defend us.” – Senator Mark Green, MD (TN SD 22)
“I have so much respect for law enforcement officers across the State of Tennessee. I couldn’t be more honored to be in a position where I can help to ensure they are valued and honored. These law enforcement officers endure so much for our community, so it’s really a privilege to be a part of this movement and give back to them.” – Rep. Andy Holt (TN HD 76)
“Our men and women in blue are laying their lives on the line every day for us. It’s time we as a state recognize that fact by adding greater protections in the law for those who sacrifice their safety to protect us.” Senator Mike Bell (TN SD 9)
For more information on the legislative package and the Tennessee Blue Lives Matter, visit http://www.tnbluelivesmatter.com/