NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) has been selected as a 2016 Mothers Against Drunk Driving Legislator of the Year. The award is given to state legislators across the country for efforts at the state level ensure the safety of all drivers on the road as well as advocating for the victims of impaired driving.
“I’m humbled and honored by the recognition from MADD. The loop holes that we worked to close through legislation this year were only brought to light after great tragedy. This honor is shared with the families of Rachel Lynch and Maddie Kruse,” said Norris after receiving the award.
As a result of the tragic event, Senator Norris introduced two bills designed to close a previously unknown loophole in Tennessee DUI laws. Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 2576 and Senate Bill 2577 law enforcement agencies were not reporting DUI and related offenses to a central agency. This allowed those caught drunk driving to be charged with multiple “first-time offenses” in separate jurisdictions. The driver who took the lives of Rachel and Maddie has been charged with DUI seven times since 2008, all for first-time offenses.
“The two bills work hand-in-hand to combat habitual drunk driving. It’s worthless to check a database that’s without data. After we realized there was no uniformity in DUI reporting across the state, it became clear that we had to require local law enforcement agencies to report arrests to the TBI. This would allow the arrests to be available to all jurisdictions in Tennessee,” Norris said of the two bills.
SB2576 calls for arresting officers to do due diligence in checking databases to determine if there have been any previous arrests for DUI related offenses. SB 2577 requires local law enforcement agencies to report DUI arrests to the TBI and for the TBI in turn to submit them to the National Crime Information Center after conviction.
Norris was selected along with Representative Mark White, who cosponsored the measures in the House of Representatives.
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