(NASHVILLE, TN), January 5, 2012 — State Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) said today he is very pleased with the comprehensive public safety package presented by Governor Bill Haslam today. Overbey said he is particularly pleased the legislation includes steps to curb prescription drug abuse and gang violence.
The package was released as lawmakers get ready to return to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for the 2012 legislative session.
“I am very supportive of Governor Haslam’s public safety package,” said Senator Overbey. “I look forward to working with him as these bills comes before us in the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Overbey, who is Vice-Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, sponsored legislation approved last year to authorize judges to allow a district attorney to use a wiretap when the interception may provide evidence of criminal gang-related activities in aggravated burglaries. He also co-sponsored several new laws cracking down on drug abuse, including the “I Hate Meth” law and the new “pill mill” statute to curb prescription drug abuse in pain clinics.
The three goals of the Governor’s public safety multi-year action plan are to significantly reduce drug abuse and drug trafficking; curb violent crime; and lower the rate of repeat offenders. The multi-year strategy includes:
- Making improvements to the current prescription drug data base to make it easier to identify abusers;
- Developing regional alliances with other states to tackle prescription drug abuse;
Placing non-violent drug addicts into drug court treatment programs;
- Imposing tougher sentences for certain types of gang-related crimes;
Enacting tougher sentences for gun possession by those with prior violent felony convictions;
- Realigning under the Department of Correction the supervision of adult felony offenders to include probation, parole and community corrections; and
- Mandating incarceration time for repeat domestic violence offenders.
Eight of the identified action steps are already underway. Some of those steps include:
- Development of a real-time database to track the purchases of pseudoephedrine products (commonly used to make meth);
- A statewide meth lab clean-up system;
- Development of a new anti-meth communications campaign;
- In-depth training of all state road troopers on drug interdiction; and
- A pilot effort in Shelby County to create a one-stop shop for assistance and services to inmates returning to the community.