NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Senator Ken Yager (R-Harriman) has received full Senate approval for “Lynn’s Law” as the General Assembly prepares to wrap up its 2013 legislative session later this week. Lynn’s law is named for 19 year-old Lynn Cameron, a developmentally disabled Illinois woman who was abandoned by her mother in a Caryville, Tennessee bar. Unable to tell authorities who she was and how she got there, Lynn was left without identification and put into emergency care until she could be identified.
Senator Yager said the bill was brought to the General Assembly by Rep. Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro).
“When law enforcement authorities sought to prosecute the mother, they found Tennessee law does not cover willful abandonment,” said Yager. “Fortunately, Campbell County authorities took care of her and they were able to place Lynn in a home so she could receive proper care. This could have turned out a lot worse for this young woman if she had fell into the wrong hands.”
Lynn’s Law defines abuse or neglect in the adult protection statutes to include willful abandonment or failure to pick up an adult if the caretaker knows that the person cannot take care of his or herself without assistance. The law applies to an individual or institution that has assumed the duty to provide for the care of the adult by contract or agreement and includes a parent, spouse, adult child or other relative either biological or by marriage who resides with the incapacitated adult or who regularly visits them and who knows he or she is unable to care for themselves.
Lynn’s mother was receiving compensation for providing care to her daughter by the state of Illinois. It took law enforcement authorities 10 days to identify her.
“This bill gives prosecutors the ability to prosecute this crime,” added Yager. “I thank Rep. Powers for bringing this bill to the General Assembly. It is imperative that we ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are protected from such dangerous action in the future.”
The bill is currently pending final consideration in the House of Representatives Calendar Committee.