(NASHVILLE, TN), June 28, 2012 — Several public safety measures sponsored by Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) top the list of key bills passed by the General Assembly this year that will become effective on Sunday, July 1. The bills include legislation Overbey carried on behalf of Governor Bill Haslam to curb domestic violence in Tennessee. The legislation requires mandatory jail time and stiffer fines against repeat domestic violence offenders. It also provides a ten-year “look back” provision when counting previous offenses when a crime involves serious bodily harm.
“Tennessee is 5th in the nation in the number of crimes due to domestic violence,” said Senator Overbey. “This legislation will take repeat offenders off the street, and I was pleased to shepherd this key initiative in Governor Haslam’s safety package through the State Senate.”
In addition, two bills sponsored by Overbey designed to crack down on drunk driving will go into effect on Sunday. One authorizes judges to order the use of an ignition interlock device for any person granted a restricted driver license, while the other brings clarity to Tennessee’s law regarding driving while under the influence of prescription drugs.
The interlock legislation allows judges to order devices to remain on the vehicle of a person convicted of drunk driving during the entire period of the restricted license. The prescription drug measure ensures that state law does not provide an excuse or a defense for offenders who do not have physical control of their vehicles due to them being under the influence of an intoxicant drug prescribed lawfully.
“It was important that we have clarity to ensure that those who take intoxicating substances and get behind the wheel of a car are accountable for their actions,” Overbey added.
Other public safety bills co-sponsored by Overbey that will take effect on Sunday include:
- A new law expanding the definition of racketeering activity under the state’s RICO statue stiffening penalties for gang-related activities and making it easier to prosecute gang members.
- Legislation that gives victims of human trafficking a civil cause of action to sue the person who has victimized them.
- A new law to ensure a multiple DUI offender receives the appropriate punishment when he or she endangers a child in their vehicle by driving under the influence.
- Legislation to ensure that prosecution and conviction is authorized for displaying sexual activity to a minor via electronic communication regardless of whether the victim is a minor or an undercover police officer posing as a minor.
The 107th General Assembly adjourned on May 1 after four months of deliberations. Enactment dates of laws passed by the legislature most commonly become effective on the date in which they are signed, July 1 or January 1.