(NASHVILLE, TN), June 29, 2012 — Several key bills sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and passed by the General Assembly this year will become effective on Sunday, July 1. The new laws include two separate bills to protect children and a measure to stiffen penalties for fraudulent investment operations, or Ponzi schemes.
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.
The first child protection law requires a person convicted of aggravated rape on or after July 1, 2012 to serve 100 percent of the sentence imposed by the court undiminished by any sentence reduction credits the person may be eligible for or earn.
“The new law redefines ‘multiple rapist’ to mean a person convicted two or more times of rape, or a person convicted of at least one time of aggravated rape and at least one time of rape,” added Beavers. “This was a major step forward in seeing that child sex offenders remain behind bars.”
The second child endangerment law ensures a multiple DUI offender receives the appropriate punishment when he or she endangers a child in their vehicle by driving under the influence. This new law makes sure Tennessee’s statues are clear for multiple DUI offenders that the punishment for child endangerment, which is 30 days, runs consecutively with any other sentence received.
“Currently, multiple offenders do not receive an enhanced sentence like first offenders due to ambiguity in the language of a 2005 law which enhanced penalties for child endangerment for DUI offenders,” added Beavers. “We wanted to make it clear that these offenders will pay the price for endangering children while drinking and driving.”
Finally, legislation is set to take effect on July 1 that allows District Attorneys in Tennessee to more effectively prosecute and punish those who defraud multiple victims through Ponzi schemes or other fraudulent investment practices. Before, Tennessee law would only have allowed criminals like Bernie Madoff who defraud multiple victims to be punished by 8 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
The new law allows prosecutors to aggregate the sum in order to provide stiffer punishment when it totals $250,000 or more,” Beavers continued. “The new statute makes the crime a Class A felony subject to 15 to 60 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
“We need more than a slap on the wrist for this kind of investment fraud,” Beavers continued. “I am very pleased the General Assembly has approved these public safety measures and glad all three will be implemented beginning July 1.”