Haslam Signs Gang-Enhanced Sentencing Bill In Memphis

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Goveror Bill Haslam on Wednesday held a ceremonial bill signing in Memphis for legislation that rewrites and simplifies the criminal gang offense enhanced punishment law.

Gang-related crimes are of increasing concern across Tennessee, in the state’s rural and urban communities, and the bill, HB 196/SB 202, changes the definition of “criminal gang offense” from a vague and broad definition to a specific list of offenses that will make it easier for prosecutors to seek a greater sentence.

“The good news is the number of repeated violent crimes in Tennessee is decreasing. Yet, we continue to have one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation,” Governor Haslam said. “This legislation gives prosecutors another tool to fight criminal gang activity and help make Tennessee safer.”

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, through May of this year murders are down almost 22 percent, robberies have decreased almost 17 percent, and aggravated assaults have declined more than 20 percent compared to 2010.

The offenses included in the legislation are crimes that Tennessee communities combat every day, such as robbery, carjacking, and drug possession with intent to sell, among others. Under this new law, if one of the defined offenses is committed, prosecutors must also prove the defendant committed the crime as a part of a criminal gang and must prove the defendant is a member of the criminal gang to enhance the sentence.

The gang enhanced-sentencing bill is one of several pieces of legislation introduced by the administration to address the challenge of gang violence in Tennessee. Other laws enacted since 2011 create tougher sentences for certain types of crimes committed by three or more acting in concert, tougher sentences for convicted felons who persist in illegally possessing guns, and mandatory sentences for repeat domestic violence offenders where physical injury is involved.

The new legislation is effective July 1.


Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming city council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Grohn). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. CHA’S YOU Summer Leadership Program Presented by Kate Morgan, Chattanooga Housing Authority V. Ordinances – Final Reading: (None) VI. Ordinances – First Reading: (None) VII. Resolutions: ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Getting New Fire Equipment

The Soddy Daisy fire department will be getting some new equipment. At the commission meeting Thursday night bids were approved for the purchase and installation of emergency lights for the new squad trucks.   Another bid for $12,705 was approved to buy skid units, which are tanks and pumps for the trucks. These allow the firefighters to work off-road, such as for extinguishing ... (click for more)

Could The Marriage Decision Spark A New Independence Day?

I confess that this year I am having a hard time with the idea of celebrating the 4th of July Independence Day. It is not because I am not thankful to God for what was done on that day, what it represents, and the blessings I’ve experienced that flow from it. On the other hand, I want to think that maybe this year’s celebration will mark a period in our history in which a new movement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Pre-Fourth Observations

I hate to do this, right on the heels of my monthly ‘Walk in the Garden,’ but I have more things on my desk that I dare not leave unnoticed before tomorrow’s Star-Spangled celebration. Foremost is the plea to anyone who shoots off firecrackers to please wear eye protection and ask watchers to stand back. Our eye doctors say firecracker-related injuries have doubled in the last three ... (click for more)

Weather Prevails As Ridgeside, Red Bank Ends In A Draw

The Red Bank Gators and the Ridgeside Dolphins were supposed to swim each other for the second time in three days, but the overall winner was the weather man. The meet had not yet reached the midway point when lightning, thunder and heavy rain caused a delay with Ridgeside leading 165-156 following the medley relays. After a discussion with the respective pool reps, coaches ... (click for more)

TSWA Announces All-State Softball Teams

 The Tennessee Sports Writers Association has announced its all-state high school softball teams for 2015. Local selections include: AAA - Kayla Boseman (Fr), Ooltewah and Hallie Davis (Sr), Walker Valley; AA - Kaili Crawley (Fr) of Central; A - McKenna Morgan (Jr), Sale Creek; and, Division II-AA - Lauren Lewis (Sr), Kayla Hughes (Sr) and Cheyenne Lindsey (Fr) of Baylor.  ... (click for more)