Bipartisan Proposal To Prohibit judges From Incentivizing Sterilization Passes Committee

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A proposal by State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and State Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) to prohibit Tennessee judges from offering defendants reduced jail time in exchange for sterilization passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 8-0 this morning. 

Senate Bill 2133 prohibits a sentencing court from making a sentencing determination based on defendant’s consent or refusal to any form of temporary or permanent birth control, sterilization, or family planning services, regardless of whether the defendant’s consent is voluntarily given. 

“Having children is one of the most important decisions an individual will ever make in his or her life,” Senator Kelsey said. “The decision to have children should be left out of the courtroom.” 

Senator Kelsey and Rep. Akbari filed the bill in response to a White County judge offering reduced jail time to defendants who volunteered for sterilization. Judge Sam Benningfield said his goal was to break a “vicious cycle” of repeat drug offenders with children. The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct found that Judge Benningfield violated rules regarding judicial independence, integrity, and propriety. 

“Reproduction is a fundamental right,” Senator Kelsey said. “In Tennessee, we respect life and we respect reproductive rights.” 

The bill in no way prohibits defendants from seeking sterilization services if they so choose. It simply prohibits judges from incentivizing sterilization with reduced jail time. The bill will next be heard in the full Senate. Senator Lee Harris (D-Memphis) is a co-sponsor of the legislation. 

Senator Kelsey represents Cordova, East Memphis, and Germantown.  He serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  

 


EPB Achieves green|light Certification

green|spaces announces that EPB has completed its green|light Certification. To celebrate the organization’s completion of the green|light certification, green ribbon cutting ceremonies will take place at each participating building.   A program of green|spaces, green|light focuses on cultivating, promoting and commemorating sustainable business practices in organizations ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Chamber Calendar Of Events Oct. 22-26

Oct. 23, Creating a Business Plan: Your Map to Success 9 to 11 a.m. INCubator: 100 Cherokee Blvd. (Park across the street in the Republic lot) Whether you just tried applying the Pitch Page worksheets after attending Small Business Orientation, or you're a mature business looking for a refocus or in growth mode, this course is for you! From the ground up, we'll facilitate ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC To Build Soccer-Specific Stadium For 2020 Season

Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club is building a state-of-the-art, soccer-specific facility, where the team will host home games beginning in 2020. For its inaugural season, the club will play at Chattanooga Christian School’s David Stanton Field in 2019.   David Stanton Field seats 3,500, and the club plans to install additional temporary seating allowing up to approximately ... (click for more)

Case Against Soddy Daisy High ROTC Instructor Dismissed After Judge Sends Case To Grand Jury

The road rage case against a Soddy Daisy ROTC instructor was dismissed on Wednesday after a judge on Monday had sent the case to the Grand Jury. An order was issued on Wednesday signed by District Attorney Neal Pinkston and attorney Lee Davis that "no billed" the aggravated assault charge against 47-year-old Timothy Lee Hodges. Attorney Davis said, " Following a hearing in ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dear Faux Pelini

It has been my experience that of all the tribes and herds of different people on earth, sports writers are among the funniest people of all. Oh, there isn’t anything real sexy about Villanova beating Georgetown or a baseball player hitting for the cycle. Now, if a player hits a single, double, triple and homer in that order, that’s “a natural cycle,” and that is kind of fun to ... (click for more)