Ready For a New Year…

On January 6, 2012, in News from Nashville 2012, by Mark Norris

January 6, 2012

As we turn the calendar to a new year, we are looking forward to the beginning of the legislative session.  The second half of the 107th General Assembly convenes Tuesday, January 10th at noon. 

We have a new face in our office – Tonya Shisler has recently joined the team as my Executive Assistant.  Although Tonya has many years of experience as an assistant, she has been in the corporate world and is new to state government.

Please come by when you are in Nashville, and don’t hesitate to call if we may ever be of service.  Thank you for allowing me to represent you.  It is a privilege.

Mark

 

 

 

Norris’ legislation to curb gang-related drive by shootings to take effect January 1

Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) that strengthens penalties against those who discharge a firearm into an occupied habitation is among several new laws set to take effect on January 1. The new law aims to curb “drive-by shootings” which is a growing problem with gang-related violence in the state.

“Part of a gang’s motivation is to spark fear and intimidation into the hearts of anyone who opposes them,” added Norris. “This is an especially egregious crime because children are often the victims, like the five year-old boy who was shot in the back while at his home in Memphis earlier this year. Criminals often claim they do not know the home was occupied, meaning they could only be charged with at the most a Class E felony.”

“This bill puts some teeth in the law so that those who fire on a home will face much tougher penalties, including additional jail time,” he added.

Presently, state law prescribes that offenders can only be charged with reckless endangerment, which is a Class A misdemeanor, even if it involves putting a person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, unless it is committed with a deadly weapon which would be a Class E felony. Norris’ law creates an additional section to the state’s “Reckless Endangerment” law to make discharging a weapon into a residence a Class C felony if it is occupied and a Class D felony if no one is present.

Norris has sponsored a series of anti-crime laws passed in recent years designed to curb gun-related violence and focusing resources on keeping these criminals behind bars longer to protect the public. Several of those measures are part of the “crooks with guns” package which was designed to crack down on gun violence in the state.

“This new law gives law enforcement the tools they need to successfully prosecute this crime,” Norris concluded.

Governor Haslam Unveils Comprehensive Public Safety Strategy

On Thursday, Gov. Haslam announced a comprehensive, multi-year action plan designed to improve public safety statewide.

One of the three goals of the public safety action plan – curbing violent crime – embraces the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris in “Crooks with Guns” and gang violence initiatives one of which took effect on January 1(see article above).

“Keeping our citizens safe is one of state government’s primary responsibilities,” Haslam said.

In addition to Enacting tougher sentences for gun possession by those with prior violent felony convictions and imposing tougher sentences for certain types of gang-related crimes, the Governor proposes:

Making improvements to the current prescription drug data base to make it easier to identify abusers;

Developing regional alliances with other states to tackle prescription drug abuse;

Placing non-violent drug addicts into drug court treatment programs;

Realigning under the Department of Correction the supervision of adult felony offenders to include probation, parole and community corrections; and

Mandating incarceration time for repeat domestic violence offenders.

Senator Norris will be the prime sponsor of the Governor’s legislation which will be presented in the second half of the 107th General Assembly which convenes in Nashville at Noon next Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

Ramsey: State Senate Redistricting Map ‘Fair and Legal’

Lt.Governor Ron Ramsey today announced the release of the Senate’s first-ever Republican-drawn redistricting map. The plan was put together by the Senate’s Working Group on Redistricting with the assistance of the Office of Legal Services and is now available at the General Assembly’s website.

We were committed to drawing a fair and legal state senate map and that is exactly what we have done.” said Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey. “The map emphasizes regional integrity and adheres to state and federal laws as well as court precedent. I look forward to concluding the redistricting process swiftly and efficiently as soon as we go into session next week.”

This year’s redistricting has been the most open, interactive and transparent redistricting process in Tennessee history. By placing an unprecedented amount of information and data online for use by the general public, Lt. Governor Ramsey opened up the process to any Tennessean with access to a computer.

In addition to Lt. Governor Ramsey the Senate Working Group on redistricting included three regional coordinators: Majority Leader Mark Norris, Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron and Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson.

This unprecedented release includes both a statewide map as well as regional and urban center breakout maps for public perusal. A comprehensive memorandum explaining the new map in detail can also be found at the website: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/redist/redistricting.html.

Senator Norris will present the redistricting bills in Judiciary on Tuesday, January 10.

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