Domestic violence bill en route to governor

On April 25, 2012, in News 2012, by Mark Norris

By Richard Locker,
April 25, 2012

NASHVILLE – The state Senate gave final legislative approval today to a bill enhancing penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders.

The bill was part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s anti-crime legislative package and his administration helped draft a compromise that led to its passage, so he will sign it into law later.

SB 2251 provides at least 30 days in jail and a fine ranging from $350 to $3,500 for those convicted of a second offense of violence involving a family member when bodily injury occurs. For third and subsequent convictions, the mandatory jail time increases to 90 days and a fine ranging from $1,100 to $5,000. The prior conviction must have occurred within the past 10 years.

“Tennessee is ranked second in the nation in domestic violence and is fifth in the number of women murdered by men as a result of domestic violence. This legislation will help curb this despicable and ugly crime,” said Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, its sponsor.

Its co-sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, said 52 percent of violent crimes reported in Tennessee involve domestic violence.

The original bill provided for even longer jail terms but opposition developed among some lawmakers over the costs of longer jail time to counties. The governor agreed to increase the money the state pays to counties that contract to house state prisoners in local jails from $35 a day to $37 a day.

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