NASHVILLE — The House today overwhelmingly passed Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed get-tough approach to repeat offenders of domestic assault.
A number of lawmakers said they supported the concept, which is intended to deter abuse in a state with the second highest rates in the entire country. But they complained the Haslam administration is sticking local taxpayers with the costs of housing repeat offenders to longer sentences in local jails.
The state should be footing the entire $8.1 million bill, Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, said, calling the bill an “unfunded mandate” just like the federal mandates Tennessee lawmakers like to complain about.
Proponents noted Haslam is providing $780,000 for the bill and also is boosting payments to local jails for housing state felons to the tune of $4 million. Bass said that wasn’t enough, but his effort to require the state pay the entire annual cost failed.
The bill, which now goes to the Senate, imposes a 30-day minimum sentence for second offenders in domestic assault cases and 90-day minimums for third and subsequent convictions.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...