published Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Tennessee Senate approves increases in penalties for domestic assault

NASHVILLE — State senators took final action today on Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed increases in penalties for repeat offenders of domestic assault.

The bill, part of Haslam’s anti-crime package, was approved on a 33-0 vote and is now headed to the governor for his signature. It passed the House last week on a 97-1 vote.

The legislation boosts jail time and fines on second and subsequent convictions for domestic assault, imposing a mandatory 30-day minimum sentence for second offenders in domestic assault cases and mandatory 90-day minimums for third and subsequent convictions.

The bill originally was estimated to cost local jails about $8 million annually, which caused local governments and their supporters to protest about “unfunded mandates.”

But the legislation was amended to decrease jail time.

Haslam also agreed to increase daily reimbursements to local jails for housing state felons from $35 per prisoner to $37, which will cost another $4 million statewide.

Haslam has also provided about $600,000 to help local jails with the expected increase in the number of domestic offenders.

about Andy Sher...

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, ...

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