Tennessee House passes governor's proposed get-tough approach to domestic assault repeat offenders

Tennessee House passes governor's proposed get-tough approach to domestic assault repeat offenders

April 18th, 2012 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

The Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville.

The Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville.

Photo by The Tennessean /Times Free Press.

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.