NASHVILLE — Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, will honor victims of violent crime and their families in Chattanooga on Friday during a ceremonial signing of their recently passed Truth in Sentencing bill.
The law, which takes effect July 1, makes Tennessee a national leader in violent crime prevention, according to the two speakers. It requires people convicted of eight specific crimes, including second-degree murder and carjacking, to serve 100% of the sentences imposed by a judge or jury.
The signing will be at 11 a.m. in the Hamilton County Courts Buildings, first floor.
Provisions applying to 20 other crimes would require those convicted to serve 100% of their sentence as well. But for those crimes, the new law allows parole officials to consider credits for those prisoners taking advantage of programs such as anger management to reduce the time they serve to 85% of the originally imposed sentence.
The speakers say Public Chapter 988 will make Tennessee a national leader in violent crime prevention. Last year, lawmakers passed three similar bills into law boosting penalties for people convicted of crimes against women and children.
Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican who has pressed criminal justice reform measures, refused to sign Senate Bill 2248/House Bill 2656, saying similar laws in the past created "significant operational and financial strain" and saying there is no data to support the idea that the law will have its desired effect. The bills became law without his signature.
Chattanooga has been in the news lately for two mass shootings.
Five days after the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 students and two teachers were killed, Chattanooga was hit with the first of two consecutive weekend mass shootings that earned the city national media attention.
Just before 11 p.m. on May 28, gunfire erupted near 100 Cherry St. and 100 Walnut St. between two groups of young people, injuring six teenagers. Police have since arrested a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old in connection with the case. Their names were not released because they are minors.
Shortly after 2:30 a.m. on June 5, police believe multiple shooters opened fire on McCallie Avenue in front of Mary's Bar & Grill. In addition to the gunfire, several people were injured as a car attempted to leave the scene.
In all, three people were killed: Darian Hixson, 24, Myrakle Moss, 25, and Kevin Brown, 34. A total of 14 people were injured in the incident.
Police have since arrested three men in connection with the shooting. Garrian King, 28, was arrested June 9 and charged with possessing a firearm as a felon. Alexis Lewis, 36, was arrested Monday and charged with criminal homicide, reckless endangerment and possession of a firearm during the commission or attempt to commit a dangerous felony. Rodney Harris was charged Tuesday with possession of a firearm as a felon.