Legislation fighting crime highlights this week

TOP PHOTO: Senator Ken Yager (left) attending a Campbell County Commission meeting earlier this year.

NASHVILLE, TN (SPECIAL TO WLAF) – Week eight of the second session of the 113th General Assembly is now complete. The Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee concluded its business for the year, while many other committees will be working off their final calendars next week. Every committee is advancing important legislation to improve the lives of Tennesseans. This week, I stood in strong support of legislation that will make our communities safer. Fighting crime is of the utmost importance, and I am proud to help fight crime across the state and most importantly, in my district.

Denying bail for violent crimes

This week I voted and stood in support of a new proposal to expand judges’ ability to deny bail for certain violent crimes when it is in the best interest of their communities. Current law limits judges’ ability to deny bail to first degree murder charges. If ratified by voters, Senate Joint Resolution 919 would allow judges to deny bail for those charged with violent offenses of terrorism, second degree murder, aggravated rape and grave torture. It would also allow judges to deny bail for violent offenses that would require the defendant, if convicted, to serve at least 85 percent of their entire sentence under the state’s Truth in Sentencing law.

Expanding the option for a judge to deny bail for violent offenders will help maintain law and order by demonstrating that acts of violence will be met with strict consequences and accountability. It will also help protect victims and the general public by keeping certain defendants who pose a threat to others in police custody. Judges should be able to use their discretion to make these decisions in the best interest of their communities.

Under the measure, judges would only be allowed to deny bail when the proof is evident or the presumption of guilt is great. It also would require judges to place into the record the reason for denying bail.

The Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act

Senate Bill 1972, also known as the Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act, would require aggravated assault suspects in certain domestic violence cases to wear a global position monitoring system (GPS) if they are released on bond.

Under the legislation, a GPS service provider must be able to notify a victim’s cell phone if their alleged attacker is within a certain proximity of their location. The company would also be required to notify local law enforcement when a violation of a defendant’s bond conditions occurred.

There were 61,637 victims of domestic violence statewide in 2022, according to the most recent data from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. I look forward to supporting this bill when it is heard in my committees as well as on the Senate floor. Domestic violence should be tolerated, and I am proud to support this bill.

I invite everyone to visit the State Capitol. If you have children in grades 5-12, they can even serve as a page in the Senate. If your child would like to be a part of state government and would like to learn how laws are made, you can contact my office. I will do my best to accommodate all senate page requests. It is an honor to serve as the State Senator for nine of the finest counties in the state of Tennessee. If I can ever be of assistance to you, please contact me at 615-741-1449 or sen.ken.yager@capitol.tn.gov. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/08/2024-2PM)