The House Democrat Review is a weekly feature that gives Tennesseans an in-depth look at what our Democratic state legislators have been working on this week, and a glimpse into what’s planned for the coming week at our state house. This week:
- Stiffer Penalities for child endangerment
- Crooks with guns
State House Democrats sponsor bill increasing penalties for child endangerment
Bill creates separate charge of child endangerment for crimes involving children eight and under
On Thursday, the House unanimously passed a bill expanding the penalties for parents and guardians who knowingly expose to or fail to protect their child from abuse or neglect that result in physical injury.
“Our most vulnerable Tennesseans are our children and we have an obligation to do everything we can to protect them from those who would do them harm,”said State Representative Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville). “This bill says to any neglectful parent or guardian that you will go to jail if you knowingly let harm befall your child.”
Under the legislation sponsored by State Representatives Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville) and Harry Tindell (D-Knoxville), the offense of child endangerment would become a separate offense that comes with a Class A misdemeanor charge. Child endangerment is described in the legislation as an offense that occurs when a parent or custodian of a child eight years of age or younger fails to protect the child from abuse or neglect resulting in physical injury to the child.
“The more protections we can provide the children of this state, the more they will succeed and become better parents for a new generation of children,” said Pitts.
The bill is expected to be taken up in the Senate later this month.
State House Democrats look to expand “crooks with guns” legislation
Bills would extend sentences and create additional violations for offenders
This week, House Democrats advanced legislation that would strengthen Tennessee’s criminal procedures and laws relating to crimes dealing with violence and use of a firearm. The bills enhance previous legislation adopted under the “Crooks with Guns” package passed in 2008.
“Nothing is more important to a neighborhood that public safety,” said Pitts. “If towns and communities don’t feel safe, good jobs and good schools become that much further out of reach.”
In all, seven bills were passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. Two bills that stood out among the group included House Bills 607 and 2193. HB607 would require certain repeat offenders to serve an extended minimum of their sentence for conviction of aggravated robbery with a firearm, while HB2193 allows for all aggravated burglaries committed within a 24-hour period count as separate prior offenses.
“There need to be serious consequences for committing these types of crimes and these bills will allow our local law enforcement to have the tools necessary to lock up bad people for a long time,” said Pitts.
The bills will now head to the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee for review.