Sunday, February 04, 2024

Tennessee General Assembly Week 3 Recap

Rep. Susan Lynn
From Rep. Susan Lynn, Jan. 12,2023-  Jillian's Law Honors Slain Belmont Student

An amendment naming a new law in honor of Jillian Ludwig, an 18-year-old Belmont University freshman who was fatally shot while walking in a Nashville park last year, advanced out of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday.

House Bill 1640, also known as “Jillian’s Law,” aims to improve public safety by requiring criminal defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial to be committed to an appropriate treatment facility. Current state law does not provide this requirement.

“The trauma inflicted on the Ludwig family, her friends, and the Belmont community by this senseless act is inconceivable,” said State Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, who introduced the amendment. “Every day that a dangerous criminal is free on a technicality is a day that the public safety is a serious risk.”

House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland. filed House Bill 1640 following the murder of Ludwig, who was fatally shot while walking in a Nashville park on Nov. 7. Her killer, Shaquille Taylor, was a repeat violent offender prosecuted in April 2023 for a separate crime of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The case against Taylor was dismissed after three court-appointed physicians testified he was incompetent to stand trial and was released from custody.

The legislation would additionally require individuals deemed incompetent to stand trial to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which serves as a namecheck database of people prohibited from buying or owning firearms. Jillian’s Law is scheduled to be heard in the House Criminal Justice Committee on Feb. 6.

Tennessee Republicans Stand with Texas to Secure Southern Border

House Republicans have filed several pieces of legislation in support of Texas and its fight to secure the southern border amid surging illegal immigration.

House Joint Resolution 801, sponsored by State Rep. Jake McCalmon, R-Franklin, urges the federal government to do everything in its power to get the border crisis under control. A separate resolution filed by State Rep. Jody Barrett, R-Dickson, also encourages Gov. Bill Lee to continue allowing the Tennessee National Guard to assist Texas in its efforts to combat illegal immigration.

“What’s happening at the southern border is a foreign invasion and the Biden administration is complicit,” McCalmon said. “President Biden has been derelict in his duty to protect American citizens and secure our nation’s borders. The federal government’s inaction has put Tennesseans and Americans across the country at risk. We cannot afford the current administration’s open border policies, which is why I am calling on Biden to do his job and use every resource possible to stop the invasion.”

House Joint Resolution 801 is scheduled to be heard in the Departments and Agencies Subcommittee on Feb. 7.

Additionally, a proposed amendment to House Bill 2190, sponsored by State Rep. Monty Fritts, R-Kingston, would also authorize the governor, in accordance with the state constitution, to deploy a brigade-sized force of between 3,000 and 5,000 troops to Texas for up to a year. The deployment could be extended for up to six months at a time upon approval of the General Assembly.

There have been more than 10 million reported illegal border crossings within the last three years, which include apprehensions by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and those who evaded capture. Since 2019, Tennessee has sent 562 National Guard soldiers to help secure the southern border.


State of the State: Gov. Bill Lee will deliver his sixth State of the State address to members of the General Assembly and Tennesseans on Monday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. Central Standard Time. The joint session will be held in the House chamber at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville. The address will be available on Lee’s Facebook and YouTube channels and aired statewide.

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