Tennessee General Assembly members will apparently wait another year before they consider Marsy’s Law for Tennessee, which, according to advocates, would strengthen the rights of crime victims in Tennessee’s State Constitution.
Advocates for the law said this week that members of the legislature have postponed considering the law. This, because COVID-19 forced legislators to shorten this year’s session. Marsy’s Law advocates said this in an emailed press release.
“We are very disappointed, but it became clear that there is simply not enough time to successfully clear all of the steps in both the House and Senate needed for passage this year,” said State Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain), who sponsored the legislation in the Tennessee House.
“But the need is clear. Crime victims are counting on us. We look forward to beginning again when the next legislature convenes in January.”
State Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntingdon) said in the press release that legislators this year had other priorities.
“This is one of many important issues that will unfortunately have to be delayed for now as the General Assembly works to quickly address important budget items and other COVID-related issues before adjourning for the year,” said Stevens, who sponsored the bill in the state senate.
“We are grateful to our legislative colleagues, to local law enforcement, and especially to the crime victims and their family members who have underscored the importance of this legislation and protecting victim rights.”
As The Tennessee Star reported last week, supporters had hoped legislators would have at least considered Marsy’s Law before they adjourn their session for the year.
This resolution, if passed, would ensure that crime victims have equal, constitutional rights on the same level as those accused and convicted of crimes, according to a Marsy’s Law press release. If it had passed in two consecutive general assemblies this year, the constitutional amendment guaranteeing these protections would have gone on the November 2022 ballot for voters to approve.
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