Hagerty, Blackburn Introduce ‘Restoring Law and Order Act’

Tennessee’s two U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would speed up the process of analyzing sexual assault kits after Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher was abducted and killed by a habitual offender two weeks ago.

“United States Senators Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Restoring Law and Order Act in response to the violence plaguing communities across America,” according to a joint press release. “Compared to mid-2019, America’s largest cities have seen a 50% increase in homicides and a 36% increase in aggravated assaults. In Tennessee, Memphis has experienced a series of shockingly violent crimes.”

The law will provide federal grants to local law enforcement for the purpose of hiring more law enforcement officers, detaining and deporting more illegal aliens, and reforming pretrial detention laws that the senators believe are too weak.

The bill also specifically addresses rape kits.

It will require the federal government to “study the deficiencies in processing rape kits and availability of the test kits” and give local law enforcement funding to “eliminate investigatory backlogs and more-quickly process criminal evidence.”

Blackburn also specifically addressed rape kits.

She said:

“We need to increase funding for law enforcement, root out weak on crime prosecutors and judges, and keep violent criminals locked up. Senator Hagerty and I are introducing the Restoring Law and Order Act to ensure state and local law enforcement agencies have the resources needed to combat violent crime and improve the processing of DNA evidence such as rape kits. It is sad that in Washington, Democrats have made heroes out of criminals and turned police officers into villains. The defund the police movement is demanding compassion for criminals, but not their innocent victims. Senator Hagerty and I believe we must fund, not defund, the police and are proud to Back the Blue. This legislation will provide much-needed resources to our brave law enforcement officers so they can hunt down violent criminals and keep Tennesseans safe.”

Cleotha Abston, the man charged in Fletcher’s murder, had spent nearly two decades behind bars for a previous kidnapping.

After he was released, he allegedly continued his pattern of behavior as a predator, including a 2021 alleged sexual assault of an as-yet-unidentified woman.

The sexual assault kit, which matched Abston’s DNA, was not processed until just after Abston allegedly kidnapped and murdered Fletcher.

Had it been processed sooner, it is possible that Abston would have been off the streets, and that Fletcher would still be alive.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty” by Bill Hagerty.


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10 Thoughts to “Hagerty, Blackburn Introduce ‘Restoring Law and Order Act’”

  1. Debbie

    Has someone been held criminally not civilly accountable from the collector of the rape kit, to the lab director and hospital for this gross failure the TN Senators can puff all they want to put on the show…..

  2. Molly

    Well that is Brilliant
    Give federal tax $$$ once so the recipient can choke on the recurring financial obligation, grow government, & invite federal overreach
    NO NO NO
    Have private & university labs certified & contracted to perform testing on a regional basis
    Thereby reducing publicly funded liabilities
    A realistic & practical approach
    Yeah, I know it’s a show bill that won’t go anywhere due to the current balance in the senate

  3. Chiron Venizelos

    There is no doubt but what all forensic examinations might be improved but there’s one topic that NO ONE in government seems to address, and that is the need for bringing back capital punishment. People like Cleotha Abston should be hanged; it would save the taxpayers an enormous amount of money and the assurance of swift and unvarying punishment would serve as the best of all possible deterrents..

  4. Mark Knofler

    Nothing to fear Marsha’s name is attached to it, so there’s ZERO chance it gets any traction. Gives her something to whine about when she’s on TV.

    Hagerty should distance himself from co-sponsoring any bills with her. She is the kiss of death.

  5. Nancy

    That is great news! Both of
    the Rinos want to add to the inflationary spending!
    I wonder if they can get soft on crime governor Bill Lee to support longer prison sentences?

  6. 83ragtop50

    That’s right. Throw “free” grant money at the problem one time and force those jurisdictions that take the bait to pick up the tab for the indefinite future. Stupid.

  7. Stuart I. Anderson

    It’s a sad day when two stalwart conservative senators like Bill (Heritage-88%) and Marsha (87%) push legislation that will expand the federal role in what the U.S. Constitution has reserved for the state and local governments. Have we not learned that with “free” borrowed or printed federal money comes very unfree federal control?

  8. william delzell

    You mean, the “Order Without Law” Act!

  9. Karen

    Great…another law that won’t be followed! How about we actually enforce what is already on the books?!