Tennessee State Representative Celebrates New Law Enhancing Penalties for Assaulting Police Officers

Kip Capley

A Tennessee State Representative is celebrating this week as a bill that he sponsored enacting harsher penalties for violence against police officers took effect Monday. 

The law, called The Back the Blue Act, which was sponsored by State Representative Kip Capley (R-Summertown) makes assault on a police officer a Class E felony. Previously, it was a Class A misdemeanor.

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Tennessee National Guard, State and Local Agencies Undergo Disaster Response Exercises in Severe Flooding Simulation

TN National Guard

Tennessee National Guard troops, local first responders, and personnel of other state entities participated in the Tennessee Maneuvers 2024 training exercises last week in 15 counties across the Volunteer State.

Tennessee Maneuvers is a series of disaster simulation training exercises that test the joint response capabilities of participating personnel. The exercises occurred in Bradley, Coffee, Davidson, Gibson, Hamilton, Hawkins, Knox, Loudon, Madison, Maury, McMinn, Rhea, Rutherford, Sullivan, and Wilson counties.

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Pennsylvania Bill Relaxes Licensing Rules for Veteran First Responders

Pennsylvanians serving in the military may soon see their credentials as first responders preserved while deployed.

House Bill 404, introduced by Rep. Dane Watro, R-Hazleton, would expand the commonwealth’s policy of using military experience to fulfill licensing and certification rules for EMTs. The bill would exempt those serving from continuing education or in-service training requirements. 

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Group Re-Introduces Bill to Help Teachers, First Responders Buy Homes

A bipartisan group will try again to pass a bill to help teachers and first-responders buy homes in the communities they serve.

U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reintroduced the Homes for Every Local Protector Educator and Responder (HELPER) Act. The bill would create a first-time homebuyer loan program under the Federal Housing Administration for teachers and first responders who have served at least four years.

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Memphis PD on Claims Tyre Nichols Was Targeted and Former Officers Charged with Murder Were Gang Members: ‘There Is No Evidence That Indicates That Either of These Claims Are True’

Memphis Police Department Public Information Officer Major Karen Rudolph told The Tennessee Star in an emailed statement on Tuesday, “There is no evidence that either of these claims are true,” in response to two questions posed to her by The Star.

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1,000 Memphis First Responders Will Newly Qualify for Benefits from 1978 Pension Plan, Pending City Council Approval

The City of Memphis announced Wednesday that roughly 1,000 first responders will qualify to take part in the city’s 1978 pension plan, pending the Memphis City Council’s approval.

“I am happy to say that we have agreed with the association to provide those firefighters and police officers who currently do not qualify for the 1978 pension plan  – those hired since July 1, 2016, and all future hires – to have the option to choose the 1978 or the 2016 pension plan beginning July 1, 2023, subject to city council approval. Currently, there are about 1,000 firefighters, police officers, and dispatchers who would qualify,” Mayor Jim Strickland said.

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Pennsylvania Senate Bill Proposed to Address First-Responder Shortage

State Senator Michele Brooks (R-PA-Greenville) is encouraging colleagues to back two upcoming bills she proposes to allay shortages of first responders in Pennsylvania. 

The first piece of legislation concerns insufficiencies among volunteer-firefighter companies. In a memorandum to fellow senators asking them to cosponsor her bills, the senator noted that certain professionals including corrections officers undergo rudimentary training in fire suppression. Nonetheless, that instruction does not yet count toward the over 200 training hours that aspiring volunteer firefighters must acquire in order to qualify. Brooks’s bill would make workers’ basic-firefighting lessons applicable to those seeking to join local fire departments. 

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Gov. Ron DeSantis Announces Plan to Recruit and Retain Public School Teachers, Calls Florida ‘The State Where Woke Goes to Die’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) announced a plan to recruit public school teachers from other sectors of the community and retain effective teachers who can apprentice new recruits.

In a press conference Tuesday, DeSantis discussed three proposals he is presenting for Florida’s 2023 legislative session, all of which seek to recruit “the best and brightest” teachers in the state’s public school classrooms.

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DeSantis Signs Law Enforcement Bill into Law, Includes Signing Bonuses for Officers Who Move to Florida

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed into law a measure that incentivizes law enforcement officers to move to or stay in the state through monetary awards.

“While other parts of the country are mistreating, marginalizing and defunding law enforcement, in Florida we continue to prioritize and appreciate our law enforcement officers,” DeSantis said during a Friday news conference while accompanied by Attorney General Ashley Moody and House Speaker Chris Sprowls. “This legislation encourages Floridians to pursue careers in law enforcement and attracts high quality law enforcement officers from other states who are sick and tired of the mistreatment they experience to bring their skills to Florida. From $1,000 scholarships to $5,000 bonuses to $25,000 adoption incentives, we are putting our money where our mouth is, and we are backing the blue.”

HB 3 includes a wide range of law enforcement initiatives, including incentives to encourage both out-of-state residents and Floridians to join state and local law enforcement agencies. It includes signing bonuses for every new recruit, costs covered for training programs and relocation expenses, pay raises and $1,000 bonuses. The bill also created a Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship Program for children of law enforcement officers, and adoption benefits for officers.

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‘Overwhelmed the System’: 911 Calls More Than Quadrupled During Floyd Riots

Minneapolis was receiving five times the average number of 911 calls at the height of the George Floyd riots in May 2020. This call volume grew so intense that it “overwhelmed the system,” according to a city report released this week.

Many have interpreted the report as a rebuke of city leadership, as it offers a page-by-page analysis of the many mistakes that were made in the 10 days following Floyd’s death.

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Bill Looks to Provide Benefits for More Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Injured on the Job

Jim Struzzi

Pennsylvania state Rep. Jim Struzzi is trying to expand a law that provides for firefighters and police who are injured on the job to cover other types of public servants.

The Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act of 1935 allows police officers and paid firefighters medical and wage benefits if they are temporarily disabled because of an injury on the job.

The Enforcement Officer Disability Benefits Law of 1954 was passed to provide police, park guards, and paid (but not volunteer) firefighters full income replacement when injured in the line of duty.

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‘Condition Omega!’ Once-Secret New York Police Department 9/11 Report Recounts Horror, Heroism 20 Years Later

Across the water from NYC, with a first responder statue

Now relegated to the history files of the New York’s police department, a September 2001 after-action report prepared by then-NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik for then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani provides a stunning account of what happened on the deadliest day in American history as four hijacked planes pierced the sunny, blue morning skies 20 years ago.

Nineteen terrorists — working under the command of Osama bin Laden (since executed by the U.S. military) and his chief planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (since captured and on trial now at Guantanamo Bay) — exacted unspeakable carnage on an unsuspecting country that was forever changed.

The report, provided by Kerik to Just the News as part of its “9/11: Never Forget” podcast special, details how the NYPD executed “Condition Omega,” an emergency plan that achieved an unprecedented sealing of the Big Apple, an historic evacuation of hundreds of thousands from the city’s financial district and a grim, gruesome recovery of more than 2,500 bodies, including hundreds of police officers and firefighters who rushed into the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and its adjoining command center.

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With Bells Tolling and Names Never Forgotten, America Commemorates 20th Anniversary of 9/11

Cityscape of NYC with lights shining where Twin Towers used to be.

Americans commemorated the 20th anniversary of the world’s deadliest terror attacks, ringing bells, singing hymns and solemnly reading the names of the nearly 3,000 who perished and are never to be forgotten.

With skies blue and sunny just like that fateful day two decades ago, presidents past and present joined the memorials at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa., as Americans marked their first 9/11 anniversary without U.S. troops engaged in battle in Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden joined the crowd at the Ground Zero site where the former World Trade Center once stood.

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Music City Dedicates This Year’s Fourth of July Celebration to First Responders

Music City will honor healthcare heroes, first responders and frontline workers with a televised fireworks show from downtown Nashville on July 4th, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp announced today. There will be no public concert or spectators allowed in parks. A short fireworks display will be set to recorded music by Nashville artists, which will air locally on NewsChannel 5.

Country music superstar Brad Paisley, who was previously scheduled to headline this year’s July 4th event, will instead headline in 2021, giving the community something to look forward to and visitors a reason to book a trip to Nashville next year. 

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Metro Councilman at Large Steve Glover Explains Expenses Nashville Can Cut

  Live from Music Row Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy was joined in studio by all-star panelists, Ben Cunningham and Nashville Metro Councilman at-large Steve Glover. During the third hour, Glover explained what expenses Nashville could cut to decrease the budget issues now facing the city after years of mishandling. He suggested that cutting funds to the MTA which nobody rides anyway would be beneficial to the city and making first responders and metro employees the top priority. Glover added that this is something the city did to itself and argued against those in council who want to spend more to fix the problem. Leahy: Steve Glover, Metro Council member at Large. We were talking before the break. You were going to tell us what Nashville can do to cut expenses to get out of this deficit hole that we’re temporarily out of. We got a little bit of a reprieve. What do you recommend? Glover: There’s several things I recommend. We’d have to be here for hours. Leahy: Hit the top two. Glover: If you’ll indulge me. Leahy: We…

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Remembering 9-11: Reboot Recovery’s Executive Director Evan Owens Speaks to Leahy About Finding The Silver Lining for Our First Responders and Veterans

In a specific discussion Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy welcomed Executive Director of Reboot Recovery Evan Owens to the show to discuss his company mission on this special day remembering 9-11 first responders and their families.

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Ohio’s Dayton Police Called Heroes – Responded within a Minute to Mass Shooting at Historic Oregon District

DAYTON, Ohio — The beautiful tree-lined, brick-paved streets of the Historic Oregon District were eerily quiet Sunday following a mass shooting outside Ned Peppers Bar on East 5th Street earlier that morning. Nine victims have been confirmed dead thus far and more than two dozen injured. Police, who were on the scene within one minute, shot and killed the suspect. Praise for their fast response is coming in from all around the city, and state including from the Oregon District itself.

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Bill Would Change Ohio Workers’ Compensation for First Responders with PTSD

by Todd DeFeo   Emergency personnel in Ohio who suffer work-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could soon be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim even if they do not experience an accompanying physical injury. Current law prohibits workers’ compensation claims for psychological conditions without an underlying physical condition. However, state lawmakers are considering the change as part of House Bill 80, which creates the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget. The state is looking to fund the BWC to the tune of $319.8 million for Fiscal Year 2020 and $324.8 million Fiscal Year 2021. That represents a significant increase from the estimated $304 million BWC will receive in the 2019 fiscal year and the nearly $264 million it saw in 2018. The County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce expressed concern about the PTSD provision. “Ohio has always required that an employee have a physical harm or injury in order to participate in workers’ compensation,” Kevin Shimp, director of labor and legal affairs for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, told members of the House Finance Committee. “The so-called ‘mental-mental’ claim – a psychological condition that arises solely from the stress – has never been compensated in Ohio. This exclusion was originally a…

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