State Legislators Propose Bill to Expand Criteria for Removing Child Custody, Visitation, and Inheritance Rights from Rapists

Companion bills State Representative Debra Moody (R-Covington) and State Senator Paul Rose (R-Covington) introduced the companion bills. These bills propose to remove custody, visitation, and inheritance rights for a parent convicted of statutory rape, aggravated statutory rape, or lesser included offenses of rape from which crime the child was conceived.

Current Tennessee Code prohibits custody, visitation, and inheritance rights for these types of rape: § 39-13-502, § 39-13-503, and § 39-13-522. If the companion bills are passed, the Code would also prohibit those rights for a parent who is convicted of aggravated statutory rape as outlined in § 39-13-506 or statutory rape by an authority figure as outlined in § 39-13-532. The legislation would also apply those same restrictions on a parent who is convicted of or pleads guilty or no contest to a lesser included offense.

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Senator Dolores Gresham Champions Governor Lee’s Education Savings Accounts Bill Through Education Committee

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Governor Bill Lee’s most significant education initiative, Education Savings Accounts, made it through another major hurdle as it passed the Senate Education Committee Wednesday by a vote of 6 to 3. Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), who is also the Chair of the Education Committee, carried the bill as SB 0795. As such, Sen. Gresham turned the gavel over to 1st Vice-Chair, Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) as she presented the bill. The large Senate Hearing Room I was nearly standing room only with a mix of proponents and opponents to the measure. Discussion of the ESA bill dominated the meeting, which went over its scheduled two hour time period. Sen. Gresham introduced the bill by saying that the Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) will provide opportunities for students where there is a concentration of lower performing schools. “The best local control that can be established in our state’s education landscape is when parents make that decision about how their children are to be educated. This is particularly true for students in areas with multiple lower performing schools and limited high-quality educational options.” Reflecting on the fact that the legislation is an initiative of Governor Bill Lee, Sen. Gresham continued,…

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Jack Johnson Elected State Senate Majority Leader by GOP Caucus

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – At the State Senate Republican Caucus meeting held Monday afternoon in an eighth floor conference room of the Cordell Hull Building, there was no obvious drama in the selection of its six leaders for the upcoming 111th General Assembly. The elections held off until Governor-Elect Bill Lee, after making his rounds greeting each of the Senators individually, made scheduled opening remarks that lasted about five minutes. He was introduced by Lt. Governor Randy McNally, who said Lee, elected by an overwhelming majority in both the primary and general is a man of faith and a conservative, concluding “I think we’re going to get along just fine.” Lee said it was an honor and humbling to be there with a remarkable group of public servants, many of whom he has built relationships with. Lee was complimentary of the leadership by those in the room, as well as the state House and the Governor, which has made Tennessee a remarkably good place to be by creating and laying a foundation that can be built upon so that all Tennesseans can enjoy a good job, good school for their kids and a safe neighborhood. From there, Senate Speaker Pro Tempore…

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