Here’s a recap of last week and the action items for this week.
First and foremost, we’re excited to announce that we have three bills headed to the Governor’s desk!
Civil Forfeiture Attorney’s Fees (Headed to Governor)
HB1254/SB1361 changes attorney’s fees reimbursement on civil forfeiture cases from a $3k cap to a $10k cap.
Jerry Sexton’s (R-Bean Station) House bill got through a floor vote of 92-0 on April 26th. Chairman Mike Bell’s (R-Riceville) Senate bill passed on the Senate floor with a 29-2 vote on April 29th.
No-Knock Raids (Headed to Governor)
HB1406/SB1380 ends the practice of no knock raids, requires officers to intervene in and report on situations of excessive force, restricts the use of chokeholds, requires deescalation training, and limits the ability of LEO’s to fire weapons in traffic.
Chairman Mike Bell’s (R-Riceville) Senate bill passed the full Senate on April 19th by a vote of 32-0 – once it got that momentum in the Senate it couldn’t be stopped. Michael Curcio’s (R-Dickson) House bill passed the full house floor on May 3rd with a 90-0 vote! This is meaningful and positions Tennessee as a national model for police reform.
Essential vs Nonessential (Headed to Governor)
HB37/SB1573 restricts executive officials from labeling businesses as essential or nonessential in the event of an emergency.
Originally this bill applied to executives at the state, county, and city level. Unfortunately, the bill was amended so that it did not affect the Governor. Obviously, that weakened the bill, but it still applies to cities and counties, and that is a step in the right direction.
Paul Bailey’s (R-Sparta) Senate bill passed the full Senate on April 12 by a vote of 27 to 3! Brandon Ogle’s (R-Franklin) house version passed the full House on April 27th with a 72-19 vote. This bill is off to the governor’s desk and ready to become law!
Civil Forfeiture Bond Removal
HB59/SB260 removes the bond associated with reclaiming property seized through civil forfeiture.
Both versions of this bill have passed their subcommittees and Rusty Grills (R-Newbern) House version has passed through Ways and Means Subcommittee, while the Senate bill is still waiting to be heard by Ways and Means.
This bill is currently “behind the budget,” and carries a $384,110 fiscal note (projected loss of state revenue). This means the bill is not part of the items already accounted for in the projected budget items for next year. Items unaccounted for in next year’s budget will compete with other pieces of legislation for funding out of approximately $18.5M in miscellaneous funds.
Senate sponsor Frank Nicely (R-Strawberry Plains) is still making efforts to get the bill added to the budget, but currently, it remains “behind the budget,” making passage less certain than it would be otherwise. We hope to have additional information tomorrow, but the passage of the bill is proving to be more of a challenge than anticipated.
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Chairman of the Board