Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd: Leaders Honor Fallen Officer

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   Republican Leaders Honor Fallen Officer Spencer Bristol

   This past week in Nashville, House Republican leaders honored the life and legacy of Hendersonville Master Patrol Officer Spencer Bristol by introducing the Spencer Bristol Act. Officer Bristol was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 30, 2019 pursuing a fleeing suspect following a crash and high-speed car chase that began in Hendersonville and ended on Interstate 65 in Goodlettsville.

   The Spencer Bristol Act holds criminals accountable by significantly increasing penalties for evading arrest when a law enforcement officer is injured or dies during a pursuit involving a fleeing suspect. Currently, evading arrest is a Class D felony punishable by not less than two years and not more than 12 years in prison. This initiative enhances that penalty to a Class A offense, punishable by 15-60 years in prison.

   Additionally, the Spencer Bristol Act increases penalties for causing serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer during a pursuit from a Class D felony to a Class C felony. Republican lawmakers are proud to support this initiative honoring this fallen hero. We proudly stand with the brave men and women who protect and serve our communities, and we will continue to fight for them throughout the 2020 legislative session.

   State Capitol Lit To Raise Awareness To Slavery And Human Trafficking

   The lighting at the State Capitol this past week was lit in blue on Wednesday in order to raise awareness about slavery and human trafficking in Tennessee. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), human trafficking is the second-fastest growing criminal industry in the state. 

   In recent years, legislators have enhanced laws related to these specific crimes through a series of bills in efforts to combat this issue. This push comes after a 2011 (TBI) report showed 73 of the state’s 95 counties have experienced cases related to this heinous criminal activity. Because of our recent efforts strengthening human trafficking laws, Tennessee continues to lead the nation and has earned the top distinction from Shared Hope International for its human trafficking laws. 

   Unemployment Rates Remain Steady To Close Out 2019

   Newly released data from the Department of Labor & Workforce Development indicates unemployment rates remained near record low levels for the month of December. For the second consecutive month, the state recorded a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.3 percent. This figure is 0.1 percentage point away from the state’s all-time low unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, which was recorded in February of 2019.

   Employers continue to create new jobs across Tennessee. Nonfarm employment increased by 2,000 positions in December, and the manufacturing trade/transportation/utilities and leisure/hospitality sectors also reported the greatest number of new hires. Nationally, unemployment also remains steady. The national seasonally adjusted rate for December 2019 is 3.5 percent — the same as November.

   As always, I am truly humbled and honored to be your voice on Capitol Hill. If there is ever any issue I can assist with, please reach out to my office by calling 615-741-2190 or emailing me at rep.david.byrd@capitol.tn.gov. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and suggestions during the second half of the 111th General Assembly.