Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd August 11, 2021

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   Drag racing – Public Chapter 573 stiffens the penalty for drag racing from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor to deter drivers from engaging in this reckless behavior. 

   Enhanced penalties for aggravated riots –Public Chapter 440 adds to the offense of aggravated rioting to include those who are compensated to participate in a riot or travel from outside the state to participate. 

   Protecting Law Enforcement Informants – Public Chapter 586  states that if a district attorney general is required to disclose personal identifying information of or statements made by a victim of a sexual offense, law enforcement informant or witness who is expected to testify against a defendant charged with a violent crime, then the district attorney general may petition the court for a protective order prohibiting the defendant and their counsel from publishing the information or statements made before or during the trial. 

   Crime / Post-Conviction Fingerprint Analysis – Public Chapter 355 establishes a process for fingerprint testing post-conviction in the state of Tennessee. Every state has the ability to test DNA post-conviction, and this sets up a similar process for fingerprints, which can be just as important for solving cold cases. 

   Intellectually Disabled / Capital Punishment – Public Chapter 399 redefines “intellectually disabled” for the purpose of capital punishment in conformity with court decisions. It replaces this requirement with a need to show significant limitations in practical, social and conceptual cognizance and creates a procedure for a defendant sentenced to death to file a motion to litigate the issue of intellectual disability, unless it has already resolved by the court. 

   Crime / Good Samaritan – Public Chapter 215 enhances penalties for murder against a person who was acting as a Good Samaritan.

   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.