Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd August 25, 2021

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   Expunction for Employment -Public Chapter 539 removes barriers for employment and education for Tennesseans with nonviolent or low-level assault offenses on their criminal record by allowing these individuals to have their record expunged in very limiting circumstances. Similarly, Public Chapter 494 makes a simple assault committed after July 1, 2000 eligible for consideration of expungement. It does not apply to domestic abuse.  

   Juvenile Justice System Improvements – Public Chapter 184 provides legislators, judges, law enforcement officials and other stakeholders with more accurate information by modernizing and standardizing information collected by juvenile courts across the state. 

   Juvenile Justice Facilities / Seclusion – Public Chapter 492 defines and clarifies seclusion so that it cannot be used for any other reason than an up to two-hour temporary response to behavior that threatens immediate harm to others. The facility administrator may review the seclusion and authorize an additional two-hour period if appropriate but will be prohibited from authorizing more than two subsequent, consecutive periods of seclusion or more than six total hours within a 24-hour period.

   Juvenile Detention Facility Breaches and Escapes – Public Chapter 252 requires immediate report of a security breach or escape of a juvenile to be submitted to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and local law enforcement when discovered. 

   Prisons / Cell Phones – Public Chapter 236 makes it a felony offense for an inmate to possess a cell phone or another electronic device while in prison to curb them from being used in the planning of escapes, drug dealing, money extortions, witness/ victim intimidation and violent crimes orchestrated with criminals outside the facilities. 

   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.