Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd August 4, 2021

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state representative david byrd

   Victim Advocates / Confidentiality – Public Chapter 590 protects confidentiality of victim advocate. It ensures communication between a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse and a trained victim advocate remains confidential through statutory protections. 

   Facilitation of Rape of a Child / Full Sentence – Public Chapter 525 requires a person convicted of the facilitation of rape of a child or aggravated rape of a child to serve 100% of the sentence imposed minus a maximum of 15% sentence reduction credits. It also requires the offenders to be sentenced to community supervision for life. 

   Truth in Sentencing – Public Chapter 563 ensures certain violent or sexual offenders serve 100 percent of the sentence imposed by a judge or jury. It affects offenses that historically target women and children such as rape, sexual battery, continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual battery by an authority figure, incest, promoting prostitution, aggravated child abuse, domestic assault, aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and trafficking for a commercial sex act. 

   Animal Cruelty – Public Chapter 580 removes barriers to prosecute aggravated animal cruelty cases in Tennessee. The legislation removes the language ‘depraved or sadistic’ from the law, which is a difficult intent to prove.

   Crime Victims / Restitution – Public Chapter 413 reaffirms the state’s commitment to victims’ rights by outlining an order of priority for funds paid into court for any criminal case. It reorders the new priorities to ensure the victim is paid restitution first. (Stevens / Transmitted to Gov)

   Cracking down on ‘Porch Pirates’ – Public Chapter 364 adds a new section to the Tennessee code that puts in place specific penalties for theft of mail, which includes packages, bags, etc. The first offense would continue to be punished based on the value of the stolen item. However, the legislation stipulates that the second or subsequent offense of mail theft must at least be charged as a Class E felony. 

   Catalytic Converter Theft –Public Chapter 213 requires any person who buys unattached catalytic converters to be registered as a scrap metal dealer in a fixed location business and to track purchases. In addition, it ensures the person selling a detached catalytic converter provides documentation and identification. 

   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.