Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd: Session Highlights

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state representative david byrd

   Firing a Firearm from a Vehicle – Public Chapter 505 makes it reckless endangerment subject to a Class C felony to fire a firearm from within a motor vehicle, enhancing penalties for the crime.

   Criminal Justice Reform – Public Chapter 409 gives judges the discretion to provide treatment to an offender through a Recovery Court when the facts indicate it is the best correction option available. The legislation brings the cap for probation down from 10 years to a maximum of eight years, except for defendants who receive multiple convictions. It also gives judges the discretion for crediting time served while on probation and standardizes parole revocation practices for technical violations.

   Criminal Justice / Reentry Success Act —  Public Chapter 410 establishes mandatory supervision; establishes a presumption of parole release at a person’s release eligibility date or upon a subsequent parole hearing under certain good behavior circumstances, unless good cause is shown; requires the Department of Correction to pay an accreditation stipend to eligible counties to encourage implementation of evidenced-based reentry programs in local jails; authorizes and encourages community colleges and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) to partner with local government to provide a education workforce development program for people held in local correction facilities; and grants limited employer liability to businesses who in good faith hire a parolee convicted of a non-violent criminal offense. When the Board of Parole declines parole, the time period for the next hearing would be set at six years in most cases, instead of 10 as provided under current law. 

   Criminal Justice Data Collection –Public Chapter 446 improves data collection through the Administrative Office of Courts (AOC) and the Tennessee Court Information System (TN CIS) to help lawmakers made the best decisions possible to protect public safety and curb recidivism. 

   Reducing Inmate Recidivism / Trade-Related Education – Public Chapter 390 seeks to reduce recidivism among low-risk inmates in local jails by providing trade-related education. It allows state community colleges and Tennessee’s Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) to partner with local governments to provide educational and workforce development programs.

   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.