While significant for all Tennesseans, as I discussed in Sunday’s opening segment of this week’s Capitol Hill Review, these actions by the House were only a couple of the major steps taken by legislators on the House side.
Let me update you on a few more.
moves on meth issues
House Bill 2645 adds more than 20 additional synthetic derivatives or analogues of meth to the current Tennessee Code. The bill overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives in bipartisan fashion, 95-0.
The legislation continues the Legislature’s fight to crack down on meth production that is derived from the use of ingredients found in bath salts or Molly’s Plant Food. A wave of illicit drug production and illegal use has swept through parts of Tennessee, especially Putnam County, where many residents have been rushed to the hospital from the adverse effects of the drug.
Various news outlets have even reported on deaths directly linked to the rise in drug use associated with bath salts and Molly’s Plant Food.
I’m proud my colleagues stand with me against this growing threat to our communities. Families across Tennessee are being torn apart because of drug abuse. This legislation helps us keep pace with the drug creators and dealers, but we must continue updating our laws and supporting our law enforcement personnel so we can get ahead of these drugs.
drunk driving in state
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed tough new legislation to combat drunk driving in Tennessee. The legislation, House Bill 2749, is also known as the “ignition interlock” bill. Under the bill, an ignition interlock, which is a machine similar to a breathalyzer, may be installed at the order of a judge inside a vehicle. Before the vehicle's engine can be started, the driver first must exhale into the device. If the breath-alcohol concentration analyzed by the machine is greater than the allowable state limit the device will prevent the engine from being started.
We have been vigilant about helping law enforcement personnel combat drunk driving in Tennessee. This is a solid bill that I believe will save lives in Tennessee. Drunk drivers have hurt too many families and this bill sends a clear message: If a person violates the drunk-driving law and they want to use their vehicle, that individual will must always be sober.
Legislation in brief
1. House begins moving FY2012-13 budget: After hearing from many experts, economists and members of the Haslam administration, the chairman of the House Finance Committee indicated his committee would take up all the proposed budget amendments this week and will start moving Tennessee’s funding blueprint. The legislation is expected to move over the next two weeks.
2. Tough legislation cracking down on domestic abusers advances: House Bill 2389 specifies that any person convicted of a second or more conviction of domestic assault must face mandatory jail time. For third-time offenders, that rises to potentially 11 months in jail and fines possibly up to $5,000.