Thanks to Senator Mark Norris and Representative Curry Todd for getting things started on the repeat offender problem here in Memphis. As they promised, on Mike Fleming's radio show last week, they have introduced legislation to study the repeat offender problem and come up with solutions. Here is the text of the bill which was introduced 1/31/2008:
SENATE BILL 3905
HOUSE BILL 3751
AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 16 and Title 40, relative to misdemeanor sentencing.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE: SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 16, Chapter 21, Part 1, is amended by adding the following as a new section:
(a) The council is requested to conduct a study of § 40-35-302, and other provisions of the criminal code dealing with misdemeanor sentencing. The study shall determine whether the present misdemeanor sentencing structure is sufficient to adequately deter and punish offenders who commit multiple misdemeanor offenses. Because these multiple offenses congest the criminal justice system and rarely result in any appreciable punishment, it gives the general public the impression that the justice system is lax and does not do enough to protect the victims from the loss and inconvenience caused by numerous petty offenses committed by the same defendant.
(b) The administrative office of the courts is authorized to assist the council in completing the study and report requested by this section.
(c) The council shall complete the study and report its findings, including any recommendations for necessary legislation, to the clerk of the house of representatives and the senate for distribution to the members by January 15,2009.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.