"Amelia's Law" approved by Senate Judiciary Committee

"Amelia's Law" approved by Senate Judiciary Committee

Amelia Keown (source: Keown Family) Amelia Keown (source: Keown Family)

NASHVILLE (WATE) - "Amelia's Law" was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, although it had originally stalled on Tuesday.

The bill, named for Amelia Keown, would make it harder for dangerous felons to make parole.

16-year-old Amelia died August 14 when she was hit head-on on U.S. Highway 411 near Maryville. The driver of the vehicle that struck her, John Perkins, also died.  Perkins had been out on parole after serving about a quarter of his time from his 2005 conviction for armed robbery.

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation toxicology report showed Perkins had methamphetamine and oxycodone in his system at the time of the accident.

Amelia's family has since been pushing for tougher parole rules.

The legislation is sponsored by Republican Sen. Doug Overbey of Maryville.

"There is a great need for this bill," said Sen. Overbey. "We need to keep those who pose a threat to public safety behind bars, and this legislation is a step in the right direction to accomplish that purpose."

Legislation must pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives before going to the Governor to be signed into law.

The bill will be held in the Senate Finance Committee until next year, when Sen. Overbey plans to continue to push for the bill's passage.

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