NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — New laws will be issued Friday, July 1 to protect victims of crime and strengthen penalties for violent criminals, according to the Tennessee General Assembly.

The first law, Major Truth in Sentencing legislation, requires a person convicted of certain violent offenses to serve 100% of their sentence before becoming eligible for release. The law was sponsored by Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and Senator Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol).

Under the new law, a person convicted of first degree murder, second degree murder, vehicular homicide, especially aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated robbery, carjacking, and especially aggravated burglary will serve 100% of their sentence without reduction credits earned.

Anyone convicted of one out of eight offenses may still earn credits to use for increased privileges, reduced security classification, or other purposes except for reducing sentences.

“Truth in Sentencing is vital legislation that protects victims and provides true accountability for those who commit crimes,” McNally said. “The clarity Truth in Sentencing provides will serve as a critical deterrent against violent offenders. The costs associated with the law are well worth the peace of mind offered to victims and the overall boost to public safety. Tennesseans across the political spectrum want law and order in Tennessee. This legislation will go a long way toward providing it.”

Another new law, the Transparency In Sentencing For Victims Act, will inform the victims and their families about the amount of time an offender will serve during the sentencing, according to the news release.

“Transparency in Sentencing is necessary to create true accountability for the criminal justice system,” Stevens said. “Victims and the general public need to have all information possible. This transparency will help mitigate any false sense of security victims might previously have felt after hearing a ‘full’ sentence imposed.”

Protection of children, another law sponsored by Senator Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro), enhances the penalty from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony for a person operating an unlicensed child care facility and found guilty of abuse, neglect or endangerment.

Additional laws that will be in effect on July 1:

  • Legislation sponsored by Senator Paul Rose (R-Covington) to require criminals convicted of first-degree murder, the perpetration or attempted perpetration of rape, rape of a child and aggravated rape of a child to be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
  • statute also sponsored by Rose to crack down on drive-by shootings. The new law will impose stricter penalties one classification higher on criminals convicted of aggravated assault that involved the use of a deadly weapon if the violation was committed by a firearm discharged from within a motor vehicle.
  • bill sponsored by Lundberg to prohibit a sexual offender from renting or offering to rent a swimming pool, hot tub or other body of water used for swimming.
  • The Joe Clyde Daniels Act, sponsored by Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield), which makes it harder for convicted murderers to be granted parole if they do not disclose the location of their victims remains. It helps ensure victims can receive a proper burial.

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