KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee state leaders and Knox County law enforcement officials honored victims of violent crimes and their families with a ceremonial signing of the Truth in Sentencing bill, which will go into effect next month. The ceremony occurred at the Knoxville City-County Building Thursday morning.

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) spoke at the event. East Tennessee law enforcement authorities including Knox County District Attorney Charme Allen, Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler also attended and spoke; as well as Tennessee General Assembly members and families of violent crime victims.

The Truth in Sentencing bill will require those convicted of violent crimes like murder, carjackings and vehicular homicide to serve their full sentence without the possibility of parole or early release. Offenders who are convicted of lesser crimes like aggravated assault will be required to serve at least 85%.

“Today is about prevention as well, about protecting victims, helping law enforcement,” Sexton said in his opening remarks.

“It’s a real pleasure to sign this, really on behalf of the victims,” McNally said.

WKRN reported earlier this month that the bill has already passed both the house and senate and was emphatically sponsored by Tennessee Speaker Sexton who says it will make the state a safer place. Governor Bill Lee has not added his signature to the bill and his office says he doesn’t plan to. The law will still go into effect since it passed in both the house and senate.