Governor Signs New Crime Legislation
(Bartlett) – Three new laws in Tennessee are in place after receiving the seal of approval and signature of TN Gov. Bill Haslam. Haslam was in the mid-south today to sign the bills into law.
Governor Haslam was at the Bartlett Justice Center this afternoon to make three laws official. They will all mean stiffer penalties for the offenders. Stiffer penalties for felons in possession of guns, gang members that commit violent crimes together and a third law that hits home in Bartlett. It’s one that targets repeat domestic violence offenders.
The ceremonial signing for the three new crime fighting laws was years in the making. Governor Bill Haslam is confident they will make Tennessee safer.
Haslam said, “This is an issue that spreads across Tennessee. Urban, Rural, East, West, White, Black. It’s an issue that in Tennessee, we’re 4th in violent crime per capita.”
The new domestic violence law is one Angie Degastino has fought for these last 30 years.
”It’s something that touched my heart with a woman that had been beaten by her husband. She was in shock, afraid and overwhelmed. That’s what kept me going,” said Dagastino, Memphis-Shelby Co. Domestic Violence Council.
Bartlett might be the ideal backdrop for this signing. The city has it shares of domestic violence arrests and homicides. The mayor first realized the staggering numbers when the University of Memphis conducted a study.
Just recently, a Bartlett man, Thomas Pate pled guilty to killing his wife, Micah. He admitted in 2009 he shot her and left her body near the Loosahatchie River.
Mayor Keith McDonald, Bartlett, said, “One of the things they said in that study was how much of it was in the suburban communities and they had some data. So, it was the first time I’d ever seen hard-core evidence.”
The new law stipulates on a second domestic violence arrest the person automatically gets more time in prison. Prosecutors say it will give them the teeth to put offenders away for a longer time.
“Until we make children feel safe in their homes on a Friday night when Daddy has had too much to drink and until our kids feel safe going to school and not have to worry about those 4 or 5 thugs that wait for them on the catwalk wanting to beat them up or rob them, we’re not doing our job, said Amy Weirich, Shelby Co. District Attorney General.