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Willoughby Hires Support Staff for 2011-12

May 12, 2011
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby announced Thursday night during the board of education meeting that he has employed the 212 support staff for the 2011-2012 school year.

Those employed at DeKalb County High School are:

Rena Adcock- Cook, Wanda Bradford- Part Time Cook, Amee Cantrell- Social Worker, James Carroll- Custodian, Kathy Chapman-Cook, Kenderly Cripps- Guidance/Records Clerk, Annette Davis- Educational Assistant, Debbie Eaton- Educational Assistant, Regina Estes- Secretary, Beverly Ferrell- Educational Assistant, Gary Good- Educational Assistant, Dena Haugh- Educational Assistant, Melissa Hicks- Cook, Deborah Knowles- Educational Assistant Job Coach, Helen LaFever-Cook, Rita Leichtfuss- Educational Assistant, Deborah Magness- Bookkeeper, Thomas Maney- Custodian, Charles Martin- Custodian, Rhonda Merriman-Educational Assistant, Sara Parker- Guidance, Lisa Peterson-Educational Assistant Job Coach, JoAnn Pittman-Custodian, Brian Reed- Educational Assistant, Denise Rutland- Custodian, Vicky Sandlin- Cook, Linda Sorrell- Educational Assistant, Norman Underhill- Educational Assistant, Tiffany VanWinkle- Educational Assistant, Suzanne Williams-Educational Assistant, Jamie Wright- Guidance Clerk, and Debbie Young-Cafeteria Manager.

DeKalb Middle School:

Sue Arnold- Part-Time Cook, Helen Cantrell-Cook, Charles Cantrell- Custodian, Fay Gilreath- School Bookkeeper, Connie Haggard- Cook, Barbara Hibdon- Cook, Rita Johnson-Cook, Martha Knowles- Educational Assistant, Samantha Lester- School Secretary, Paulette McDonald- Educational Assistant, Angie Moore- Educational Assistant, Lisa Norton- Educational Assistant, Ray Robinson- Custodian, Eldon Vanatta- Cafeteria Manager, Vicky Walker- Educational Assistant

Smithville Elementary School:

Brent Arnold-Educational Assistant, Jimmy Barnes- Custodian, Janis Barnes- Educational Assistant, Clay Bumbalough- Custodian, Brenda Beth Cantrell- Educational Assistant, Darlene Evans-Educational Assistant, Jennifer Gay- Educational Assistant, Mary Gibbs-Cook, Betty Griffith- Educational Assistant, Jean Hayes- Cafeteria Manager, Michelle Hoyle- Educational Assistant, Vicki Jefferies- Educational Assistant, Melinda Lattimore- Educational Assistant, Brittany Lockard- Educational Assistant, Sara Lomas-Custodian, Talitha Looney- Cook, Pat Milam- Part Time Cafeteria Monitor/Substitute Custodian, Tera Mooneyham-Educational Assistant, Ronda Northcutt- Educational Assistant, Holly Owens-Educational Assistant, Freeda Phillips- Cook, Rhonda Pelham- Secretary/Receptionist, Amelia Phillips- Cook, Lori Poss- School Bookkeeper, Brenda Rigney- Educational Assistant, Teresa Spencer- Educational Assistant, Wayne Taylor- Custodian, Tammy Tyler- Cook, Amanda Trapp-Educational Assistant, and Celia Whaley- Educational Assistant,

Northside Elementary:

Emma Jean Bandy- Cook, Heather Blankenship- Educational Assistant, Suzanne Bradford- Educational Assistant, Gail Crips- Secretary, Evril Cubbins- Educational Assistant, Regina Daw- Cafeteria Manager, Rebecca Ervin- Cook, Sally Exum- Educational Assistant, Starr Ferrell-Educational Assistant, Terrie Ford- Educational Assistant, Kenneth Gordon- ESL Assistant (English as Second Language), Phyllis Hallum- Educational Assistant, Sherry Judkins- Custodian, Jennifer Lewis- Educational Assistant, Thelma Martin- Educational Assistant, Jennifer Martin- Educational Assistant, Denise Merriman-Cook, Rebecca Moss- Educational Assistant, Lynn Pichey-Custodian, Paula Pinegar- Educational Assistant, Jo Dean Redmon- Lunch Monitor, Tayla Turner- Educational Assistant, Kim Violet- Custodian, Sharon Washer- Cook, Elizabeth White- Part-Time Cook, and Deneene Willingham- School Bookkeeper.

DeKalb West School:

Holly Bain-Educational Assistant, Donna Driver- Cook, Dorothy Duggin-Custodian, Tena Edwards- Educational Assistant, Ruth Frazier- Custodian, Pauline Frazier- Custodian, Stephanie Fuson- Educational Assistant, Shelly Gibson- Educational Assistant, Lisa Hale- Secretary, Donna Hale- School Bookkeeper, Nancy Mulloy- Cook, Faye Nixon-Cook, Tina Paschal- Educational Assistant, Elizabeth Redmon-Educational Assistant, Tonya Roberts- Educational Assistant, Beverly Starnes- Cafeteria Manager, Kristi Sullivan- Educational Assistant, Missy Vantrease- Educational Assistant, and Linda Vickers- Cook

County Wide Positions:

Chandra Adcock- School Nurse, Jenean Bain- Bus Assistant, Sandra Billings- Substitute Bus Assistant, Cindy Childers- Coordinated School Health Assistant, Betty Cooper- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Billy Curtis- Special Needs Driver (car), Dana Davenport- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Bettye June Dodd- Bus Assistant, Christie Driver- School Nurse, Russell Estes- Substitute Custodian, Sharon Farler- Substitute School Nurse, Greg Frasier- Technology Director, LeAnne Frasier- Library Assistant (half time at Smithville Elementary School and Half Time at Northside Elementary School), Mary Gay- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Melissa Fuson- Substitute School Nurse, Billy Golden- Maintenance Worker, Lynn Griffith- Bus Assistant, Rebecca Hawkins- Substitute Bus Assistant, Darnette Hibdon- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Terry Hicks- Maintenance Worker, Earl Jared- Maintenance Supervisor, Freda Johnson- Bus Assistant, Penelope Mason- 21st Century CCLC Site Coordinator, Delilah McGhee- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Kelly Merriman- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Teresa Miller- Payroll/Bookkeeper Central Office, Tamara Murphy- Substitute Nurse, Jean Neal-Bus Assistant, Carolyn Neal- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Shirley Ours- Special Education Secretary, April Odom- Attendance Clerk, Angela Patrick- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, B.J. Patterson- Technology, Melissa Pirtle- Food Service Bookkeeper, Jo Dean Redmon- Part Time Custodian- Brian Reed- Alternative School Assistant, Joyce Robinson- Payroll/Bookkeeper Central Office, Pauletta Ruffner- Substitute Cafeteria Worker/Custodian, Roger Sharp- Technology, Teresa Sullivan- Educational Assistant at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School, Janice Tanner- Substitute School Nurse, Kimberly Turner- School Nurse, Pam Turner- Substitute School Nurse, Barbara Vanatta- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Jamie Vickers- Secretary/Bookkeeper Central Office, Judy Wiggins- Substitute Bus Assistant, Linda Williams- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Joannie Williams- School Nurse, Aaron Young- Maintenance Worker, Jeanette Young- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, and Rita Young-Attendance Clerk at Northside Elementary and Smithville Elementary School


Orlando Guzman- Mechanic and Rick Holcomb- Mechanic.

The following are bus drivers:

Harold Ashford, Karen Adkins, Neal Brown, Dwayne Cantrell, Dinah Cripps, Elaine Davis, Debbie Eaton, Marshall Ferrell, Starr Ferrell, Linda Fowler, Bill Fowler, Judith Hale, Darnette Hibdon, Melissa Hicks, Michael Kingsbury, Dwight Knowles, Kimberly Lawson, Angela Lawson, Bobby Martin, Ronald Merriman, Jimmy Mullican, Linda Gail Pack, Walter Phillips, Faye Pollard, Jimmy Poss, Tony Poss, J.T. Pursell, Bobby Taylor, B.J. Thomason, and David Turner.

Substitute bus drivers are: Danny Bond, Tina Fletcher, Daniel Lawson, Jimmy Sprague, Carol Swope, Ken Taylor, and Suzanne Williams.

Clerk Advises Against Crossing County Lines to Avoid Wheel Tax

May 11, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mike Clayborn

If you live in a county that requires a wheel tax, you can't legally cross county lines to renew your car tags where the tax is not applied.

County Clerk Mike Clayborn said the Department of Revenue is asking counties to monitor this closer."Revenue is watching for several things. For instance, we have a lot of folks that come from some of our surrounding counties that have a wheel tax. They want to come in here (DeKalb County) and get their tag because we don't have MARTA (emission regulations) and we don't have a wheel tax. The state and counties are watching this. We have been instructed by Revenue that if we knowingly renew a tag or do a registration on a vehicle that's sold by somebody else besides a dealer, we put our jobs in jeopardy. We've been provided with a 911 (address) book. If we have a question, we look in it. If it's in DeKalb County we do it, if it's not we don't", said Clayborn

What about persons who reside outside the county but have a local address? "The problem you run into with this is we have some people who live in Warren County that have a Smithville address, also Wilson County, and Smith County. They (those counties) all have a wheel tax. Just because it says Smithville, Alexandria (on your address), does not mean that you live in DeKalb County. You must renew your tag in the county where you reside. A residence is a place where you spend 80% of your time. There's been more tickets written for this. Your registration and your license should be the same. If you have a Snow Hill address on your license, there should be a Snow Hill address on your registration. If not, you could get a ticket," said Clayborn

On another issue, Clayborn explained the law pertaining to giving an automobile to a relative. "Most folks know that if you give a car to a lineal relative, there's no taxes (applied). Now, you can give a car to a lineal relative without taxes being applied, but now they (state) require that you have an affidavit filled out and signed (stating) that there's no money changing hands," said Clayborn.

Clayborn further explained that "If you're out there and you have a car for sale and you're going to sell that car to somebody, on the back of your title this is what you'll find. It's says signature of seller, printed name of seller, date of sale, and sale price. If you're the seller, it's your responsibility to fill all those out. What that means is, if I sold you a $10,000 car and I (seller) didn't put that in there and you (buyer) came in and you'd written in $5,000, I (seller) could be held liable just like you because I didn't do what I was supposed to do. Folks who are selling cars need to know this. So you need to fill out the back of that title. If you don't know the people you're selling the car to, the best thing to do is come up here (clerk's office) and let us show you what to do because this has happened over and over again. People will sell a car and not make the buyer put their name on there. That's an open title as far as the state is concerned and that's against the law. So if you want to sell your car, fill out your part, and make them put their name in there. If you have any questions or concerns about it come up here and we'll help you with it and get it done right", said Clayborn.

Marsh Faces Forgery and Theft Charges

May 11, 2011
Dwayne Page
Hilda Marsh

A 28 year old Smithville woman is expected to be in court next week on charges of forgery and theft after obtaining a loan through fraudulent means at the Cash Express here.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said Hilda Marsh is charged with three counts of forgery and one count of theft of property.

According to Detective Matt Holmes, Marsh entered the Cash Express of Smithville recently, on two occasions, presented letters purported to be from the Social Security Administration stating that she and her husband were disabled. Marsh allegedly used the letters as proof that she was receiving disability income as a means of qualifying for a loan. On her first visit, she received a loan of $250. However on her second visit, employees of Cash Express became suspicious and contacted Social Security who confirmed that Marsh's letter was a fraud.

State to Establish New Certified Property Tax Rate After Reappraisal

May 10, 2011
Dwayne Page
Timothy Fud Banks

Have you noticed a change in your property assessment?

Property owners across DeKalb County began receiving a Tennessee Assessment Change Notice last week showing their appraisals as of January 1st, 2011 compared with their previous assessments. For some, those assessments increased. For others, there was a decrease.

Assessor of Property Timothy Fud Banks said the changes are the result of the state's recently completed latest cycle of reappraisal. "By state law, anytime you have anything (assessment) changed on your property you will receive a card in the mail during May. This year the state has come in and done reappraisal. It's a reappraisal year for the state. Reappraisal is done every six years. On the bottom of the card you have received, you'll see "previous assessment and class". That's what your assessment has been previously. If your previous assessment is more than your "assessment value", your property (value) has gone down but if your assessment value is more than your previous assessment that means it's (value) has gone up some," said Banks

Apparently because of the recession's effect, records from the Assessor of Property's Office show that the total assessed value for real property in DeKalb County has dropped by $8.9 million from the previous year. County Mayor Mike Foster said altogether including real property, public utilities, tangible personal, etc. the overall assessed value could be down at least $16 million or more. As a result, the state will establish a new certified tax rate which the county commission will act on with passage of the new budget in August. The current tax rate is $1.46 per $100 of assessed value. The new certified rate is expected to be around $1.51 cents. So even if your individual assessments are lower, you shouldn't necessarily count on your tax bill going down. With the new certified tax rate, you could pay essentially the same amount of taxes as last year, or more if your assessment has increased. "The county cannot take in no more money or no less money than it did last year. This year it's looking like the tax rate is going to have to be increased from four to six cents to make the same money come in as it did last year," said Banks

Banks adds that if you want to challenge your assessment, you may file an appeal with the DeKalb County Equalization Board during the first two weeks of June.

DWS Junior Beta Rides for St. Jude

May 10, 2011
Bill Conger
Students Take Part in Bike-A-Thon for St. Jude

Math skills and physical endurance combined to make for a 'wheely' good time Saturday, May 7 at DeKalb West School. D.W.S. Junior Beta students at DeKalb West School sponsored the school's first-ever bike-a-thon to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. Students competed in various age categories on a multi-mile obstacle course around the school parking lot and raised close to $700.00 for the charity. The physical challenges weren't the only hurdles bikers faced. They also had to be calculating with their minds, answering a series of math questions to move forward to the next round in the competition.

A few adults got into the fun for the cause. School Board Chairman Charlie Robinson and DWS computer teacher Lesa Hayes hopped onto their bicycles and gave a valiant effort pedaling around the cones while struggling with the shock absorption from makeshift ramps. Junior Beta students logged in 19 hours as a group for the club service project. Participating in the bike-a-thon were the following: Alaysia Bias, Kyleigh White, Breanna Gibson, Noelle Driver, Addison Oakley, Ashton Sensing, Savannah Anderson, Dolton Theriaque, Danielle Theriaque, Brady Driver, Levi Driver, Bailey Hayes, Garrett Hayes, Ethan Martin, and Cason Oakley. DeKalb Community Bank donated water for the event. Students who brought in more than $35 each for the cause will receive a special prize from St. Jude.

Pedestrian Found with Marijuana, Rolling Papers, and Knife

May 9, 2011
Dwayne Page
David Howard Dixon

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a pedestrian last Thursday after finding him carrying marijuana, rolling papers, and a knife.

43 year old David Howard Dixon of Sparta Highway, Smithville is charged with unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon, simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana), and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond totals $6,000 and his court date is May 12th

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, on Thursday, May 5th a deputy saw Dixon crossing Highway 56 south on foot. A vehicle had to pull into the turning lane to avoid hitting him. Upon stopping to do a welfare check, the officer saw in Dixon's back pocket, a black handled knife. As the deputy spoke to him, Dixon turned toward the officer and grabbed for the knife from his back pocket. The deputy drew his weapon and ordered Dixon to put up his hands. Dixon complied, putting the knife back into his pocket. The officer further instructed Dixon to place his hands on the car. Dixon again complied and the deputy then removed the knife from Dixon's back pocket.

In addition to the weapon, the deputy found in Dixon's pants pocket a plastic bag containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. During an inventory of Dixon's property, the officer also found in his wallet a pack of rolling papers.

24 year old Matthew Lee Tinsley of Parkway Drive, Smithville was issued a citation on Tuesday, May 3rd for possession of drug paraphernalia. His court date is June 2nd.

Sheriff Ray said that a deputy was called to Tinsley's residence by the Department of Children Services. Upon arrival, the officer spoke to Tinsley and asked him if he had anything illegal in the home. Tinsley produced some paraphernalia. Upon a further search, the officer also found multiple needles, straws, gloves, and spoons.

23 year old Macario Sente Raymundo of Braswell Lane, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence and issued citations for violation of the implied consent law and driving without a license. His court date is May 19th and his bonds totals $1,500.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, May 4th a deputy responded to a one vehicle accident on Highway 56 south. Upon arrival, the officer found the driver, Raymundo, to be very unsteady on his feet and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Raymundo submitted to several field sobriety tasks and performed poorly on all. He also refused to submit to a blood alcohol test.

19 year old Zackary Austin Patton of Ross Avenue, McMinnville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 9th.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 8th a deputy saw a vehicle on Tiger Drive pull off to the side of the roadway. The driver then turned off the car lights. The officer stopped to do a welfare check and found the driver, Patton, who informed the deputy that he was underage and had been drinking. Patton explained that he did not feel safe driving and that's why he pulled over. He submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Patton did submit to a blood alcohol test.

Dowell Charged with Possession of Crack Cocaine and other Offenses

May 9, 2011
Dwayne Page
Fred Dowell, Jr.

A local man faces charges of illegal possession of drugs and a weapon after being arrested by Smithville Police.

Chief Randy Caplinger said 54 year old Fred Dowell, Jr. of 344 Smith Road is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance ( four grams of crack cocaine), unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (homemade crack pipe), and a third offense of driving on a revoked license. Dowell was also issued a citation for failure to maintain proper lane of travel.

After receiving several complaints of possible drug trafficking from Dowell's home, Detective Matt Holmes reports that Smithville Police executed a search warrant there on Tuesday, April 12th. When officers arrived they found four other men in the home, but not Dowell. Police also found a set of scales, some drug residue, and hidden inside a desk drawer was a semi-automatic pistol. A warrant was then drawn up charging Dowell with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Detective Holmes said Dowell is a convicted felon in a previous criminal case in Putnam County.

Eleven days later, on Saturday April 23rd, Officer Brad Tatrow stopped a green Dodge truck on Bright Hill Road for a traffic violation. Dowell was the driver. A check of his license revealed them to be revoked. A search of his vehicle yielded a bag containing about four grams of crack cocaine and a homemade crack pipe. Dowell was placed in custody and charged in the cases. His bond totals $9,500.

Smithville Police Charge McMinnville Woman with Prescription Fraud

May 9, 2011
Dwayne Page
Jill Jones

A 36 year old McMinnville woman has been charged with two counts of prescription fraud after obtaining drugs on two separate occasions from a local pharmacy using another name.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said Jill Jones is currently incarcerated in Warren County where she has been charged with ten counts of prescription fraud there.

Detective Matt Holmes reports that on Thursday, April 21st, Jones telephoned a local pharmacy, stating that she was a secretary for a doctor's office in McMinnville. Jones placed an order for prescriptions of Loratab and Xanax in the name of Sarah Ward. Jones later showed up at the pharmacy and purchased the prescriptions,identifying herself as Ward.

On Monday, April 25th, Jones called in another prescription order for Sarah Ward, this time for hydrocodones and Phentramine. Jones again showed up at the pharmacy to pick up the order using an ID number. Later, the pharmacist became suspicious and called the McMinnville doctor's office to verify the order and learned that had it not been authorized by anyone there.

The pharmacy then notified Smithville Police. Officer James Cornelius took the initial report in the case.

­DeKalb County Receives Technology Grants for Libraries

May 9, 2011

­­­­­­DeKalb County is one of more than 70 communities across Tennessee that will receive grants to upgrade technology at rural libraries.

These grants, which total more than $1.2 million, are the product of a partnership between the Office of the Secretary of State, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development in a quest to strengthen rural communities by developing libraries.

The county will receive $16,076 to be used at the Alexandria Branch Library and another $16,076 to be used at the Justin Potter Library.

“Libraries in rural areas play an especially important role in connecting citizens with the resources and opportunities that are oftentimes isolated to urban areas,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “These grants will go a long way toward providing vital access to computers and the Internet, which is particularly helpful in some of the areas that were hit the hardest by the recession.”

Grants may be used to cover costs for computer equipment, new training, educational opportunities, Internet access and other enhancements approved by the USDA.

“These grants will help people access information on employment opportunities, job training, small business development and education here in DeKalb County,” said state Sen. Mae Beavers. “This will help level the playing field in the job market and eliminate the need for some people to drive to big cities to get Internet access.”

“When people have trouble getting Internet connections or cannot afford a home computer, our public libraries fill a void,” said state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver. “Our community is extremely grateful for the help of the Office of the Secretary of State, ECD and USDA Rural Development.”

A Look at the Tennessee Legislature

May 9, 2011
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver:

As the free-spending ways of Washington sink our nation further into debt, a resolution was passed that calls on Congress to follow Tennessee’s model.

The measure simply encourages the U.S. Congress to return to the founding principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility to rein in spending. Additionally, the resolution advises Congress to follow the example set by Tennessee of balanced budgets and responsible spending cuts to provide a stable environment for the State.

This legislation is a direct reflection of the will of Tennesseans. Our citizens are tired of seeing their hard-earned tax dollars being wasted in Washington on bailouts, giveaways, and out-of-control entitlement programs. We are simply sending a message to Washington to get its fiscal house in order. If they need a model of how to do that, all they need to do is look to Tennessee. We have navigated these rough economic times by maintaining a balanced budget, keeping taxes low, and reining in burdensome government regulations.

In addition I am proud of the efforts of the Republican leadership in Congress and support them and want them to continue fighting for more reductions so our country can flourish.”

Constitutional Amendment Regarding Abortion Advances in House

On Wednesday, the House Majority moved the legislation that will amend the State's Constitution. SJR 127 is a constitutional amendment that, when passed, will bring the Constitution of the State of Tennessee back to a position of neutrality regarding abortion. Once again, SJR 127 enjoys bi-partisan support.

The amendment is intended to restore to the people of Tennessee, acting through their elected state representatives and state senators, their rightful authority to regulate abortion, all within federal constitutional limits. “This amendment restores protections for citizens through common sense measures regarding a very personal matter in the lives of many women. It is important to note this amendment does not outlaw or criminalize abortion. SJR127 simply restores the authority of the people acting through their elected officials, to legislate abortion. Our State has a strong record of protecting life and this amendment will forever enshrine that principle in our Constitution.”

Many Members fought for the passage of the constitutional amendment for several years, but their efforts were blocked in subcommittees. The process for amending the State's Constitution is a long one. Joint resolutions must pass one General Assembly by a majority, which was accomplished last year for this bill. In the subsequent General Assembly, it must be passed by two-thirds, before finally being put to the voters in the next gubernatorial election.

House Protects Teacher Pay

On Wednesday, the Majority passed legislation that protects teacher pay from reductions in Tennessee. While local school boards and municipalities face tight budgets along with other government agencies, Members of the Majority are committed to making sure our valuable teachers are protected from budget cuts.

The legislation, House Bill 367, simply prohibits any local education agency from lowering teacher salaries, without a corresponding change in the teacher's duties, or lowering the amount spent for teacher benefits from one school year to the next.

Teachers need to know we support their hard work in the classroom and this bill shows that. I am committed to giving a voice to all teachers and this legislation ensures our educators can rest assured we will fight to make sure their salaries are never reduced.”

House Closes Criminal Code Loophole

The General Assembly has been vigilant when it comes to protecting the rights and security of victims. Recent news reports have shown an alarming trend with violent criminals taking advantage of a loophole in Tennessee’s legal code.

HB 401 creates a “good faith exception” to the Exclusionary Rule so courts will have a legitimate alternative to allow evidence to be heard in a case and sets out a clear definition so there will be clarity on the issue.

Criminals and defense attorneys have taken advantage of this loophole for years causing violent offenders, including murderers, to be released because of small clerical errors. In an effort to protect society and honor victims, I am proud to say we have closed this loophole.

New Legislation Slams the Door on Looters

HB 1946, known as the “retail theft” bill, provides a new offense whereby courts may require a criminal to perform public service as designated by the court. The offender would be required to perform at least the number of hours of public service necessary to satisfy the fine assessed by the court at minimum wage.

Simply put, this bill was crafted to crack down on looters. These are some of the most despicable criminals who hurt families in their time of most need. Instead of just throwing them behind bars, this legislation ensures they are put to work rebuilding our communities and doing hard work to make up for their unacceptable crimes. Let us continue to keep those families in our prayers who have been affected by last month’s horrible tornadoes.

Major Protection for Tennessee Workers Passes House

During the mid-week, the House enacted HB 1747, a major protection for Tennessee’s workforce. In basic terms, the legislation ensures the Volunteer State’s workforce will never face intimidation or coercive tactics by unions who are forcibly trying to unionize factories or workshops.

The bill ensures all employees, who want to select a bargaining representative for their workplace, may utilize a secret ballot – a core principle of American voting tradition.

Secret ballot voting is a basic American value that we must protect. No citizen should be forced to join a union or pay dues to a union just to have the opportunity to work and provide for their family. For the last five years, unions have spent millions of dollars across the country to pass bills that effectively eliminate employees’ rights. With this legislation, we are forever ensuring those horrid tactics will never be a reality in Tennessee.


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