NASHVILLE, March 20, 2017– The past few days on Capitol Hill in Nashville have been incredibly busy. President Trump visited with state leaders, education legislation is advancing, and judicial reform issues are being considered. Details are below!
President Trump Visits Tennessee
Last week’s visit by President Trump to Tennessee made for a unique week in Nashville. It was extremely humbling to have the opportunity to represent District 64 at President Trump’s special wreath laying ceremony at the Hermitage on Wednesday afternoon. The ceremony was meant to commemorate President Andrew Jackson’s 250th birthday and it was s joy being with my colleagues and enjoying this celebration with President Trump.
Education Moves toward Digital Resources
The House Education Instruction and Programs Committee on which I serve heard from the La Vergne based
Department of Corrections Provides Insight During Testimony
Commissioner Tony Parker testified Tuesday about the proposed budget and corresponding programs for the department of corrections (TDOC). In the hearing, Commissioner Parker explained there are currently 21,000 prisoners in TDOC custody and another 78,000 in TDOC supervision programs.
Parker went on to say the budget for fiscal year 2017 was $957.5 million. The requested budget for fiscal year 2018 is $969.96. The increase is for the hiring of forty new TDOC employees pursuant to the Public Safety Act. These new positions will be tasked with helping people in TDOC supervision get back into the productive community.
The commissioner broke the budget down into the cost of maintaining each offender that TDOC is responsible for. The offenders who are in jail, where the state reimburses counties for holding them, costs the state $49.83 per day per inmate. Those held in state prisons, costs the state $71.44 per day per inmate. The average cost for holding an inmate is $65.27 per day per offender.
To contrast this, TDOC community supervised parolees costs the state $3 per day per person. The commissioner explained that the forty new employees would be helping to reduce the offenders in prison by converting them to supervised. In the long run, the commissioner explained, the Public Safety Act would pay off.
Another topic discussed during Tuesday’s hearing was the use of mobile phones in prisons. Committee members expressed concerns about inmates using phones while being incarcerated. The commissioner explained that due to FCC regulations, call blocking technologies are not allowed at prison facilities.
Judicial Reform for Expunction for Juveniles Addressed
On Thursday we voted to reduce the age from 18 to 17 that which a court may expunge a person’s adjudication of delinquency or unruliness upon their petition to the court. The bill adds that if the convictions are solely for unruliness or delinquency and would be a misdemeanor if committed by an adult, that the court must expunge all court files and records after one year from the child’s completion and discharge of any probation or conditions of supervision.
Maury Leadership visited the Capitol on Thursday and we are looking forward to hosting the Mule Day Queen and her Court next week!