Editorial roundup: Tennessee | Tennessee News


Kingsport Times News. April 11, 2022.

Editorial: Bentley’s law will force drunk drivers to pay child support

With Governor Bill Lee’s expected signature, Bentley’s law will require a drunk driver who kills a relative to pay child support. The new law will hold drunk drivers accountable.

Likewise, state lawmakers should also use it as a basis for holding law enforcement agencies accountable for unnecessary (and not all of them, mind you) high-speed pursuits that cost victims their lives. innocent people who have the fatal misfortune of being wrong. place at the wrong time.

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Under the Bentley Act, an impaired driver convicted of homicide while driving a motor vehicle will be ordered to pay compensation in the form of child support to each of the victim’s children until they have 18 and graduating from high school.

If the defendant is incarcerated and cannot pay, the defendant has one year after release to begin payments. If the child turns 18 but has not been paid in full, payments will continue until the child is fully paid, the invoice states.

Bentley’s law was proposed by Cecilia Williams of Missouri, who requested that the legislation be named after her 5-year-old grandson. Williams says no amount of money can compensate for the loss of life. But she hopes the law will ease some of the financial burdens of children left without parents.

“It will always be a constant reminder to the offender of what the person’s actions have caused,” Williams wrote. It’s powerful and just an extra sentence beyond jail time.

Williams, a mother and grandmother, lost her son Cordell Williams, his girlfriend Lacey Newton and their 5-month-old son Cordell Jr. in a drunk driving incident in April 2021. Surviving was their son Bentley, who must now grow up without parents.

“I wish I had thought of that years ago,” Sumner County Rep. William Lamberth said.

“It’s a very creative bill,” said Rep. Antonio Parkinson of Memphis. “It’s a good bill and I support it.”

The bill passed unanimously in the Tennessee Senate and House.

Impaired driving is a growing problem. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, in 2020, 5,918 impaired driving crashes were reported. In 2021, this number has increased to 6,047. The number of innocent people killed in a high-speed chase is also increasing.

Last December, A. Grace Pearson, 22, a summa cum laude graduate of East Tennessee State University, was driving along West Market Street in Johnson City when her vehicle was struck from behind with sufficient speed to destroy it and cost him his life. She was another innocent victim, her vehicle was hit by a car that lost control at high speed as she was chased through the streets of Johnson City by law enforcement.

Tennessee state law allows police to exceed speed limits and ignore red lights during a chase so long as they “exercise caution,” which keeps pursuing officers and communities that employ them harmless for any injury or damage resulting from such pursuit. This must change. As long as the state refuses to ban unnecessary high-speed police chases, it should hold localities financially responsible for minor children of parents whose deaths have occurred as a result.

Johnson City Press. April 12, 2022.

Editorial: There is no excuse not to vote

In 1996, Tennessee became one of the first states in the nation to offer early voting to those who don’t want to line up on election day. Unfortunately, too many Tennesseans are not exercising one of their most precious rights in our free society.

Wednesday is the start of early voting for the May 3 primary election for county offices. The early voting period ends on April 28.

Because the area is dominated by Republican voters, several Republican primaries this year will provide the only candidates for the county’s Aug. 4 general election.

We have heard many excuses over the years for not going to the polls, but none adequately explains the reasons for not exercising this important right of citizenship. Among the most fragile are: “I didn’t know there was an election going on”, “I don’t know enough about the candidates to make an informed choice” and “I don’t have time to vote “. We find this last excuse extremely false.

Regardless of turnout, it still costs the county the same dollar amount to run an election. Taxpayers can only get their money’s worth if they show up at the polls.

It is important that you have an approved photo ID with you when you go to vote. Acceptable photo IDs include driver’s licenses, US passports, and government employee ID cards. However, university student ID cards are not accepted.

Be sure to review the sample ballot and the instructions for operating the voting machines that are posted at the polling place. Never leave a polling station without voting. Stay as long as it takes to complete the job because every vote counts.

Copyright 2022 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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