Read the special session call on public safety

Our friends at the Tennessee Lookout have gotten their hands on what appears to be a draft of Gov. Bill Lee’s special session call. UPDATE: It’s now official.

Lee’s office said it will propose bills on the following topics (lawmakers may introduce others):

1. Codification of [Executive Order 100] and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Report Implementation: Requires reporting of accurate, complete and timely records from court clerks to the TBI within 72-hours and requires electronic submissions of dispositions and expungements to the TBI.

2. TennCare Mental Health Coverage Waiver: Directs TennCare to seek a waiver from the federal government to allow federal matching funds for Medicaid to cover services for mental illness and substance use disorders at institutions of mental diseases.

3. Addressing Mental Health Workforce Challenges: Budget initiatives that prioritize opportunities to grow and retain mental health professionals in the state.

4. Reforms for Mental Health: Expands access to mental health treatment by eliminating certain collaborative practice requirements for Advanced Registered Practice Nurses with psychiatric training.

5. Strengthening the Identification of Individuals Arrested for Felonies: Provides for the collection of DNA at the time of an arrest for all felonies.

6. Human Trafficking Report: Resolution directing TBI to report on the state of human trafficking in Tennessee.

7. Promoting Safe Storage: Eliminates taxes on firearm safes and safety devices, provides free gun locks, expands safe storage training in state-approved safety courses, and creates a public service announcement to promote safe storage.

Here’s the call:

WHEREAS, public safety is of prime importance to Tennesseans, and enhancing public safety requires a multi-faceted approach that likewise protects Constitutional rights; and

WHEREAS, Tennessee and our nation continue to experience acts of mass violence; and

WHEREAS, Tennesseans are experiencing mental health issues to an unprecedented degree, and this crisis affects not only those suffering from mental health issues, but also society at large; and

WHEREAS, in response to Executive Order 100, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation identified barriers to timely and accurate information sharing throughout the criminal Justice system, particularly regarding information that should be entered in state and national crime databases; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of Tennessee that the General Assembly convene to expeditiously address these concerns.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Bill Lee, Governor of the State of Tennessee, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by Article III, Section 9 of the Tennessee Constitution, do hereby call the One Hundred Thirteenth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee to meet and convene in extraordinary session at the Capitol in Nashville on August 21, 2023, at 4:00 p.m., Central Time, to consider and act upon legislation regarding:

(1) Mental health resources, providers, commitments, or services;

(2) School safety plans or policies;

(3) Health care providers’ duty to warn about potential violent offenses;

(4) Offenses of committing acts of mass violence or threatening to commit acts of mass violence;

(5) Reports from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation regarding human trafficking;

(6) Identification of individuals arrested for felonies;

(7) Law enforcement’s access to criminal and juvenile records;

(8) Law enforcement’s access to information about individuals who are subject to mental health commitment;

(9) Information about victims of violent offenses;

(10) Stalking offenses;

(11) Measures encouraging the safe storage of firearms, which do not include the creation
of penalties for failing to safely store firearms;

(12) Temporary mental health orders of protection, which must be initiated by law enforcement, must require a due process hearing, must require the respondent to undergo an assessment for suicidal or homicidal ideation, must require law enforcement to prove its case by clear and convincing evidence, must require that an order of protection be reevaluated at least every one-hundred eighty (180) days, and must not permit ex parte orders;

(13) The transfer of juvenile defendants aged sixteen (16) and older to courts with criminal jurisdiction, which must include appeal rights for the juveniles and the prosecuting authorities;

(14) Limiting the circumstances in which juvenile records may be expunged;

(15) Blended sentencing for juveniles;

(16) Offenses related to inducing or coercing a minor to commit an offense;

(17) The structure or operations of state or local courts· and

(18) Making appropriations sufficient to provide funding for any legislation that receives final passage during the extraordinary session; making appropriations sufficient to pay the expenses of the extraordinary session, including the expenses of carrying out any actions taken pursuant to this proclamation; making appropriations sufficient to support mental health initiatives; making appropriations for school safety grants, as described on page B-90 of the 2023-2024 Budget Document and in Section 54, Item 1-41, Section 60, Item 25, and Section 60, Item 26 of Chapter 418, Public Acts of 2023; and making appropriations to support school safety at institutions of higher education.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Tennessee to be affixed at Nashville on this 8th day of August, 2023.


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