Contact: Rabiah Burks
Push for Drug-Free School Zone Reform Dies in Tennessee House Finance Committee
NASHVILLE – On Monday, the Tennessee House Committee on Finance, Ways, and Means voted 13-9 against HB 2111. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tilman Goins (R-Morristown), would have reduced the length of the drug-free school zones from 1,000 feet to 500 feet and cut all drug-free school zones off at any federal or state four-lane highway. The bill’s companion in the Senate, SB 2062 sponsored by Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntingdon), was scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor before the bill died in the House. FAMM’s VP of Policy Molly Gill issued the following statement on the committee vote.
We are extremely disappointed to see this reform fail in the House Finance committee. Tennessee’s drug-free school zone law is far too broad. The 1,000 feet zones routinely ensnare low-level drug dealers and users with no intention of interacting with children and sentence them to prison terms fit for a kingpin. These mandatory drug-free school zone sentences are not only a waste of government resources and tax dollars but they also impair effective and efficient public safety and law enforcement. Reforming the drug-free school zone law should remain a priority for the Tennessee legislature in the upcoming session.
Tennessee’s 110th General Assembly will likely adjourn today, ending this year’s legislative session. The Assembly, once adjourned, will not meet again until 2019.
FAMM is a nonpartisan, national advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice reforms to make our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM promotes change by raising the voices of families and individuals who are directly affected by counterproductive sentencing and prison policies.
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