NASHVILLE – On Thursday, the Tennessee House of Representatives approved a new law making it a crime to knowingly harbor a runaway child and passed new time requirements on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations to notify the FBI within 48 hours of receiving new information on known sex offenders.
“We must always stay vigilant when it comes to protecting our children and these bills we passed today continue to toughen our laws against those who would do our children harm,” said State Representative Stratton Bone (D-Lebanon).
House Bill 3376 sponsored by Representative Ty Cobb (D-Columbia) is a bipartisan bill that creates a Class A misdemeanor for anyone who “harbors a runaway” and either fails to notify the child's parents or law enforcement authorities of the whereabouts of the child, conceals the whereabouts of the child, or aids the child in escaping from the custody of the child's parents or law enforcement authorities.
“This legislation is designed to encourage folks who may know of or have contact with a runaway child to do the right thing and either contact the child’s family or the proper authorities,” said Bone. “Most people want to do the right thing, but there are those with improper motives and hopefully this legislation will make them think twice.”
House Bill 3370 co-sponsored by Representative Hank Fincher (D-Clinton) is also a bipartisan bill measure that requires the TBI to report current sexual offender registration, verification, and tracking information to the identification division of the FBI within 48 hours of receipt of such information. The law previously required the TBI to relay that information “promptly.”
“Sexual predators can strike at any moment, so it is critical that our state and federal law enforcement departments share current information on known sexual predators swiftly,” said Bone. “By giving a specified time, the chances that importance information gets lost or forgotten is greatly reduced.”
Both bills passed the House unanimously and are set to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 6, 2010. To follow the progress of these bills online, please visit HYPERLINK "http://www.capitol.tn.gov" www.capitol.tn.gov.
TENNESSEE TO RECEIVE $500 MILLION IN “RACE TO THE TOP” FUNDING
On Monday, the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that Delaware and Tennessee won grants in the first phase of the Race to the Top competition. Tennessee
“The hard work and commitment to improving Tennessee’s education system during this year’s special session is already beginning to pay off,” said Rep. Bone. “This money will allow us to begin making the improvements we need to teachers and classrooms and continue to push Tennessee’s schools in the right direction.”
Tennessee will receive approximately $500 million to implement their comprehensive school reform plans over the next four years. By law, half of the grant will be given directly to local education authorities and must be used under Race to the Top guidelines.
"This money will mean more teacher training and development to ensure that our educators have the skills they need to inspire a new generation of Tennesseans to be the best they can be,” Bone said.
The Race to the Top program includes $4 billion for statewide reform grants and $350 million to support states working together to improve the quality of their assessments. The Race to the Top state competition is designed to reward states that are leading the way in comprehensive, coherent, statewide education reform across four key areas:
Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace;
Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals how to improve instruction;
Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
Turning around their lowest-performing schools.
To learn more about the “Race to the Top” program, please visit HYPERLINK "http://www.ed.gov" www.ed.gov.