Warning to business owners: If you've been letting minors engage in sexual activity while they are at your establishment, you had better put a stop to it as of July 1.
A new law passed by the Tennessee General Assembly during its recent session now makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a person 18 years of age or older to knowingly promote or organize a gathering of two or more minors in a public place with the intent to provide a location for such minors to engage in public indecency.
That includes anyone who owns, manages or operates a business or retail establishment. However, if the minor is less than thirteen years of age, then the offense is a Class C felony.
The bill also gives a court the authority to decree a forfeiture of property, suspend or cancel a license, declare the establishment a nuisance or impose costs and other monetary obligations if specifically authorized by law.
In addition, any personal property used in the commission of a violation of this offense would, upon conviction, be subject to judicial forfeiture.
A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a sentence not greater than eleven (11) months twenty-nine (29) days in jail or a fine not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute.
Some other interesting laws enacted by the state legislature this year include:
Public Chapter 0987: Mandatory Sentencing for Domestic Violence
Establish mandatory sentences for repeat domestic violence convictions. Provides for jail terms of 30 days for second offenses and 90 days for third offenses.
Public Chapter 0781: Student Apparel
Requires Local Education Agencies to include in student discipline codes a prohibition on students wearing on school grounds during the school day clothing that exposes underwear or body parts in an indecent manner that disrupts the learning environment.
Public Chapter 1076: Public Indecency
Increases from $1,500 to $2,000 the fine that may be imposed for a third or subsequent public indecency offense.
Public Chapter 1073: Rape Sentences
As introduced, requires that persons convicted of aggravated rape serve 100 percent of sentence.
Public Chapter 1071: Driver's Licenses
As introduced, requires all driver licenses issued or renewed on or after July 1, 2012, to bear a photo of the applicant by removing present exemption for persons 60 years of age or older.
Public Chapter 0621: Driver's Licenses
Requires visible full face color photograph of a licensee for a driver's license.
Public Chapter 1071: Reckless Driving
Requires a person who pleads guilty to offense of reckless driving or reckless endangerment where the originally charged offense is DUI to pay fine from within the same range as first offense DUI fine.
Public Chapter 0612: Military Service
Creates the Class B misdemeanor offense of a person falsely representing that he or she was or is a member of theUnited Statesarmed forces with the intent to deceive another into believing such representation.
Public Chapter 0987: Domestic Assault
Increases punishment for second and subsequent convictions of domestic assault. For a second conviction of domestic assault , there will be imposed a fine of between $350 and $3,500, and the person will be confined to the county jail or workhouse for not less than 30 days, nor more than 11 months and 29 days; and for a third or subsequent conviction of domestic assault as described above in (1), there will be imposed a fine of between $1,100 and $5,000, and the person will be confined in the county jail or workhouse for not less than 90 days, nor more than 11 months and 29 days.
Public Chapter 0885: Public Indeceny
Revises the punishment for the offenses of public indecency and indecent exposure and revises the definition of "public place" with regard to the offense of public indecency. specifies that the offense of public indecency would be a Class E felony if a person engages in masturbation on the property of any public school, private or parochial school, licensed day care center, or other child care facility, and the person knows or reasonably should know that a child is likely to be present on the property at the time of the conduct. Specifies that indecent exposure would be a Class E felony if the defendant is 18 years of age or older and the victim is under 13 years of age and the offense occurs on the property of any public school, private or parochial school, licensed day care center or other child care facility during a time at which a child or children are likely to be present on the property.
Public Charter 0660: Wild Ginseng
Makes it a Class A misdemeanor criminal offense for any person to knowingly dig, harvest, collect or remove wild ginseng from any land that such person does not own on any date not within the wild ginseng harvest season.
Public Chapter 0670 - Teachers, Principals and School Personnel
Protects a teacher from discipline for teaching scientific subjects in an objective manner.
Public Chapter 0687 - School Bus Behavior
Regulates student conduct on school buses; permits school personnel, including school bus drivers, to use reasonable force, subject to certain restrictions, in maintaining discipline.
Public Chapter 686: Display of Historical Documents
Allow counties to display in county buildings and on county public grounds, replicas
of historical documents including but not limited to the Ten Commandments, Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, Constitution of Tennessee, and other such historically significant documents in the form of statues, monuments, memorials, tablets, or any other display that respects the dignity and solemnity of the documents.
Public Chapter 766: Criminal Offenses Committed by Public Official
Makes elected and appointed public officials ineligible for pretrial diversion or probation for criminal offenses committed in their official capacity or that involve the duties of their offices.
Public Chapter 977: Litter Removal - DUI Offenders - Fee
Provides that in order to compensate the probation office or county official who administers the state litter removal grant for costs related to the supervision of the offender while on a litter removal work crew, the offender shall pay to the probation office or county official who administers the state litter removal grant a fee for each day the offender participates in a litter removal program. The fee shall be fixed by resolution of the county legislative body. The probation office or county official that administers the state litter removal grant may collect the fee before the offender is permitted to perform litter removal services, after each day service is performed, or after all days of litter removal service have been performed, but the fee shall be collected before the office certifies that the offender has completed this condition of probation.
Public Chapter 907: Carrying Children on Motorcycles
Makes illegal the operation of motorcycle on the streets of any municipality, roads of any county, or the highways of this state, while carrying a child as a passenger if the child's feet are not on footpegs. Provides that a person charged with a violation of this law may, in lieu of appearance in court, submit a fine of fifty dollars ($50.00) to the clerk of the court that has jurisdiction of the offense within the county.
Public Chapter 994: Bail
Requires persons who have previously failed to appear in court as scheduled to post money or real estate as security for a bail bond.
Public Chapter 1073 Criminal Sentencing for Sexual Offenses
Adds "aggravated rapist" to the list of persons who must serve their entire sentence undiminished by sentence reduction credits. Defines "aggravated rapist" and redefines "multiple rapist."
Public Chapter 1103: Expungement of Certain Convictions
Provides that a person convicted of certain listed less serious felonies and certain misdemeanors may file a petition for expungement of that person's public records involving the offense if: (1) At the time of filing, the person has never been convicted of any criminal offense, including federal offenses and offenses in other states, other than the offense committed for which the petition for expungement is filed; (2) At the time of the filing of the petition for expungement at least five (5) years have elapsed since the completion of the sentence imposed for the offense; and (3) The person has fulfilled all the requirements of the sentence imposed by the court in which the individual was convicted of the offense, including: (a) Payment of all fines, restitution, court costs and other assessments; (b) Completion of any term of imprisonment or probation; (c) Meeting all conditions of supervised or unsupervised release; and (d) If so required by the conditions of the sentence imposed, remaining free from dependency on or abuse of alcohol or a controlled substance or other prohibited substance for a period of not less than one (1) year.
Public Chapter 690: First Amendment Rights in Schools
Prohibits LEAs and school administrators from prohibiting personnel from participating in religious activities on school grounds that are initiated by students at reasonable times before or after the instructional day so long as the activities are voluntary and do not conflict with the responsibilities of such personnel. Does not prohibit LEAs and administrators from allowing personnel to participate in other constitutionally permissible religious activities on school grounds.
Public Chapter 844: Jaclyn's Law
Provides that a first responder and the responder's supervisor, agency, employer or supervising entity is immune from civil liability resulting from a forcible entry of a home, business or other structure if the first responder: (1) Is responding to a documented 911 call for emergency assistance; (2) Has made reasonable efforts to summon an occupant of the home, business, or structure that made the call by knocking or otherwise notifying the occupant of the first responder's presence; (3) Has not received a response from an occupant within a reasonable period of time after making reasonable efforts to summon an occupant; and (4) Has a good faith belief that it is necessary to make a forcible entry for the purposes of rendering emergency assistance or preventing imminent bodily harm.
Public Chapter 848: Strip Searches - Body Cavity Searches
Provides that no person arrested for a traffic, regulatory or misdemeanor offense, except in cases involving weapons, a controlled substance or controlled substance analogue, shall be strip searched unless there is reasonable belief that the individual is concealing a weapon, a controlled substance, a controlled substance analogue or other contraband. Section 29 adds controlled substance analogue to list of items that may be searched for during a body cavity search.
Public Chapter 965: DNA Samples
Expands the list of violent felony offenses that result in a defendant who is arrested for the commission of such offense being required to undergo DNA testing. The offenses added by this bill are: aggravated vehicular homicide; criminally negligent homicide; reckless homicide; vehicular homicide; and voluntary manslaughter.
Public Chapter 726: Unlawful Possession of Firearm
Increases the punishment for unlawful possession of firearm by person with previous felony conviction.
Public Chapter 737: Motor Vehicle Offense - "Ricky Otts Act"
Provides that an officer shall detain a driver without a warrant and bring the driver before a committing magistrate if the driver is involved in an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death and does not have a valid driver license and does not have evidence of financial responsibility.
Public Chapter 856: Missing Children
Provides that every law enforcement officer receiving information from a parent or any source that it deems creditable shall prepare a formal missing child report. A law enforcement agency reporting a missing child is further required to enter or cause to be entered the report of the missing child into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) within two (2) hours of the receipt of the initial missing child report.
Public Chapter 893: DUI - Defenses
Provides that it is not a defense to a violation of the DUI law that a person who drives a vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, drug or substance affecting the central nervous system is or has been entitled to use one or more of such substances.
Public Chapter 907: Motorcycles
Provides that a person commits a Class C misdemeanor who on the streets of any municipality, roads of any county, or the highways of this state, carries a child as a passenger on a motorcycle whose feet are not on foot pegs. This provision does not apply to persons riding in a motorcycle sidecar.
Public Chapter 919: Driving Under the Influence
Provides that if a person is convicted of driving under the influence and the trier of fact finds that, at the time of the offense, the person was accompanied by a child under eighteen years of age, the person's sentence shall be enhanced by a mandatory minimum period of incarceration of thirty days and a mandatory minimum fine of one thousand dollars. The incarceration enhancement shall be served in addition to, and at the conclusion of, any period of incarceration received for the violation of driving under the influence. The fine enhancement shall be in addition to any fine imposed for the violation of driving under the influence.
Public Chapter 1003: Interfering with Emergency Calls
Provides that an individual commits an offense if the individual knowingly prevents another individual from placing a telephone call or intentionally renders unusable a telephone that would otherwise be used by another individual to place a telephone call to 911 or from requesting assistance in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals.