House Passes Bill To Help Families Protect Loved Ones

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NASHVILLE – On Monday, the Tennessee House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that gives family members the ability to get a court order to intercede when an adult relative is subject to abuse, neglect or exploitation.

“For too long individuals in Tennessee who had family members in jeopardy were not able to ask the court to intervene,” said State Representative Stratton Bone (D-Lebanon). “Thanks to this new legislation, sons and daughters with elderly parents will be able to gain a court order of protection for their loved ones from the abusers.”

Under present law, if a person knowingly abuses, neglects or exploits any adult who is unable to take care of themselves on their own, they can be charged with a Class E felony. Sponsored by Rep. Jim Hackworth (D-Clinton) and Sen. Andy Berke (D-Chattanooga), House Bill 2778 authorizes any relative having personal knowledge that an adult has been subject to these types of offenses, or believes could be in jeopardy of being subjected to these crimes, can seek relief for the family member by filing a sworn petition to any court with jurisdiction.

“We have to give families the ability to protect their most vulnerable members,” said Bone. “Our parents protected us when we were children, and now we must do all that we can to protect them during their golden years.”

Having passed the House 96-0, HB2778 now waits on passage in the Senate where it is expected to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee later this month. A description of the bill along with the calendar of its progress can be found online by going to and typing in HB2778 in the FIND LEGISLATION search box at the bottom.


Next week the House Judiciary Committee will take up important legislation aimed at keeping drunk drivers off the road and stuck in their cars.

“It is our job to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep those people who choose to break the law off the streets and keep the innocent out of harms way,” said Bone. “If we have the technology to keep repeat drunk drivers cars from starting and stop them from hurting others then we need to use it.”

House Bill 2917 is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Henry Fincher (D-Cookeville) that is supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) and is one of the toughest interlock bills in the nation. Under the bill, any person in Tennessee convicted of a DUI would be required to have an interlock for at least one year on their car. The penalty would be extended longer for multiple offenders. Those offenders who drive without the device or who tamper with the interlock could face a minimum of two days in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Also proposed within the legislation is the creation of the Interlock Assistance Fund that would be paid by convicted drunk drivers and the interlock companies to fund interlock devices for those indigent defendants who could not afford the device on their own. That would mean an additional $2 million annually would be raised to combat drunk driving as the bill is currently amended.

“There continues to be too many families in Tennessee that have to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions without their loved ones by their side because of drunk drivers,” said Bone. “These interlock controls could go a long way toward curbing DUI deaths in Tennessee and I believe we must step up to make our roads safe for drivers who follow the law.”

The legislation is scheduled to be heard by the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 2, at 3:30 p.m. CST. The committee can be followed online when in session at by clicking on VIDEOS.
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