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Press Releases

GOP Lawmakers Propose New Pseudoephedrine-Tracking System

Press Release from Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, and Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, Feb. 3, 2011:

Proposed system would help prevent illegal sales of pseudoephedrine-containing medicines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senator Mae Beavers (R – Mount Juliet) and Representative Debra Maggart (R – Hendersonville) introduced legislation [SB 325/HB 234] today that calls for the adoption of a statewide, industry-funded electronic tracking system, called NPLEx (the National Precursor Log Exchange), to monitor and stop illicit purchases of over-the-counter cold and allergy products containing pseudoephedrine (PSE), an ingredient sometimes used to illegally manufacture methamphetamine. The bill provides an alternative, less-intrusive solution to the prescription-only bill (HB 181) introduced last week.

“This kind of government intrusion in our lives is not the solution we need to attack the meth problem in Tennessee,” said Sen. Beavers, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate. “We should not punish the tens of thousands of innocent Tennesseans who need this over-the-counter medication to get at the criminals who are using the drug illegally to produce meth when there is another approach which is very effective. Our legislation offers a proven, effective, non-governmental solution to the problem, without pushing up the cost of the medication on consumers by requiring them to visit a physician to obtain a prescription.”

There is currently no mechanism in place in Tennessee to block illegal sales in real time, as many pharmacies and retailers rely on handwritten, paper logbooks to track purchases. As a result, criminals have learned to circumvent the current system. SB 325/HB 234 would provide a secure, interconnected electronic logbook that allows pharmacists and retailers to refuse an illegal sale based on purchases made elsewhere in the state or beyond its borders. Most importantly, SB 325/HB 234 preserves access to the PSE medicines consumers rely on and trust for cold and allergy relief.

“For all law-abiding Tennesseans, the experience of buying cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine at the local pharmacy will not change,” said Rep. Maggart, the bill’s sponsor in the House of Representatives. “However, for those looking to purchase more than their legal limit, this system will immediately deny the sale, and law enforcement will possess a powerful tool to track down these individuals when they attempt to do so.”

In the four states that have fully implemented e-tracking technology, nearly 40,000 grams of illegal PSE sales per month are blocked. The system, which provides local law enforcement officials with precise data on who is attempting to buy illegal amounts of PSE, also helps law enforcement find meth labs.

“NPLEx is effective because it prevents the illegal sale of pseudoephedrine from ever happening in the first place,” said Carlos Gutierrez, a state government relations consultant at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “Electronic blocking technology gives law enforcement the ability to identify meth cooks, not only in Tennessee, but across state lines and in real time.”

The leading manufacturers of over-the-counter medicines containing PSE, represented by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, are working closely with state legislators and law enforcement to help implement NPLEx technology to pharmacies and retailers in Tennessee free of charge.

SB 325/HB 234 is supported by the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry. If passed into law, SB 325/HB 234 would make Tennessee the 13th state to pass legislation requiring a statewide e-tracking system to block illegal sales of medicines containing PSE. The NPLEx system would be fully integrated into Tennessee pharmacy systems by January 1, 2012.

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Liberty and Justice News

Juvenile Sex Offender Bill Debated

A bill to add juveniles convicted of sex crimes to adult sex offender registry rolls could come up for a committee vote this week.

House lawmakers heard more than three hours of testimony last Tuesday on a piece of legislation introduced by Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, who says it is necessary both to protect the public as well as line Tennessee up to receive a bigger chunk of federal law enforcement subsidies.

The bill would apply to offenders between the ages of 14 and 18 who are convicted of aggravated rape, rape, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated rape of a child, rape of a child if the victim is at least four years younger than the offender, or attempt to commit any of those crimes.

A juvenile would be placed on the registry after their second offense. Those who mental health officials deem to be at “high risk” to re-offend would be added to the registry after their first offense. Offenders would be on the registry for 25 years.

“Frankly, I don’t care if the rapist living next door is 51-years-old or 15-years-old – I think I have a right to know where he is,” said Rep. Henry Fincher, D-Cookville, who is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Testifying in favor of the measure, Sumner County District Attorney General Ray Whitley declared that “knowledge is power,” and said the bill ultimately serves the purpose of giving parents a better ability to protect their children from attack by sexual predators, regardless of the offender’s age.

“Do you want to place emphasis on protecting the juvenile offenders, or do you want to place emphasis on juvenile victims – the little six-year-old, the little four-year-old whose parents might not have known that there is a violent sex offender living next door or going to church with them?” said the prosecutor. “Who do you want to protect?”

Opponents of the bill say it goes too far, and that it basically crosses a line at which giving a lasting stigma to a youthful violent sex offender becomes more risky to the community than not allowing the public immediate access to juveniles convicted of the crimes.

“For most of these kids, this is a life sentence,” said Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge Carlton Lewis. Adding them to sex offender rolls would result in the juveniles being “branded for life,” he said.

Another judge said juvenile offenders should not be treated the same as adult offenders.

“If we want to treat sex offenders like we treat adult sex offenders, let’s adjudicate it all in Sessions Court and Criminal Court, said Knox County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin. “That’s what Juvenile Court is about. Juvenile Court, sometimes, is about taking chances.”

Supporters of the legislation, like one woman who testified that her 5-year-old son was molested, said public identification of sex offenders is a necessity, even if the offenders are juveniles. She also said she would check the registry to make sure her son was not around juveniles who have had a history of sexual offenses.

One mother of a juvenile sex offender said she too supports a registry. Not only would it make neighborhoods and communities safer, but it’d also help protect offenders liker her son “from his own self and his own actions,” she said.

Ultimately, developing a juvenile registry might lead to fewer cases being reported, said Trudy Hughes of the Blount County Child Advocacy Center.

“In 90 to 95 percent of these cases, there is a knowing and trusting relationship between the parties involved,” she said. “That often impacts reporting already.”

Dr. Bill Murphy, a psychiatrist who treats juvenile sex offenders in Memphis, said “most of the research would say” establishing a registry would be ineffective in protecting the community, he said.

Murphy added that it would also be difficult for law enforcement and probation officers to keep up with those on the registry because they are already stretched thin just keeping tabs on adult offenders.

Lawmakers on the panel say they’re interested in trying to balance concern for public safety and the effects the law could have on juvenile offenders.

“I think I’m struggling like most other people,” said Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma. “I think these egregious offenses have got to be put on some type of registry where the public has to be made aware of them. But at the same time, I think we’re painting too many of our citizens into a corner one way or another and condemning them to a life that’s never going to be productive.”

Matheny suggested the cases be handled in juvenile court, then have a different judge review the case and the progress the teen has made in therapy 90 days before the teen’s 18th birthday. That final judge would decide if the teen belongs on the registry.

Another suggestion was to have mental health professionals assess and decide whether the teen belongs on the registry. A third suggestion in committee would make the registry only available to law enforcement.

A companion bill in the Senate has yet to be taken up by that chamber’s Judiciary Committee.

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Business and Economy Featured Health Care News

Who Should Give Medications in Nursing Homes?

A proposal to expand the range of employees in long-term care facilities who can legally administer certain medicines to patients is running into opposition from some registered nurses.

The change is designed to lighten the heavy workloads often carried by nurses — or at least to possibly free up some of their time so they can use it on more challenging professional tasks, according to some lawmakers.

At issue is a measure to let a new class of nursing assistants give patients medications like commonplace pain relievers, topical creams and a limited number of prescription drugs. Lawmakers, including Gov. Phil Bredesen, OK’d that plan last year — but the Tennessee Board of Nursing shot it down.

The measure, which was up for debate Tuesday, will be heard again next week in a legislative sub-committee.

The nursing board — in what some lawmakers saw as open defiance of the legislature and the governor — adopted rules recently indicating that registered nurses be the only ones to decide which lower level workers will give medications to whom.

Lawmakers who passed the measure last year said the specific intent was for licensed practical nurses, who are a step below registered nurses, to also delegate that duty to certified medication aides.

Two Republicans introduced bills this year that would require both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses to delegate their medicine-giving authority. They would oversee the certified medication aides who could administer the drugs once they’d completed 75 hours of training.

Individuals can apply to become a certified medication aide only after working for at least year as a nursing assistant, which includes helping patients with tasks like getting out of bed, eating or using the bathroom.

There is a long list of medications the aides would not be allowed to give, leaving only oral drugs such as Tylonol, Advil, vitamins, laxatives, blood pressure and allergy medications or topical creams like Neosporin.

Sen. Diane Black, a registered nurse from Gallatin, led her bill to passage 27-1 last month in the Senate. Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis, was the only member to vote against it.

But the House bill is still in committee.

Sponsored by Rep. Debra Young Maggart of Hendersonville, House Bill 3368 was on hold last week in the Professional Occupations subcommittee after Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, and Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory expressed opposition.

Turner asked Maggart to hit the brakes for a week to give members more time to figure out their vote. Although Favors indicated there’s little likelihood she’ll be changing her mind anytime soon.

“If we pass this, we can come back in a couple years and call it the Euthanasia Bill,” Favors said during last week’s committee meeting.

The new class of nursing assistants, created by a state law approved last year, lacks the medical training necessary to understand if a patient is having an adverse reaction to a medication, she said. And requiring an additional 75 hours of training will not prevent the increased potential for deadly medicine mix-ups that the proposed legislation may inadvertently encourage, said Favors.

“It really is the dumbing-down of administering drugs, and that should not happen,” she told TNReport.

Favors opposed last year’s legislation. Despite her efforts to derail it in 2009, the measure passed by comfortable bipartisan margins in the House and Senate.

But the Tennessee Board of Nursing, which was charged with writing the rules to implement the new law, agreed with her and decided the plan wasn’t a good idea.

At the Jan. 21 board meeting, members voted on rules to keep registered nurses in charge of deciding who will give out medications to patients — essentially erasing any new authority licensed practical nurses, LPNs, would have to assign the new aides to  issue the pills or rub on medical ointments.

“We did not arbitrarily go against the will of the legislature,” said Cheryle Stegbauer who has chaired the nursing board since 2004. After listening to hours of archived legislative committee meetings discussing the measure, she said members of the board believed lawmakers were referring to registered nurses, not LPNs.

“I don’t think the board really saw that they had a mandate. If we thought we had a legislative mandate to open it to LPNs as well as RNs, we would have. We would have complied, but I don’t think that’s our understanding,” she told a committee of lawmakers Tuesday. “If you talk about intent of the legislature, you can look at the tapes and a lot of things said were not exactly what happened in the law.”

She said the board will keep an eye on the bill if it moves through the legislature and continue to do what it believes is safest for the public — but doesn’t plan to try to stop the bill.

The Tennessee Nurses Association is backing the board’s rule-making decision.

“We’re trying to make this as safe as possible for our frail and elderly who can’t advocate for themselves,” said Sharon Adkins, association executive director. “LPNs are trained to give medications. And let me tell you, their training is more than 75 hours.”

AARP Tennessee, which represents retired persons, hasn’t taken a side in the bill debate.

“We see it really as a stop gap. What we really need to see in Tennessee nursing homes is more staff,” said Karin Miller, the state’s AARP spokeswoman. “The state overall is facing a nursing shortage that is expected to get worse in coming years, and that issue is only exacerbated in some of our long-term care institutions.”

Tennessee nursing homes have the second largest shortage of registered nurses in the U.S., according to a 2009 report titled “Quality of Care and Litigation in Tennessee Nursing Homes,” commissioned by AARP.

Tennessee was also one of the 10 worst states for time RNs spend with each patient, which averaged 30 minutes a day, compared to 36 minutes nationally.

According to the study, Tennessee licensed practical nurses ranked above the national average. The LPNs logged in an average of 54 minutes per patient each day, compared to the national average of 48 minutes.

There are 22,000 nurses and caretakers to manage patients in the 37,850 nursing home beds, according to the Tennessee Health Care Association, which wants the new nursing aides to administer medications.

“Clearly we do not want to reduce the licensed nursing staff. It’s to use nursing staff more efficiently in the building,” said Deborah Heeney, THCA’s government relations director who predicted the nursing board will “fight us to the end.”

“It’s just because the nurses don’t believe anyone else should be able to give medication besides the nurses,” she said.

Maggart says she has the votes to push her bill through the House, but said she may consider officially asking the state attorney general to weigh in.

“There’s a lot of ways to skin a cat. There’s other ways we can go at this if, for some reason, it doesn’t pass,” said Maggart.

Categories
Education

Republicans Sounding Agreeable to Bredesen’s Education Reform Pitch

Gov. Phil Bredesen’s speech before a joint meeting of the House and Senate for the special legislative session on Tuesday drew skepticism from some in his own party. But to many Republicans on Capitol Hill, the reform plan outlined by the Democratic governor was just what they wanted to hear.

“He has asked us to be bold and join him in this opportunity to prepare students for this global economy and I’m excited about the opportunity,” said Senate Education Committee member Jamie Woodson, R-Knoxville. “I think this is an excellent opportunity for Tennessee, and I look forward to this week so we can work together.”

Bredesen is offering two legislative proposals for the special session.

One, called “Tennessee First to the Top Act of 2010,” is designed to position Tennessee to snatch up a portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars the Obama administration is dangling in front of states in “Race to the Top” education funding grants.

The other bill, the “Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010,” is written with the idea in mind of trying to boost lagging college completion rates in Tennessee. “On average, only 46 percent of full-time students at four-year schools graduate within six years, and only 12 percent of full-time community college students attain associate degrees within three years,” Bredesen told lawmakers.

For every 100 students who enter ninth grade in our public schools, Bredesen said, 67 graduate from high school in four years. Of those, 43 go directly to college after graduation, but only 29 return for their sophomore year.

“Just 19 graduate with an associate’s degree in three years or a bachelor’s degree in six years,” Bredesen said. “We can do better. We’ve got to do better.”

For Tennessee schools to have a chance at some of the “Race to the Top” funding, which is part of the stimulus package the Democratic-led Congress and the Obama administration passed last year, changes need to be made to how teachers here are evaluated, said Bredesen.

The “Race to the Top” application specifically requires that student achievement data be added as a “significant factor” to teacher and school principal evaluations, according to the governor. Other states the Bredesen administration sees as “primary competitors” have generally determined that half a teacher’s or principal’s performance evaluation should be based on student achievement.

Currently, it is illegal in Tennessee for school administrators to use student achievement data to rate and review teachers for tenure.

“I know this represents change, but this is not rocket science,” Bredesen said about his proposal to allow student progress to drive official teacher-performance assessments. “It is a commonsense notion; we pay teachers to teach children, a part of their evaluation ought to be how much the children they teach learn.”

Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, said afterward that Bredesen “made a very good case on why we need to do this, and that it’s probably the right thing to do.”

Democrats grumbled that all this proposed change is coming at them without much opportunity for considered debate and analysis. The deadline for the state to apply for the “Race to the Top” grants is Jan. 19. That means a legislative package needs to be on Bredesen’s desk before then.

“I think he’s pretty optimistic. I think he’s entered into a contest where we may or may not win and are trying to change the entire system in a very short period of time,” said Rep. John C. Tidwell of New Johnsonville. “A lot of the details don’t work out.”

While everyone “would love the luxury of time,” said Woodson, “this isn’t the only time in our legislative history that we’ve been talking about these important issues.”

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said tying teacher performance reviews to student test scores “is something (Republicans) have been pushing for years.”

Ramsey predicted that getting the legislative changes Bredesen wants passed through the chamber over which he presides probably won’t be too difficult. “I think we can do it,” said Ramsey. “I don’t see a lot of problem on the Senate side.”

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Press Releases

Reps. Maggart and Lynn Ask State AG to Intervene in Federal Health Care Legislation

Tennessee House of Representatives press release, Dec. 21, 2009:

On Monday, State Representatives Susan Lynn (R-Lebanon) and Debra Young Maggart (R-Hendersonville) asked Tennessee State Attorney General Robert Cooper to prepare to take the appropriate legal action against the federal government in the event HR 3200, the controversial federal healthcare reform legislation, passes into law.

The legislators requested this action in order to grant Tennessee relief from the unfunded mandate contained in the bill that Tennessee complies with the expansion of the federal Medicaid program.

The letter notes that under the bill Tennessee would be forced to expand the state’s Medicaid program potentially costing the citizens of the state $1.4 billion dollars in additional state taxpayer funds annually.

“Such an increase would place a great burden on the citizens of this state. It is clear by the wording of the legislation itself that not every state would face a similar and equal burden,” stated Rep. Debra Maggart.

Lynn explained that, “We see this as a violation of equal protection of the law, an affront to our sovereignty, and as a breach of the U.S. Constitution.”

Lynn and Maggart noted that the passage of this bill is imminent so it is important that the AG prepare now to take immediate action, and they referenced Governor Bredesen’s recent comment that “we can’t print money.” The great issue for the states is that states are not allowed to borrow money for operations expenses. “Obviously, this is something that many in Washington just don’t understand,” stated Lynn.

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Featured Liberty and Justice News Tax and Budget

State Sovereignty Supporter Pushes Federal Mandate in TN Legislature

Earlier this year, Republican state Rep. Debra Young Maggart co-sponsored a resolution demanding that the federal government refrain from further burdening Tennessee with unwarranted and potentially unconstitutional policy mandates.

But earlier this month, Rep. Maggart and Sen. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, expressed their interest in legislatively obligating the State of Tennessee to embrace an as-yet unfulfilled federal mandate, signed by George W. Bush, that critics say violates just the sort of constitutional principles lawmakers like Maggart saw fit to reiterate in their state sovereignty resolution last session.

The federal mandate at issue here is part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection Safety Act of 2006 (pdf). Among other things, it demands harsher treatment of juveniles found guilty of committing sex crimes — in particular, by posting youthful offenders’ pictures, names, birthdays and addresses online.

“The adoption of this legislation would put Tennessee into compliance with the requirements for juveniles to be placed on state’s Sex Offender Registries under the Adam Walsh Act which was scheduled to go into effect in 2009,” according to a press release issued Dec. 7 by Maggart and Black. “Tennessee was awarded over $50 million in Byrne Grant funding last year, 10 percent of which could be in jeopardy unless the state adheres to these requirements.”

Failing to abide by the Act could result in a loss of state law enforcement subsidies of $750,000 to $940,000 next year, the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs reports.

“Is it a mandate? Yes,” said Maggart.

But she sees little in her past advocacy for the sovereignty resolution — combined with her support now for the Bush-era federal mandate — to indicate she’s guilty of a political double standard.

“I know we need this money,” Maggart told TNReport.com. “It is a mandate, but again, it is what we’re operating under, and I think that we should have uniform laws on sex offenders across the country because sex offenders are really clever.”

The Tennessee sovereignty resolution, House Joint Resolution 108 (pdf), was really meant to ward off unfunded mandates such as government-run health care or expansions of education programs, Maggart said. It wasn’t necessarily intended to label all the federal government’s directives to the states as bad.

“I just think they’re two different animals,” she said. Of the federal health legislation under consideration in Congress right now, Maggart said, “The costs are going to be out of this world.”

“But keeping sex offenders out of our community where they can prey on our children,” she added, “is a completely different thing.”

Michael Hough, a public safety specialist for the Washington D.C.-based American Legislative Exchange Council, said that elements of the Walsh Act, particularly the juvenile offender provisions, were upsetting to state lawmakers, many of them conservatives, from around the country who gathered in Atlanta last summer to discuss the law.

“Everyone basically agreed that parts of the law were very good, but — as happens a lot when the federal government passes things — they don’t really understand what’s going to happen when it is put out in the states.” said Hough, whose organization tends to promote state-level, small-government, market-oriented policy solutions.

Hough said many lawmakers complained of the costs associated with implementing much of the Walsh Act — that they’re in fact even higher than the potential Byrne grant cuts that would result from noncompliance.

Likewise, the National Conference of State Legislatures has stated that the Walsh Act works to “preempt many state laws and create an unfunded mandate for states.”

The Act was also found unconstitutional in April 2008 by a U.S. District Court judge in Florida, who declared that under the general reasoning inherent in the Walsh Act, “virtually all criminal activity would be subject to the power of the federal government.”

“Surely our founding fathers did not contemplate such a broad view of federalism,” wrote the judge.

His opinion was later overturned on appeal by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the provisions of the United States Constitution allowing for regulation of interstate commerce permitted Congress to pass laws that “track those offenders who move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.”

To date, only Ohio has adopted the Walsh Act, and currently it is under review in the state supreme court.

“This is not about kids playing doctor when they’re 10 years old,” said Maggart. “The needs of the community to be protected by a 16-year-old that’s a rapist, it outweighs everything.”

But Nashville defense attorney Brent Horst, himself a former sex-crimes prosecutor in Florida, said situations where children “playing doctor” crosses a line could result in an individual being publicly labeled as a heinous sort of criminal for decades.

“No one wants to be soft on sex offenders,” said Horst, but requiring that juvenile offenders be added to the adult registry is an “incredibly stupid, unfair and unjust” idea. It could end up subjecting a “a poor kid who’s just a normal teenager experimenting with his sexuality” to years of societal contempt, he said.

“It’s all about the (federal) money,” Horst added.

If approved by both chambers and OK’d by the governor, the new law would require juvenile offenders to register if they have been found guilty of crimes such as rape, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated rape, rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child or an attempt to commit of those crimes.

Juveniles convicted as adults under Tennessee law must already register with the sex offender website.

Maggart, who, like Sen. Black, is from Sumner County, was the No. 2 co-sponsor of the HJR108 sovereignty resolution. A very popular measure, it passed 85-2 in the House and 31-0 in the Senate. Black didn’t appear to vote on the legilsation.

HJR108 reaffirmed Tennessee’s claim as a self-governing jurisdictional entity in keeping with the Tenth Amendment, which reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

HJR108 also lamented that while “the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states…today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government.”

Similar measures were enacted in several other states, but on June 23 Phil Bredesen put pen to paper and made Tennessee’s the first such resolution in the country signed by a governor.

The resolution’s chief sponsor last spring, Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, says she tends to agree with Maggart — that the Hendersonville Republican’s effort to list juveniles on public sex offender electronic bulletin boards is more an effort to improve public safety in Tennessee than an attempt to suck up to Washington, D.C.

“This would be a Tennessee law to put juveniles on a sex offender registry,” said Lynn, who supports the bill. “It would happen to be coincidence, as far as I’m concerned, that the federal government is mandating this.”

Categories
Press Releases

Rep. Maggart and Sen. Black Want Violent Juveniles on Sex Offender Registry

Press Release from State Representative Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville) and Senator Diane Black (R-Gallatin), Dec. 7, 2009:

NASHVILLE – Rep. Maggart and Sen. Black will push for passage of legislation in January to place violent juvenile offenders on Tennessee’s Sex Offender Registry as required under the federal Adam Walsh Act. The legislators introduced legislation today to place offenders between the ages of 14 and 18 years of age on the Registry.

“We are trying to protect children who are victims of this crime,” said Rep. Maggart. “The safety of children overrides concerns regarding information being available about the juvenile who must register as a result of being convicted of this violent crime. We are talking about rape, aggravated rape, aggravated sexual battery, rape of a child and aggravated rape of a child. These are serious adult crimes committed by a juvenile that most commonly occur with very young victims who must be protected.”

The adoption of this legislation would put Tennessee into compliance with the requirements for juveniles to be placed on state’s Sex Offender Registries under the Adam Walsh Act which was scheduled to go into effect in 2009. Tennessee was awarded over $50 million in Byrne Grant funding last year, 10 percent of which could be in jeopardy unless the state adheres to these requirements.

However, in June U.S. Attorney General Anthony Holder signed a one year agreement to extend the deadline for states to comply with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. Only Ohio has complied with the law thus far.

“Tennessee has made very good progress at protecting children against child sexual predators, but we have still have a hurdle to overcome by placing these violent juvenile offenders age 14 and older on the Registry,” said Black.

“Although the risk of repeating the crime is not quite as high as adult sex offenders, it still presents enough of a threat to require placing these offenders on the Registry,” she continued. “We would like to believe that juveniles could not commit these types of horrible crimes. However, the fact remains that they do and children must be protected.”

“When there is this threat to the community, parents should have the right to know that the perpetrator has this history of sexual violence against children,” added Maggart. “Whether or not the perpetrator is 17 or 24 years old, child sexual offenders can be dangerous to children in the community and should be placed on the Registry as required by the Walsh Act. Hopefully, we will pass this legislation in the 2010 legislative session.”