children

Senate votes to urge — rather than require — erection of a TN ‘monument to the unborn’

A House-approved bill mandating erection of a monument to unborn children on the Tennessee state Capitol grounds was amended in the Senate Monday to instead just voice support for the idea. After the revision, the measure was approved 23-3 and sent back to the House.

Continue reading

Bill to ban motorist smoking with child passengers aboard fails by one vote in Senate

A bill allowing police to cite adult motorists who are smoking in vehicles with children present fell one vote short of passage in the state Senate Wednesday. The Times Free Press reports the measure touched off a fierce debate about health versus personal freedom.

Continue reading

Democrats’ bill to ban underage marriage killed, replaced by GOP version

A Democrat-sponsored bill to prohibit marriage of persons under age 18 was killed Tuesday in a Senate committee and replaced with a Republican-sponsored measure that allow those aged 16 and 17 to wed with parental permission – so long as the newlyweds are within four years of being the same age.

Continue reading

Bill making killer kids eligible for parole brings prosecutor protests, recalling 1997 triple murder

A bill that would make juvenile murderers eligible for parole after 30 years even if sentenced to life in prison has won approval of a House committee while touching off outspoken opposition from those recalling a 1997 triple slaying in Greene County, reports the Greeneville Sun.

HB274, filed last year by Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) and Sen. Becky Massey (R-Knoxville), cleared the House Criminal Justice Committee Feb. 28 after being amended to require 30 years in prison instead of 20, as proposed in the original version. It is on notice for a hearing this week in the House Finance Subcommittee. The bill’s fiscal note estimates that it could eventually save the state more than $4 million in incarceration expenses.

District Attorney General Dan Armstrong calls it “the Lillelid Injustice Bill” because it could apply to two juveniles convicted in the 1997 murders, though they received three consecutive life without parole sentences plus 25 years.

Continue reading

House Republicans reconsider killing of child bride bill

State House Republicans are reconsidering the killing of a bill to prohibit marriage of children under age 18, reports The Tennessean. The measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. Darren Jernigan of Nashville was previously punted until 2019 on motion of House Majority Leader Glen Casada, who acknowledged he was acting at the request of Christian conservative leader David Fowler.

Continue reading

Haslam unveils legislation on juvenile justice reform, UT board downsizing

Press release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced his legislative agenda for the 2018 session, continuing his focus on leading the nation in jobs, education, and efficient and effective government.

Continue reading

TN Supremes give Dad custody of kids after Mom’s move to Moonlight Bunny Ranch

Press release from Administrative Office of the Courts

Nashville, Tenn. – In a case involving the custody of two minor children, the Tennessee Supreme Court determined that Father had established that a material change of circumstances had occurred and that it was in the children’s best interests for Father to be designated as the primary residential parent.  The Court also reviewed the Court of Appeals’ immediate issuance of the mandate and its order for custody to be transferred from Father to Mother within twenty days.

Continue reading

Fed funding of health insurance for 74,000 TN children threatened; TN Democrats see ‘political games’

Absent action soon by Congress, funding for a federal program that provides health insurance coverage to 74,000 Tennessee children and pregnant mothers could soon run dry, reports the Times Free Press. State officials, including Gov. Bill Haslam, are worried about the possibility.

Continue reading

Conflict seen in TN laws to prevent child sexual abuse and to restrict sex education

Organizations pushing Tennessee schools to expand their child sexual abuse prevention efforts say they face resistance from educators worried about violating a state law putting restrictions on sex education classes, reports The Tennessean.

Continue reading

Mayor’s daughter and her husband face murder charges in toddler son’s death

The parents of a 2-year-old boy who died after being left in a vehicle overnight at the Gatlinburg home of a Middle Tennessee mayor were arraigned Monday on felony murder charges, reports the News Sentinel.

Jade Elizabeth Phillips, 24, and her husband, Anthony Dyllan Phillips, 26… are accused of causing the death of their son, Kipp, by leaving the toddler inside a car overnight and into the afternoon of July 14 while temperatures soared into the 90s. The child’s official cause of death has not been made public.

Division lines between husband and wife are already being formed in what could become a defense blame game – typical when two people are charged in the same crime.

Jade Phillips, daughter of Westmoreland Mayor Jerry Kirkman, has posted her $250,000 bond and has hired veteran Knoxville defense attorney Tasha Blakney. She appeared in court Monday dressed in a black dress and gray sweater, her father seated beside her in the courtroom before Ogle took the bench.

Her husband was dressed in a black-and-white striped jail jumpsuit, unable to post bond. There was no one there on his behalf. Amber Haas, a veteran with the 4th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, was appointed to represent him. Anthony Phillips cast a glance at his wife as she was leaving the courtroom. She did not look in his direction.