10 New Tennessee Public Safety Laws for 2017
The legislature has passed a series of laws concerning the public safety of Tennesseans.
Here are 10 that affect you.
1. Move Over 2.0
There is already a move over law that applies to emergency vehicles parked in the emergency shoulder of a highway. But as of July 1, the law is given to any vehicle parked along the side of the road, including tow trucks.
The law requires “a motor vehicle to yield the right-of-way by making a lane change, if possible, or reduce speed and proceed with due caution when approaching a stationary motor vehicle that is given signal by use of flashing lights and located on the shoulder, emergency lane, or median.”
As such, if you see any vehicle on the shoulder of the road with emergency flashing lights on, at a minimum you should reduce your speed, and if possible, change lanes.
2. Gun Silencers Now Legal
Now it is legal to possess, manufacture, transport, repair and sell a firearm silencer. Up until Saturday, June 17, it was illegal to have such a device.
3. District Attorneys May Be Packing
The state law allowing off-duty law enforcement officers to carry a firearm is now be extended to district attorneys general and similar persons. However, the D.A. must be trained and certified to carry such firearms.
4. Surrender Your Firearm if You Are a Domestic Abuser
If a defendant intends to plead guilty to a domestic violence case, and they possess a firearm, judges must now let them know that they must relinquish ownership of that firearm. This new law also sets out a procedure for a person convicted of domestic violence to terminate their possession of all firearms.
It is a very smart law, and I hope that it is enforced.
5. New Shoplifting Law
If you cut off a security device or remove an item from the packaging where a sensor is located or pull a fire alarm to divert attention from your thievery, this is considered a theft.
As you may recall, a fire alarm was activated at Hamilton Place Mall to create a diversion for some shoplifters. It is no longer necessary to actually steal the product, you are guilty of theft when you cut off a security device or remove an item from the packaging where a sensor is located.
6. Get out of the Way of Emergency Vehicles
A new Class B misdemeanor was passed charging drivers with obstruction of public highways and streets if they restrict emergency vehicles access to the area. The Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of $200.
7. Police Officers’ Addresses are Private
A law was passed making it a Class B misdemeanor if you release the address of a law enforcement officer to the public. It is another good law that will prevent police officers from being harassed just for doing their job.
8. Identities of Juvenile Victims Now Protected
The law has always been that you do not release the name of a minor charged with a crime. Now law enforcement can no longer release the names of minors that are victims of a crime.
Another great law protecting the identity of minors that have been the victim of a crime. It is terrible enough that a juvenile was a victim—it adds insult to injury when that victim’s name is made public.
9. Satellite Monitoring of Sex Offenders
In many cases, a sex offender does not have a primary or secondary residence. As such, it is hard to monitor and supervise sex predators if they don’t have a primary or secondary residence—until the passing of this new law which took effect July 1, 2017.
As of July 1, 2017, if you are placed on probation for an offense that will classify them as a child rapist or child sexual predator, they will be monitored by a satellite monitoring and supervision program. It is a great way to start using GPS technology to monitor sex offenders. I trust that the GPS mapping system will have schools and churches identified as such.
10. “Purple Rain”
Instead of posting “no trespassing” signs, it is now an allowable notification for no trespassing to put purple paint on trees.
The new law authorizes property owners to provide notice that trespassing is prohibited on their property by marking trees and posts with purple paint as an alternative to posting signs. This may have been a tribute law passed in remembrance of Prince. That is the way I take it, anyway.