State Senate Bill 326 by Senators Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and Diane Black (R-Gallatin) unanimously passed the Senate on Thursday. It proposes to increase the sentence for a person convicted of child rape.
?We are going to make Tennessee a safe haven for children,? said Beavers. ?Sexual predators in Tennessee need to be behind bars, and they need to stay there.?
As amended, Senate Bill 326 proposes to set the minimum penalty for rape of a child at 25 years in prison, with the maximum being life in prison. Currently the penalties are 15 to 60 years in prison.
Due to the increased incarceration time, the legislation would increase state expenditures by $7,690,700. This year, the Governor has included funding for the measure in the proposed budget.
?A lot has been said about Florida?s Jessica?s Law?, said Black. ?There are portions of our law that are already more strict than Florida?s law. This bill brings us more in line with Jessica?s Law, while keeping our laws tight.?
The bill will have to pass the House and be signed by the Governor before becoming law.