BRUCE GRIFFEY

A bill banning abortion advocacy in public schools that I co-sponsored has passed the Tennessee General Assembly and is now heading to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for signature.

House Bill 2557 provides that public schools shall not allow any individual or entity to assist in teaching family life if that individual or entity performs abortions, induces abortions, provides abortion referrals or provides funding, advocacy or other support for abortions.

Children are a gift from God and deserve our protection from the moment of conception.

House Bill 2096, which I also co-sponsored to ensure the imposition of work requirements on welfare recipients, passed out of the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee and is heading to the house floor for a vote.

This legislation prohibits the Department of Human Services from providing discretionary exemptions to work requirements for individuals who receive an EBT card or what used to be referred to as food stamps.

If someone is a welfare recipient, the goal is to get them out of the situation they are in and back on their feet. The best way to do that, if they are able-bodied, is to make sure they get work training or a job. We should not and cannot have individuals drawing welfare benefits who are capable of working, but just choose not to do so.

The House of Representatives also passed legislation I co-sponsored to provide restitution for minor children of victims of vehicular homicides.

House Bill 1834, which now heads to the governor for signature, requires a criminal defendant convicted of vehicular homicide to pay restitution in the form of child maintenance to each of the victim’s minor children until each child reaches 18 years of age and has graduated from high school.

The legislation requires the sentencing court to determine a reasonable payment after considering factors including the financial needs of the child and the financial needs of the surviving parent (if any), among other criteria.

This time last year, Kim McDaniel, a Big Sandy resident and beloved first-grade teacher at Rhea Elementary School, was killed in a vehicular homicide when she was traveling home from work on Highway 641. She was survived by a minor son. Her son is a perfect example of the children whom this legislation will benefit.

A final bill I co-sponsored also passed the General Assembly and is also heading to the governor for signature. This legislation strengthens the unlawful photography law in Tennessee by expanding the definition and punishment of unlawful photography.

It was prompted after a teenager was secretly recorded by another student while undressed in a bathroom stall at school. The student shared the video on social media, but could not be criminally charged under current statute.

This legislation corrects this loophole in the law to allow prosecution in any such future instances of this conduct by clarifying that unlawful photography includes taking photos or recordings of unclothed intimate areas of a person’s body for the purpose of offending, intimidating, embarrassing or harassing them or for personal sexual arousal or gratification.

Protecting victims is of the utmost priority to me.

BRUCE GRIFFEY, R-Paris, is state representative for District 75, which includes Henry County. His email is rep.bruce.griffey@capitol.tn.gov.

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