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Tennessee House approves Duty to Warn Act to  enhance public safety

State Rep. Jason Zachary

The Tennessee House of Representatives recently approved Republican  legislation to increase protections for those targeted by threats of violence.

House Bill 1625, also known as the Duty to Warn Act, requires mental health  professionals and behavior analysts in Tennessee to inform local law enforcement if a patient makes an imminent threat to harm a specific individual or clearly  identified group. Threats that are more general in nature must be reported to either  the 988  Lifeline or a local crisis response service.

“This will strengthen duty to warn, provide some clarity and ensure that mental  health practitioners do not have to call law enforcement when a patient makes a  threat to them,” said bill sponsor State Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville.

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The legislation includes protections from civil, criminal and disciplinary penalties  for mental health professionals and behavior analysts who make reasonable  attempts  to comply with the law. The companion version of House Bill 1625 is still  advancing  through the Senate.

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