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Tennessee legislature begins advancing measure to enhance penalties for rioting

Legislation protecting public roadways from mob violence began to move through the committee process last week in Nashville. House Bill 513 promotes law and order by increasing penalties for those who obstruct a roadway and creates new criminal offenses for those who participate in rioting.

House Bill 513 increases the penalty for obstructing a highway or other passage way to a Class E felony with a mandatory fine of $3,000. Currently, the offense carries a maximum $500 fine. It creates criminal immunity for a driver who unintentionally causes injury or death to a person illegally obstructing a roadway.

House Bill 513 also enhances penalties for violence committed during a riot. The bill defines a riot as a disturbance in a public place or penal institution involving three or more people who are participating in violent behavior, creating grave danger, substantial damage to property or serious bodily injury to others, obstructing law enforcement or a government function.

House Bill 513:
• Creates a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 for a person who throws an object at another with the intent of harming the other person during a riot.
• Creates a Class E felony punishable by one to six years in prison for a person who throws an object at another and causes bodily injury while participating in a riot.
• Creates a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 for a person participating in a riot who intentionally intimidates or harasses an individual in public who is not participating in a riot.
House Bill 513 will be presented in the Criminal Justice Committee for a vote on March 3.

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Two elderly adults with medical conditions who went missing from the Clarksville area last Tuesday were spotted driving on Interstate-24 near Manchester Thursday evening.


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