NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee judges will have the authority to enhance sentences for defendants in the country illegally at the time of their crimes, under a bill the governor has signed into law.
According to the General Assembly’s website, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam signed the bill on Friday. He had previously declined to say whether he had any concerns about the bill, which was sponsored by Republican Rep. Ron Gant of Rossville and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville.
Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris says he’s disappointed the governor signed the bill. The Memphis Democrat says the measure will treat criminal defendants convicted of the same crime differently depending on where they were born.
Harris said similar measures have been struck down by the courts in other states.