Tennessee Pass New Law That Help Lock Up More Black Males.
Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield says the General Assembly's approval of his anti-gang crime bill will let police and prosecutors "cut the heart out of some of the worst gangs" in the city.
"I'm very pleased," the mayor said Tuesday after the House passed the bill on an 86-2 vote. It passed the Senate unanimously Monday. "It was a long slog to get through all of the committees and such."
The mayor said he spoke with Gov. Bill Haslam, who was in Chattanooga Tuesday, and is optimistic he will sign the bill. It expands state racketeering laws to include members of criminal gangs. The bill provides for additional jail time and fines of up to $250,000.
It is designed to deal with the "worst of the worst" and won't be used lightly, the mayor said, emphasizing the city plans a secondary approach to problems using nonprofit groups from the YMCA to Big Brothers and Big Sisters to steer youth away from gang life.