Rep. Ramsey working on ‘Amelia’s Law’
By Joel Davis | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Blount County’s representatives will be involved with a variety of bills during the 108th session of the Tennessee Legislature, which convened at noon on Tuesday
State Rep. Robert Ramsey, R-Maryville, said he is among a group of legislators working with the family of Amelia Keown, a 16-year-old William Blount High School junior who died Aug. 15 in a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 411 South.
“We’re trying to work with her family on a bill,” he said. “I may be a co-sponsor. It may be ‘Amelia’s Bill.’ We’re trying to work on doing something that will correct some problems with the parole office that was instrumental in the release of the person who caused that accident.”
The driver of the other vehicle, identified as John C. Perkins, 44, of Maryville, died early the next day after the accident. Toxicology results later confirmed that Perkins, who was on parole, had drugs in his system at the time of the crash.
Amanda Moore is seeking a new state law to prevent offenders like Perkins from being paroled. The proposed legislation, dubbed “Amelia’s Law,” would be similar to the “three strikes” law.
Ramsey is also working on a bill that would create a uniform financial management act for Tennessee counties and a bill targeted at helping curb prescription abuse.
In cooperation with state Sen. Doug Overbey, Ramsey is looking at developing a law that would provide funds from the lottery for secondary education for mentally deficient students.
The bill was passed last year, but it was not funded. “We’re going to address that again,” he said.
State Rep. Art Swann, R-Maryville, wants the state to negotiate with railroad companies about establishing passenger service.
“I will have a bill pertaining to a study on a statewide rail service for passengers from the Tri-Cities area all the way across to Memphis. It will be going through Knoxville to Nashville, Jackson and Memphis,” he said. “We’ll have to see what we do pertaining to the Chattanooga situation.
“It’s time we had some service provided that people can go short distances like from Nashville to Knoxville since we really don’t have air service between those areas.”
Swann will also carry a bill that would make economic development funds more available to small businesses.
A third bill would provide for public election of the state attorney general, Swann said.
State Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, could not be reached for comment.