Friday, May 9, 2008

Tennessee: New Path to Clemency Reform?

This report discusses consideration of legislation that would end state health benefits for General Assembly lawmakers convicted of a felony. The bill - the byproduct of arrests and convictions of lawmakers involved in the “Tennessee Waltz” federal bribery sting - has alread passed in the State Senate unanimously. According to the report:

Under the bill, neither the surviving spouse nor the dependent children of a convicted lawmaker would be eligible to continue health care coverage. The bill was amended to include any governor convicted of a felony. The benefits would be stopped on the date of conviction or plea, and the person would not be eligible for any refund of premiums, co-payments or other costs previously paid. In the event that a conviction was later overturned and the person was acquitted, or was granted a full pardon, then the person would be restored all rights in regard to continuation of health care coverage, according to the bill.
The State Fiscal Review Office calculated that if a single lawmaker was convicted of a felony during 2008-09, the state would save more than $700,000 over a 25-year period. PardonPower wonders if there might not be greater concern about atrophy in clemency powers if state legislators are required to take a greater interest in the topic via this kind of legislation!

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