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Tennessee severe risk domestic violence GPS tracking law starts July 1

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(The Center Square) – A new Tennessee law will require some domestic violence offenders to wear a global positioning tracker as a condition of making bail.

The bill was signed into law by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and will go into effect on July 1.

Senate Bill 1972 was named for Debbie Sisco and Marie Varsos, who were killed by Shaun Varsos in a 2021 murder-suicide after Varsos was mistakenly released early from jail on domestic violence charges without notifying the victims.

The law requires the tracker to be monitored by a center staffed 24 hours a day and seven days a week capable of notifying local law enforcement for violations of any restraining orders.

“This bill helps victims of domestic violence know when the perpetrator is nearby in cases involving the most serious domestic violence,” Rep. Clay Doggett, R-Pulaski, told the House. “It streamlines the process to get victims the quickest help when a violation occurs.”

Doggett called the pre-trial portion of domestic violence charges a vulnerable and deadly time in a victim’s life.

The law requires the accused to pay for the tracker and tracking and applies to cases of aggravated assault such as strangulation or attempted strangulation.

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