UPDATE: "Amelia's Law" passes Tenn. house, Senate still considering


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- UPDATE: In an overwhelming vote, Tennessee's House of Representatives passed what will now be known as "Amelia's Law."

The house passed their version of the bill 91-1. The senate version unanimously passed in committee, and will move to the full floor for debate.

Rep. Bob Ramsey submitted an amendment to change the bill's name to honor 16-year-old Amelia Keown, who died in 2012.

The bill would require substance monitoring devices for offenders with histories of substance abuse.

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In August 2012, 16-year-old Amelia Keown was on her way home to pick up her pom-poms for dance team practice. She would never get back to that practice.

Now state lawmakers are debating a law Thursday that could help prevent innocent deaths like this.

Investigators say 45-year-old John Perkins, a former criminal out of prison on parole, was under the influence when he hit Keown's car going over 70 miles per hour on Highway 411 in Blount County, killing them both.

Thursday's bill before the Tennessee House of Representatives would strengthen pretrial diversion, parole and probation by requiring offenders to wear an alcohol and monitoring device if the offender has a history of substance abuse.

State Senator Doug Overbey from Maryville has been pushing for this legislation, and says this new law will help keep all roads safe in Tennessee.

"This is a story that has touched a lot of lives, because you can see it happening, not just in Blount county, but in each county across the state. A needless taking of a life of a high school student, and unfortunately that plays out from time to time. And if we can prevent this tragedy from happening for another family, then we've done the right thing," Overbey said.

This would go into effect July 1 if passed and signed by Gov. Bill Haslam.


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