Make Civil Asset Forfeiture More Transparent

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UPDATE: SB 644/HB 813 was signed into law by Governor Haslam on May 25, 2017.

Civil asset forfeiture is a practice that gives law enforcement the power to seize property from someone who has not been convicted of a crime. Tennessee police agencies bring in over $14 million each year through civil asset forfeiture. Often, law enforcement doesn’t even pursue criminal charges in these instances. Our state’s current civil asset forfeiture laws are so broad that they encourage policing for profit, turning our Tennessee’s roads and highways into unchecked profit centers.

SB 644/HB 813, sponsored by Sen. Jon Lundberg and Rep. Bud Hulsey, increases civil asset forfeiture reporting requirements, including collection of data on the race, ethnicity and gender of property owners subject to seizure, and the breakdown of data by local agency.

Transparency is essential for Tennesseans to be aware of the extent and prevalence of unfair civil asset forfeiture laws in our state. This legislation would be a good first step in increasing awareness about this practice.

Tell the House Criminal Justice Committee that transparency is essential for Tennesseans to be aware of the extent and prevalence of Tennessee’s unfair civil asset forfeiture laws. Support SB 644/ HB 813

Sample Message to Legislators

SUBJ: Vote Yes on SB 644/HB 813

I am writing to urge you to support SB 644/HB 813 which would be a good first step in increasing transparency awareness about Tennessee’s civil asset forfeiture practices.

SB 644/HB 813, as amended, would expand the Tennessee Department of Safety’s annual reporting to include civil asset forfeiture information for each law enforcement agency in the state.

This bill would will ensure that Tennesseans are aware of civil asset forfeiture’s extent and prevalence in their local communities and will allow for meaningful evaluation of this practice. Additionally, this amended bill would increase government transparency and hold law enforcement agencies accountable, helping to restore public confidence in law enforcement.

Transparency is essential for Tennesseans to be aware of the extent and prevalence of unfair civil asset forfeiture laws in our state. This legislation would be a good first step in increasing awareness about this practice.

Please support SB 644/HB 813. Thank you.

2017-08-08T15:33:03+00:00 August 8th, 2017|Categories: Take Action|