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Tennessee gangs bill has improved chances of passing into law

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NASHVILLE, TN (Times Free Press) -- A statewide bill making it easier to go after gang members and give them stiffer prison sentences — a bill supported by Chattanooga leaders — has an improved chance of being passed into law after a study says it won't cost much to implement.

The law would place criminal gang offenses within the state's existing Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, where convictions would be class B felonies with sentences ranging from at least 12 to 20 years.

The Tennessee Legislature's Fiscal Review Committee posted a $109,800 fiscal note to the bill, but only measured the cost of housing two inmates sentenced under the RICO law. Officials in law enforcement have said they could use the law to prosecute more gang members and keep them in prison longer.

"We try to be conservative with our estimates," said Fiscal Review Committee Executive Director Lucian Geise

Read more about this story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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