State Rep. Rusty Grills Proposes Bill to Tighten Electronic Stalking Law: One Strike and You’re Out

Mar 3, 2023

Live from Music Row, Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Gulbransen welcomed State Representative Rusty Grills (R-Newbern) to the newsmaker line to discuss the advancement of his electronic stalking bill and updates to his firearm legislation.

Gulbransen: I want to go to our newsmaker line with State Representative Rusty Grills. How are you this morning, sir?

Grills: Good morning. Good morning. How are you?

Gulbransen: I’m doing wonderful. You and I know each other pretty well. We’re working on a couple of things together and it’s been a heck of a lot of fun. You’re a great conservative. I appreciate you.

Grills: I appreciate that and I appreciate all the things that you have worked on too. It’s nice to have people that have like minds, the same worldview, and the same objectives in life.

Gulbransen: Yes, sir. That, that’s how you get things done. Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this because I know this is important to you. Apparently, on April 5th there will be AG Day at the General Assembly. Can you elaborate on that?

Grills: That is correct. That will be Tennessee’s AG Day and we’ll have a contest out there. The Senate and the House will be working against the administration and the governor’s office. It’s all for picks and giggles. But it will be a good time that day.

Gulbransen: I’ll be sure to check it out since I’m there just about every day at this point in time.

Grills: There will be something to eat there, I’m certain. No farmer wants to hang out without having something to eat.

Gulbransen: That is very, very true. You’ve got some legislation that I think is important to note. Do you wanna talk about HB regarding the electronic stalking bill and your firearms bill as well?

Grills: Man, whatever you want. There’s nothing off-limits. I’m good for anything you wanna talk about. But let’s start with that stalking bill. The stalking bill is what I call it. Electronic stalking. There’s just been a huge influx of electronic tracking devices being used now and what we’re doing with that bill is we’re creating another course of conduct for the stalking code.

In order to be charged with stalking, you have to be caught two times, as the perpetrator does. Now stalking, we feel that that’s a little bit too much and we didn’t really have anything that would actually if you put something on someone, on someone’s person, purse, car, or coat pocket and you started following them then we just felt like that needed some more protection.

Actually, what happened back home was I had a young lady that came to me one day in Chick-fil-A and told me that something just horrific happened and was terrifying her. She lived in Lake County and she had gotten up one day and gone to work and something kept trying to connect to her car one day. But she met her boyfriend.

Anyhow, his friends actually found that someone had stuck an air tag to her car and she felt like the activities that they had towards her were not necessarily with the best of intentions. Let’s just put it that way. That’s where the bill actually came from. We actually worked on it last year, but we did not get it funded. And obviously, there are hundreds and hundreds of different ideas that need to be signed.

But that is one of them that did not get funded. We picked it up again this year and we’re gonna run with it again. I feel like we’re in pretty good shape to get it funded this year, Lord permitting.

Carmichael: Are you saying that in the absence of this bill being passed, what this guy was doing to this girl was legal?

Grills: He had to be caught twice doing it.

Carmichael: So now it’s only if you’re caught once.

Grills: We didn’t feel like there was any clarity in the code with regard to electronic stalking. So if you put a tracking device on someone, you had to, had to do it twice in order to recharge with stalking.

Carmichael: Wow.

Grills: One time’s enough in my opinion. Especially with something like this. Just because you show up in the same place doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stalking. But if you put something in someone’s purse or car, that is definitely different and not by accident. You don’t put something in someone’s purse by accident.

Carmichael: No.

Grills: You don’t put something on someone’s car by accident. You don’t put something in someone’s pocket by accident. So that was the difference in it. Mr. Crom, good to talk to you.

Carmichael: Good to talk to you. What are some of the other pieces of legislation you’re working on? Myself and Representative Chris Todd from Madison County and also another couple of representatives like Clay Doggett, we’ve been working on some firearm legislation.

Last year we had a big Supreme Court case called Bruen come through, and it reestablished what the Constitution protected for each American.

We feel like Tennessee’s laws, not just we, but it just so happens that our attorney general has actually agreed on a couple of things like 18-21 years old, Tennessee’s law says you have to be 21 and older to have a handgun and or a firearm.

They have agreed in court that that is unconstitutional. And I believe Bruen actually helped with that. Our attorney general has kind of settled that case if you will. We’ve established that and this bill that I, Chris Todd, and the other guys have been working on, what this bill does is it removes 21 down to 18. Because if you can vote, if you can join the military, you can die for the country, then you ought to be able to enjoy all the other freedoms that the Constitution protects.

Carmichael: Let me ask you another question. Are there any bills that are in the hopper to improve competition, create more competition, and maybe help charter schools or increase vouchers for kids that aren’t getting a good education?

Grills: There have been lots of conversations about that. There have been lots of conversations about that. But I am not in the education field. The committees that I work on are civil justice, transportation, and agriculture. Those are the three areas that I spend the most time in.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Rusty Grills” by Tennessee General Assembly.


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