- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has signed legislation that helps homeowner associations or neighborhood watch groups keep repeat offenders out of their communities.

The measure, called the “Neighborhood Protection Act,” was signed by the Republican governor earlier this week. It passed the House 75-16 and was approved 31-1 in the Senate during the recent session.

Under the measure, a formally recognized residential entity will be able to petition a judge for a restraining order against repeat criminals that target the inside of its boundaries.

The offender must have been convicted of three or more offenses that occurred inside the residential area.

Democratic House sponsor Antonio Parkinson of Memphis says the measure is a tool to fight back and help maintain property values.

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