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Tennessee to adopt 150 new laws on July 1

By Marlana Ward
Freelance Writer

While 150 laws take effect July 1 in the State of Tennessee, many will go unnoticed as in some cases state lawmakers are simply clarifying the language of current laws. Dozens of these new laws, however, will impact state and local government and all Tennessee citizens.One such law, known as HB0222, requires proof of United States citizenship or lawful permanent resident status to obtain a Tennessee Driver’s License.Another allows county commissioners to carry a firearm to commission meetings, or in the “actual discharge of the commissioner’s duties,” if they have a valid handgun permit. There are some exceptions to the new law. It exempts commissioners from “metropolitan areas,” including Nashville and Memphis and it also does not allow commissioners to carry firearms into rooms where judicial proceedings are taking place.

Also of interest is the “Tennessee Stolen Valor Act,” which makes wearing military medals that are not your own “criminal impersonation.” Known as House Bill 2130, this law is designed to safeguard the identities of Tennessee veterans who serve the state and nation by cracking down on instances of theft and fraud involving those who attempt to imitate them. The measure creates a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, as well as a fine of up to $2,500, for anyone who impersonates a veteran or individuals who fraudulently represent their service with the intent of obtaining money, property, services, or any other tangible benefits.

Prompted by a statewide study conducted by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability (OREA), another new law taking effect July 1 prohibits corporal punishment for students with disabilities or those who have an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, which is also known as a Section 504 plan. Under the new law, parents can opt into a corporal punishment if they choose to do so. Previously, many school districts required parents to opt out of the practice.

Some other laws taking effect July 1 in Tennessee include:
• HB2068 Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation – As enacted, imposes suspension or revocation of license for violations in the marketing of alcohol and drug treatment services.

• HB2024 Criminal Procedure – As enacted, revises and makes permanent and applicable statewide the Knox County pilot project that allows indigent criminal defendants to pay their court costs and litigation taxes through the performance of public service.
• HB2348 Controlled Substances – As enacted, requires a prescriber to provide certain information prior to prescribing more than a three-day supply of an opioid or an opioid dosage that exceeds a total of a 180 morphine milligram equivalent dose to a woman of childbearing age.

• SB2015 Local Education Agencies – As enacted, prohibits LEAs from entering into a non-disclosure agreement during, or as a prerequisite to, settlement for any act of sexual misconduct; prohibits employees from assisting others in obtaining employment if the employee knows that the person has engaged in sexual misconduct involving a minor or student.

• SB2359 Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation – As enacted, authorizes county or district health department to operate a needle and hypodermic syringe exchange program on petition of the county legislative body and approval by the department of health

• SB0777 Controlled Substances – As enacted, makes various changes and additions to law concerning opioids; creates task force with duty to promulgate rules that create a uniform minimum disciplinary action that will apply to any healthcare practitioner who treats a human patient with an opioid and that healthcare practitioner’s licensing board or agency finds that the healthcare practitioner engaged in a significant deviation or pattern of deviation from sound medical judgment; requires comptroller to conduct certain studies

• SB1787 Criminal Offenses – As enacted, classifies as second-degree murder the killing of another by unlawful distribution or unlawful delivery or unlawful dispensation of fentanyl or carfentanil, when those substances alone, or in combination with any scheduled controlled substance, including controlled substance analogs, are the proximate cause of the death of the user.
View the complete list of new Tennessee laws taking effect July 1 at