While the new “no cell phone while driving law” kicks off on July 1 — that’s right, no holding a phone with any part of your body — hundreds of additional laws were passed during this year’s 111th Tennessee General Assembly legislative session.
A significant bill that passed and was signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is Senate Bill 1428/House Bill 1280, which could change the way TennCare is funded. Instead of the state receiving its federal share of Medicare money, Tennessee has requested that it be funded through block grants.
Tennessee is the only state that would be funded this way — an annual lump sum from the federal government. The state currently receives $7.5 billion.
The bill states that the method used to decide how much money Tennessee receives now is unreliable. It cites the “current inaccurate reflection of the state’s labor costs in the state’s Medicare Wage lndex and the index’s negative impact on healthcare delivery in this state.”
This is far from the final word on this issue though, as it basically just gives permission to pursue the block grants.
Betting on sports is now legal through a bill called the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act, and you can now bet on games online. Just not in a physical location.
Gov. Lee was against this bill, but it passed anyway.
Tennesseans can now bet on fantasy leagues as well.
A new law regarding drones prohibits them from dropping off items or substances where there is a crowd of more than 100.
Marriages will no longer be recognized if they are performed by someone who was ordained online.
But you can now receive all the training you need to get a concealed carry permit online, per SB0705.
One law pertains specifically to Anderson County: SB1383 authorizes operation of off-highway vehicles on certain segments of State Route 116 in Anderson County.
SB0187 requires TCAP testing to now be done on paper rather than online for the 2019/2020 school year.
This is temporary, until a new vendor can be found following the technical issues the system experienced last year when students took their standardized tests online.
SB1175 requires that each state institution of higher education “develop and implement a suicide prevention plan for students, faculty, and staff; and provide the plan to students, faculty, and staff at least once each semester.”
SB1046 authorizes local schools to provide free feminine hygiene products in eligible public high schools. A separate bill now allows state correctional facilities to provide them for free to female inmates as well.
SB0205 authorizes local schools to place cameras on school buses to record vehicles that unlawfully pass a stopped school bus.
The Tennessee Education Savings Account Pilot Program goes into effect under SB 0795. This will launch in 2021 and is the state’s first voucher program.
It’s for students in low to middle-income homes in Memphis and Nashville and will provide funds of up to $7,300 per student for them to attend a private school.
Under SB1100, daylight savings time will be the only time observed in Tennessee, but it’s contingent on federal approval.
SB0911 increases the penalty for destruction of governmental records from a misdemeanor to a felony.
A law passed requiring high school students to pass a civics test in order to graduate.
Other laws passed requiring more from schools too, including a law that requires schools to commemorate the centennial of women’s suffrage and recognize the Tennesseans who were instrumental in securing all women the right to vote. Another law requires the department of education to come up with a state plan for computer science in grades K-12.
The “Human Life Protection Act” passed, which, if the Supreme Court were to ever overturn Roe vs. Wade or a federal law passes that would allow states to decide whether to allow abortion, would ban all abortions 30 days after that decision is made.
For the full list of new laws, resolutions and acts, visit legiscan.com/TN.