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As they do every summer, it’s time for newly passed laws by the Tennessee General Assembly to take effect. From new rules that affect drivers to statutes aimed at protecting consumers, here are 20 of the more than 150 new laws to know about:
- Drivers can now show proof of registration in electronic formats through the use of cell phones and other electronic devices.
- Drivers from a state that issues driver licenses to illegal aliens are required to establish proof of citizenship, lawful permanent resident status or gain a specific period of authorized stay in order to obtain a Tennessee license.
- Students enrolled in a drivers education program seeking exemption from the skills or knowledge tests must submit a third-party driver examiner testing certification form to the department within one year of satisfactorily completing the driver education and training course.
- It's considered a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly sell counterfeit airbags and similar restraint system components.
- Consumer report agencies can no longer charge a Tennessee consumer to place, temporarily file or permanently remove a credit report freeze.
- Milk produced in Tennessee can now be labeled as such in supermarkets.
- Veterans must be given hiring preference for a state employment position if the veteran is on the list of eligible hiring candidates and meets all qualifications.
- Doctors can now accept barter of goods or services from an uninsured patient as payment for providing healthcare services with the exception of services provided at a pain management clinic.
- Health care prescribers are prohibited for 30 days from soliciting one involved in an accident or disaster.
- A school district must notify a student’s parent or legal guardian in written notice before the student participates in any mental health screening.
- If a director of schools, director of public charter school or director of a nonpublic school learns of the conviction of a licensed educator employed by the district, that director must report the conviction to the state board. The state board can reprimand a director for failure to report.
- All students can participate in homebound instruction programs if a physician qualifies the students as having a medical condition that prevents them from attending regular classes. Homebound instruction was previously only offered to pregnant students.
- Schools must give students in grades K-8 an individual Scholars Summer Guide prior to the last day of the school year.
- All public high schools must place automated external defibrillator devices in schools. The law, while only applicable to high schools, "encourages public middle, elementary schools and private schools to place AED devices in schools."
- Public university's must notify parents of enrolled students of the parent's right to view student records under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 on the institution's website.
- Law enforcement officers are required to ask the person arrested and taken into custody if they are the parent or legal custodian of any children who will be left unattended by the person's arrest.
- The enactment of the Tennessee Stolen Valor Act, a law that says any person impersonating an active duty member or veteran can be punished with up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, as well as up to a $2,500 fine.
- Bounty hunters are required to wear clothing that clearly identifies the person as a bounty hunter with the the words "bounty hunter" prominently displayed.
- For each person who enters a "a sexually-oriented business," such as a strip club, the business must pay a $2 tax to a general fund to be allocated to programs for victims of sex trafficking. The tax is scheduled to be repealed on July 1, 2021.
- All out-of-state travel expenditures made by executive level employees must be posted on the state website.
Dylan Skye Aycock is a Nashville-based journalist and photographer. As a reporter for Rover, Aycock follows transportation, housing and retail trends, as well as other hyperlocal and city-wide issues that affect residents in Green Hills and Belle Meade.
She previously contributed written and visual content to The Murfreesboro Pulse, American Songwriter Magazine and The Tennessean. Aycock earned a journalism degree from Middle Tennessee State University, where she honed her craft as editor-in-chief of Sidelines, the university's student-run publication. When she's not out on assignment or live-tweeting city council meetings, you can find her discovering new local spots or catching a show at one of Nashville's many music venues.