NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee lawmakers have officially convened the 113th General Assembly, but the real work is scheduled to begin in the coming days. Hundreds of bills have been filed in the legislature, tackling criminal justice, taxation and many more subjects. Here are some of the bills legislators will begin debating as the rest of the legislative session gets underway.
HB0172: Enacts the “Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act.”
SB0168/HB0085: Enacts the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act;” establishes a regulatory structure for the cultivation, processing, and retail sale of marijuana and marijuana products in this state to be administered by the department of agriculture.
SB0176: Authorizes up to two members of an LLC that owns property in a city to vote in the city’s elections if the city’s charter provides nonresident property owners voting rights.
SB0181: Deletes the criminal offense of aggravated prostitution and permits a person to have a prior conviction for aggravated prostitution that was the result of the person’s status as a human trafficking victim expunged if the person meets certain conditions.
SB0182: Prohibits the arrest, charge, or prosecution of a person for prostitution if the evidence for the arrest, charge, or prosecution results solely from the person’s report of the criminal act; increases the penalty for patronizing prostitution from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony.
SB0183: Requires mental health evaluation and treatment for juveniles who commit aggravated animal cruelty under certain circumstances.
SB0195: Establishes standards for shelter that must be provided to dogs under present animal cruelty laws, including requirements for ventilation, movement, and the ability to retain body heat.
SB0197: Repeals the maximum class sizes, maximum class size averages, student-teacher ratios, and the prohibition against split-grade classes established by law; authorizes each local education agency (LEA) and public charter school to establish the maximum class sizes for schools under its control and jurisdiction; requires the state board of education, in consultation with the department of education, to develop guidance for LEAs and public charter schools in establishing maximum class sizes.
SB0200: Requires establishments that have gross sales of alcoholic beverages of more than $500,000 per calendar year, as a condition of receiving or renewing a liquor-by-the-drink license, to keep an opiate antagonist nasal spray in an easily accessible location on the premises.
SB0202/HB0096: Creates the Tennessee witness protection and relocation program, to be administered by the office of criminal justice programs, for the purpose of creating intrastate and interstate compacts to coordinate witness protection, relocation, and assistance services within the state and with contiguous states for the benefit of witnesses in criminal proceedings.
SB0203/HB0134: Exempts churches and other religious organizations from the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act of 1980 with respect to expending funds in favor of or in opposition to a single or multiple issue measures related to questions of public or private morality, including, but not limited to, alcohol, drugs, abortion, marriage, or gambling.
SB0204: Establishes an office of the guardian ad litem pilot project within the 22nd Judicial District to represent the best interest of children in dependency and neglect cases; requires the pilot project to be supervised by the secretary of state’s office.
SB0208/HB0255: Requires each local school board to establish a school lunch program and a school breakfast program that provides a free breakfast and lunch to each student enrolled in a school under the board’s jurisdiction; requires the state to reimburse each LEA the cost of providing a free breakfast and lunch to each student enrolled in the LEA after all available federal funds have been applied.
SB0213/HB0248: Requires a person convicted of domestic assault involving strangulation to serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days incarceration; states that a defendant who commits aggravated assault in which the victim of the offense loses consciousness due to strangulation may be prosecuted for attempted second-degree murder.
SB0215: Requires a state agency releasing records that originated in the office of a county assessor to notify the appropriate assessor property of the records released and the name and address of the person or firm receiving the records within 10 days of releasing the public records, rather than 20 days.
SB0217: Creates a class C misdemeanor for certain local public officers who charge a fee or demand compensation for solemnizing a marriage.
SB0227: Authorizes 12 workweeks of paid family leave during a 12-month period for qualified state employees.
SB0228: Extends from 60 days to 12 months the period of postpartum coverage for pregnant women who meet certain medical assistance eligibility requirements in accordance with provisions of the American Rescue Plan.
SB0229: Extends eligibility for medical assistance under the TennCare program to a woman for a period up to 12 months after the date on which the woman’s pregnancy ends in live birth if the child meets the eligibility requirements for the CoverKids program.
S0230: Removes the requirement that the governor receive authorization by the general assembly prior to making any decision or obligating the state with regard to the expansion of optional enrollment in the medical assistance program.
SB0243/HB0061: Increases, from within 90 days to within 120 days of receipt by the department of a valid judgment of conviction, the time period within which the department must notify the victim witnesses coordinator of the county of conviction of the currently scheduled parole hearing date when the inmate will be eligible for parole consideration.
SB0265/HB0313: Prohibits the POST commission from certifying a person decertified in another state because of criminal or other misconduct; requires the commission to evaluate the qualifications of a person certified as a law enforcement officer in another state by reviewing the person’s training, practical experience, and education.
SB0279/HB0327: Removes the requirement that the nonprofit partner of the governor’s office of faith-based and community initiatives use its own revenues to cover the cost of the nonprofit partner’s activities; removes the prohibition on a state employee benefitting from the nonprofit partner’s activities; removes the statement of the general assembly’s intent that the state not realize any increased cost as a result of the governor’s office of faith-based and community initiatives.
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SB0292/HB0275: Applies on a statewide basis, rather than only in Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Memphis, the distance parameter for the prohibition on needle and hypodermic syringe exchange programs being operated within 1,000 feet of a school or public park; removes the distance parameter of 2,000 feet that presently applies on a statewide basis outside those four cities.
SB0298: Authorizes two-wheeled motorcycles to be operated between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane on certain limited access highways and interstate highways when the speed of traffic is 25 miles per hour or less.
HB0305: Changes references for mental defect, mental defective, and mentally defective to mental health condition through the code.
HB0306: Authorizes a private school to create a policy to regulate a student’s participation in the school’s athletic activities or events based upon a student’s biological sex.
HB0309: Decriminalizes the possession of certain amounts of marijuana by making such possession a civil violation punishable by a $25 fine or community service; makes other related changes.
HB0342: Permanently exempts from sales and use tax the retail sale of gun safes and gun safety devices; removes the temporary sales tax holiday.
HB0343: Extends for an additional year, until June 30, 2024, the sales tax holiday for the retail sale of gun safes and gun safety devices.
HB0350: Requires a municipality or county to follow the statutory procedure for taking certain disciplinary actions against a police officer if the officer is under investigation for matters that are likely to lead to an indication of untrustworthiness that requires the disclosure of the officer’s behavior to defense counsel in a criminal proceeding during which the officer’s testimony is required.