17 new Tennessee laws effective January 1

By | December 29, 2011 12:00 am

White Countians, as well as all other Tennesseans, will have more than a dozen new laws that will legally enter the realms of enforcement on Jan. 1, 2012.
According to information obtained from Tennessee General Assembly, State Representative Charles Curtiss, of White County, and State Senator Charlotte Burks, of Putnam County, voted in favor of all 17 laws. Curtiss and Burks represent White County.
SB861: Bail, Bail Bonds – As enacted, specifies that defendant released before trial will continue on release during trial or release pending trial under same terms and conditions as were previously imposed, unless the court determines that other terms and conditions or termination of release are necessary; authorizes court to order a defendant held without release during existing trial, if, after the defendant is released upon personal recognizance, an unsecured personal appearance bond, or any other bond approved by the court, the defendant violates a condition of release, is charged with an offense committed during the defendant’s release, or engages in conduct which results in the obstruction of the orderly and expeditious progress of the trial or other proceedings.
Under present law, a defendant released before trial continues on release during the trial under the same terms and conditions as were previously imposed, unless the court determines that other terms and conditions or termination of release are necessary to assure the defendant’s presence during trial, or to assure that the defendant’s conduct will not obstruct the orderly and expeditious progress of the trial.
This bill revises the above provision to instead provide that such a defendant released before trial would continue on release, and that termination of release may occur, “pending trial” instead of “during trial.”
This bill authorizes the court to revoke and terminate the defendant’s bond and order him held without bail pending trial if after the defendant is released upon personal recognizance or any bond approved by the court, the defendant violates a condition of release, is charged with an offense committed during the defendant’s release, or engages in conduct which results in the obstruction of the orderly and expeditious progress of the trial or other proceedings.
An amendment clarifies that under this bill a defendant released before trial will continue on release during the trial or release pending trial under the same terms and conditions as were previously imposed, unless the court determines that other terms and conditions or termination of release are necessary to assure the defendant’s presence during trial, or to assure that the defendant’s conduct will not obstruct the orderly and expeditious progress of the trial.
This amendment adds authorization to this bill for a court to order a defendant held without release during existing trail, if, after the defendant is released upon personal recognizance, an unsecured personal appearance bond, or any other bond approved by the court, the defendant violates a condition of release, is charged with an offense committed during the defendant’s release, or engages in conduct which results in the obstruction of the orderly and expeditious progress of the trial or other proceedings.
SB0505: Medical Occupations – As enacted, requires health care practitioners licensed in the healing arts to affirmatively communicate proof of licensure to patients; expands list of practitioners required to post proof of licensure at their place of practice.
SB0510: Commerce and Insurance, Dept. of – As enacted, requires counsel for claimants reporting to the commissioner regarding medical malpractice claims to include information as to whether the health care provider received payment from TennCare; requires the commissioner to include such information in the annual report on medical malpractice claims.
An amendment to this bill clarifies that “counsel for claimants asserting medical malpractice claims” must provide information as to whether the health care provider received payment from TennCare. This amendment specifies that such information would be provided for claims closed or open and pending on or after Jan. 1, 2012.
SB1153: School Districts, Special – As enacted, specifies that before the board of education of special school district requests legislation to exceed the certified rate, it must first publish notice of its intent to exceed the certified rate in the manner required of cities and counties; specifies that present law regarding tax rates in special school districts would apply to all counties instead of only to counties with less than 50,000 people
HB1081: Present law requires that, for persons voting absentee by mail or registering by mail from outside the territorial limits of the United States and for all armed forces personnel, each envelope in which a ballot or any registration material is to be sent must be imprinted with two parallel horizontal bars, each one-fourth inch wide, extending from one side of the envelope to the other side, with an intervening space of one-fourth inch, the top bar to be one and one-fourth inches from the top of the envelope, and with the words “Official Election Balloting Material-Via Air Mail,” or similar language, between the bars. There must be printed on the upper right-hand corner of each such envelope, in a box, the words “Free of United States Postage, Including Air Mail.” There must also be printed in the upper left-hand corner of each envelope an appropriate inscription for return address of sender. The envelopes must be printed on as lightweight paper as possible consistent with the secrecy of the official ballot. This amendment removes the requirements that the language appearing on the envelopes must be a particular size. This amendment also removes the requirements that the return address must be printed on the upper left-hand corner of the envelope and that the envelopes must be printed on as lightweight paper as possible.
This amendment requires county election commissions to accept applications for the federal write-in absentee ballot for temporary registration and for an absentee ballot for all elections for which the person is eligible to vote, as required by federal law. This amendment further requires that federal write-in absentee ballots must be counted for all elections for which the applicant is eligible to vote.
HB1127: Telecommunications – As enacted, adds state government telephone subscribers to do not call registry.
HB0761: Insurance, Health, Accident – As enacted, mandates that group and individual insurance policies cover hearing aids for children covered by the policy.
This bill requires that certain health insurance policies provide coverage of up to $1,000 per individual hearing aid per ear, every three years, for every child covered as a dependent by the policyholder. This requirement would apply to every health insurance policy providing coverage on an expense-incurred basis, every policy or contract issued by a hospital or medical service corporation, every service contract issued by a health maintenance organization (HMO), and every self-insured group arrangement to the extent not pre-exempted by federal law, which is delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state on or after Jan. 1, 2012. Under this bill, if a licensed audiologist or physician certifies that the child’s hearing loss has become significantly worse during the three-year period since the child received a hearing aid, coverage must be provided for a new hearing aid suitable to the child’s hearing needs before the end of the three-year period.
The insurer may require the policyholder to provide a prescription by a licensed audiologist or physician or show proof through other suitable documentation of the need for a hearing aid. This bill would not preclude the insurer from conducting managed care, medical necessity, or utilization review or prevent the operation of certain policy provisions such as deductibles.
This bill would not apply to insurance coverage providing benefits for the following:
(1) Hospital confinement indemnity;
(2) Disability income;
(3) Accident only;
(4) Long term care;
(5) Medicare supplement;
(6) Limited benefit health;
(7) Specified disease indemnity;
(8) Sickness or bodily injury or death by accident, or both; and
(9) Other limited benefit policies.
Amendment #1 exempts TennCare from this bill.
Amendment #2 specifies that the bill applies to every child covered by the policy, whether as a dependent of the policyholder or otherwise.
SB0611: Medical Occupations – As enacted, removes the six-year limitation on the duration of non-compete agreements between a healthcare provider and an employing or contracting entity; applies the present law limitations on non-compete agreements for physicians to such agreements for osteopathic physicians. – Amends TCA Title 63.
This bill applies the present law requirements for non-compete agreements between hospitals and physicians to covenants not to compete between any entity that employs both physicians and other health care providers and such physicians or providers. This bill also redefines “employing entity” for purposes of non-compete agreements between healthcare providers and their employers.
Present law places different limitations on covenants not to compete between employers and podiatrists, chiropractors, dentists, physicians, optometrists or psychologists, and non-compete agreements between hospitals and physicians. Under present law, a non-compete agreement between a hospital and a physician that is not part of the purchase of the physician’s practice may only limit the employed physician’s right to treat for compensation or to directly solicit by telephone or mail the patients treated during the course of the employment relationship for up to one year. A non-compete agreement between a hospital and a physician that is part of the purchase of the physician’s practice or a covenant not to compete between a healthcare provider and the provider’s non-hospital employer may limit the time within which the provider may practice within a certain geography following termination of employment.
Present law authorizes “employing entities” to enter into non-compete agreements with physicians. This bill removes language from present law that specifically excludes HMOs from the definition of “employing entity”.
Amendment #1 rewrites this bill to remove the present law six-year limitation on the duration of non-compete agreements between a healthcare provider and an employing or contracting entity. This amendment also applies the present law limitations on non-compete agreements for physicians to such agreements for osteopathic physicians.
SB0352: Election Laws – As enacted, requires the coordinator of elections to compare the statewide voter registration database with the department of safety database to ensure non-United States citizens are not registered to vote in this state.
This bill requires proof of U.S. citizenship to vote.
Present law requires that certain information be included in an applicant’s permanent registration record for voting (such as name, address, birth date and place, social security number if any, whether the applicant has been convicted of a felony, whether the applicant is a U.S. citizen, and whether the applicant is a Tennessee resident). Under present law, qualified voters may register by mail by use of postal card forms. The forms must include such matter as the coordinator of elections requires to ascertain the qualifications of an individual applying to register and to prevent fraudulent registration.
This bill provides for qualified voters registering by mail by use of registration forms, instead of postal card forms. This bill requires that the matters included in these forms be selected by the coordinator of elections, as described above, but in consultation with the secretary of state. These forms must additionally include a statement that the applicant must submit evidence of United States citizenship with the application and that the registrar will reject the application if no evidence of citizenship is attached.
This bill requires the administrator of elections to reject any application for registration that is not accompanied by satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship, and would require that permanent registration records include a signed statement by the voter attesting that the voter is a citizen.
Satisfactory evidence of citizenship would include any of the following:
(1) The number of the applicant’s driver license, driver certificate, or non-operating identification license issued by the department of safety or equivalent governmental agency of another state within the United States if the agency indicates on the license issued that the person has provided satisfactory proof of United States citizenship;
(2) A legible photocopy of the applicant’s birth certificate that verifies citizenship to the satisfaction of the administrator of elections;
(3) A legible photocopy of pertinent pages of the applicant’s United States passport identifying the applicant and the applicant’s passport number or presentation to the administrator of elections of the applicant’s United States passport;
(4) Presentation to the administrator of elections of naturalization documents or the number of the certificate of naturalization;
(5) Other documents or methods of proof that are established pursuant to the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986; or
(6) The applicant’s federal Bureau of Indian Affairs card number, tribal treaty card number, or tribal enrollment number.
This bill deems any person who is registered in this state on the effective date of this bill to have provided satisfactory evidence of citizenship, and such persons would not be required to resubmit evidence of citizenship. After citizenship has been demonstrated to the administrator of elections, a person would not be required to resubmit satisfactory evidence of citizenship in that county.
After a person has submitted satisfactory evidence of citizenship, the administrator of elections would be required to indicate this information in the applicant’s permanent voter file. The administrator of elections may destroy any documents that were submitted as evidence of citizenship after two years.
It is the stated intent that this bill apply to new registration forms and that any remaining printed forms to which this bill applies would be used until Jan. 1, 2012, at which time the new forms would be used. It is also the stated intent that the on-line registration forms contain any revised language as soon as reasonably possible.
Amendment #1 rewrites this bill and requires the coordinator of elections to compare the statewide voter registration database with the department of safety database to ensure non-United States citizens are not registered to vote in this state. This amendment authorizes the coordinator of elections to compare the statewide voter registration database with relevant federal and state agencies and county records for the same purpose. If evidence exists that a particular registered voter is not a citizen of the United States, the coordinator of elections will notify the county election commission where the person registered to vote that the registered voter may not be a citizens of the United States.
After receiving such notice, the county election commission must send a notice to the registered voter inquiring whether the individual is eligible to be registered to vote. Any registered voter who receives the notice must, within 30 days of the receipt of such notice, provide proof of citizenship to the county election commission. For purposes of this amendment, proof of citizenship includes:
(1) The voter’s birth certificate or a legible photocopy of the birth certificate;
(2) A United States passport, or a legible photocopy of the pertinent pages of the passport, identifying the voter and showing the passport number;
(3) The voter’s United States naturalization documentation, a legible photocopy of the naturalization documentation, or the number of the voter’s certificate of naturalization; except that any person who provides the number of the certificate of naturalization in lieu of the naturalization documentation will not be deemed to have provided proof of citizenship until the coordinator of elections verifies the number with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security or its successor; or
(4) Any document or method of proof of citizenship established by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
If the registered voter does not provided proof of citizenship within 30 days of the receipt of the notification, the administrator of elections of the county where the person registered to vote will purge the voter from the voter registration data base. In the event a person is unable to provide any documentation referenced in this amendment to show proof of citizenship, the person may appeal to the state election commission and submit additional proof of citizenship in person or in writing. The state election commission will conduct a hearing and make a finding concerning the individual’s citizenship status and will forward a copy of its decision to the administrator of elections of the county where the person resides. The voter registration data base will be changed by the administrator of elections to accurately reflect the decision of the state election commission with respect to such voter.
All documentation provided to show proof of citizenship as well as the department of safety database or relevant federal and state agency and county records will be confidential and will not be available for inspection by the public.
SB1258: Physicians and Surgeons – As enacted, regulates pain management clinics and requires that such clinics apply for certification as such a clinic with the department of health. – Amends TCA Title 63.
Fiscal Summary
This bill establishes regulations for pain management clinics and requires that such clinics apply for certification as such a clinic with either the board of medical examiners or the board of osteopathic examiners, whichever is appropriate. With respect to a pain management clinic certified with the board of osteopathic examiners, “physician” as used in this bill and this summary refers to osteopathic physicians, and with respect to such a clinic certified with the board of medical examiners, “physician” refers to any physician licensed by such board. This bill would not apply to:
(1) A medical or dental school or an outpatient clinic associated with a medical or dental school;
(2) A hospital, including any outpatient facility or clinic of a hospital;
(3) Hospice services;
(4) A nursing home;
(5) A facility maintained or operated by this state; or
(6) A hospital or clinic maintained or operated by the federal government.
SB0690: Criminal Offenses – As enacted, increases the penalties for discharging a firearm into a habitation.
Under present law, a person commits the offense of reckless endangerment who recklessly engages in conduct that places or may place another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. Reckless endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor, except that reckless endangerment committed with a deadly weapon is a Class E felony.
This bill adds that reckless endangerment by discharging a firearm into a habitation would be a Class C felony, unless that habitation was unoccupied at the time of the offense, in which case it would be a Class D felony.
HB1378: Immigration – As enacted, enacts the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act; revises other provisions of law regarding employment of persons unlawfully present in the country.
As described below, this bill replaces the present law provisions prohibiting any person from knowingly employing an illegal alien; requires each employer to enroll and maintain active participation in the E-Verify program, before Oct. 1, 2011; and establishes certain requirements for contractors regarding illegal aliens.
Present law prohibits any person from knowingly employing, recruiting or referring for a fee for employment an illegal alien. A person has not violated this prohibition with respect to a particular employee if:
(1) The person requested from the employee, received, and documented in the employee record, at least 14 calendar days after commencement of employment, lawful resident verification information consistent with employer requirements under the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act; and
(2) The lawful resident verification information provided by the person later was determined to be false.
A person has not violated the prohibition with respect to a particular employee if the person verified the immigrant status of the person at least 14 calendar days after commencement of employment by using the federal electronic work authorization verification service provided by the United States department of homeland security.
If any state or local governmental agency, officer, employee or entity has reason to believe that a violation of the prohibition has occurred, the agency, officer, employee or entity must file a complaint with the department of labor and workforce development. Upon receipt of the complaint, the commissioner of labor and workforce development must conduct an investigation. If there is substantial evidence that a violation has occurred, the commissioner must conduct a contested case hearing pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA).
HB1046: Wine and Wineries – As enacted, authorizes licensure and regulation of businesses where customers can make wine for personal, home consumption.
This bill authorizes the issuance of a winemaking on premises facility license for a business:
(1) That is located in a jurisdiction where the establishment of a winery is permitted under present law; and
(2) Where individual customers who are at least 21 years of age may purchase ingredients and rent the equipment, time, and space to manufacture wine for personal use in an amount not to exceed the maximum amount annually permitted by federal law relative to household manufacture and consumption.
Any applicant for licensure under this bill must submit a verified, written application to the alcoholic beverage commission (ABC). Any winemaking on premises facility license issued pursuant to this bill would authorize the holder of the license and the holder’s customers to manufacture, but not rectify, wine, and to place the wine in containers or bottles.
Except for wine produced in the process of testing equipment or recipes, and producing samples to be distributed as described below, a license holder may not personally manufacture wine that is not intended for the personal use of the license holder on the premises of the winemaking on premises facility.
A winemaking on premises facility licensed under this bill may serve wine that is produced on the premises of the facility without charge as complimentary samples for tasting at the facility. Samples may be consumed at the premises only by a person who has a nonrefundable contract to manufacture at the premises, and the samples may not exceed one ounce per sample. All wine produced at a winemaking on premises facility must be removed from the premises by the customer or license holder who manufactured the wine and may only be used for home consumption and the personal use of the customer or license holder.
Each applicant for a winemaking on premises facility license must pay to the ABC a one-time, nonrefundable fee in an amount to be determined by the ABC when the application is submitted for review. The license would not be issued until the license fee is paid to the ABC by the winemaking on premises facility.
A licensed winemaking on premises facility located in this state may sell the following items on the facility premises:
(1) Juices or concentrates derived from juices, or any agricultural products;
(2) Items used in home winemaking; and
(3) Other gift, tourism, or wine-related items as defined by regulations duly promulgated by the ABC.
Any wine transported from a winemaking on premises facility must be accompanied by a bill of lading or other memorandum of shipment signed by the license holder for the facility where the wine was manufactured sufficiently identifying the nature, quantity, manufacturer, date and place of manufacture of the wine. Any person transporting such wine in excess of five gallons must have with the shipment a receipt or other documentation demonstrating that the wine was manufactured by the individual who is transporting the wine at a licensed winemaking on premises facility.
Any licensee or other person who sells, furnishes, disposes of, gives or causes to be sold, furnished, disposed of or given, any wine in this state or for transport into this state, to any person under the age of 21 years of age commits a Class A misdemeanor.
This bill requires the commissioner of agriculture to establish reasonable procedures requiring proper sanitary conditions about the winemaking on premises facility and to certify that these conditions have been met before the ABC issues any license. The commissioner must notify the ABC of any failure to comply with the procedures, and the ABC may revoke or suspend the license of any winemaking on premises facility who fails to comply with the procedures.
For the purpose of promulgating rules and regulations and determining the amount of fees, this bill would take effect upon becoming a law, and for all other purposes, this bill would take effect on Jan.1, 2012.
For more information log onto http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/billsearch/BillSearch.aspx

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