New laws going into effect today
By Kim Swindell Wood | July 1, 2019 12:22 pm
Last Updated: July 1, 2019 at 12:26 pm
By Rachel Auberger
Every year, July 1 brings new state laws, and this year is no exception. Along with the very publicized “Hands Free Law” for cell phones, there will be over 40 other laws being added or amended.
While some of these laws, such as deadline extensions and reporting guidelines for specific government agencies, will never have a significant impact on the everyday lives of most people, others can have a more direct impact.
One such amendment now prohibits persons receiving online ordinations from solemnizing the rite of matrimony. The same amendment, however, will allow members of the general assembly, law enforcement chaplains, and members of the city government to have the ability to perform and legalize a marriage ceremony.
Another amendment will increase pay supplement from $600 to $800 for police officers and firefighters who complete 40 hours of in-service training.
Starting July 1, a 50 percent discount on camping fees at state parks will be given to veterans who have a 100 percent permanent service-connected disability.
There will also be various changes concerning the prescribing of certain scheduled controlled substances, which could affect prescriptions and distribution of certain medicines. One such change includes improvements to the TN Together Act. According to the state, the new law removes unintended barriers in the new law that could prevent patients from receiving post-operative and palliative care medications and legitimate and effective pain management treatment, while still keeping opioids out of the hands of abusers. The measure allows providers and patients to voluntarily request a partial fill, while encouraging providers to write prescriptions for the lowest effective amount. It also amends the current twenty-day prescription of opioids for major surgeries to a thirty-day prescription. This action would make the length of opioid prescriptions for three, ten or thirty days. For example, major surgeries such as knee and hip replacements, orthopedic neurological spine surgeries, etc. would fall under thirty-day prescriptions. This ensures that patients who have undergone major surgeries are receiving the pain medication they need to get out of bed, go through physical therapy and heal. Ten-day prescriptions would be used for such surgeries as appendectomies, C-sections, ACL/MCL repairs. Three-day prescriptions would be used for procedures such as tooth extractions or kidney stones.
Another change means that personally-identifying information contained in motor vehicle accident reports will now be treated as confidential information and restricted from public disclosure.
The Tennessee General Assembly passed the Leigh Ann Act to help protect victims of domestic violence. The legislation is named for a Tennessee woman who was murdered 17 years ago in an act of domestic violence by her former boyfriend who violated a no-contact order. It creates a Class A misdemeanor for a person who is arrested on domestic violence charges to knowingly violate a no-contact order that is issued prior to the defendant’s release on bond.
Sex offenders, whose offense involved a child, were previously restricted from living in a house with a minor but will now be restricted from even staying in the house for the period of a one-night visit.
And, while Sparta doesn’t have public foot scooters, people visiting cities like Nashville and Knoxville may be affected. A new law will consider electric foot scooters a motor-driven vehicle for the purpose of DUI laws.
Click here to view a complete and detailed list of the new laws effective July 1, 2019