This article was written by Holly McCall and is from Tennessee/Lookout.
Each week during the legislative session, the Tennessee Lookout will provide a rundown of bills filed during the prior week. Hundreds of bills are filed each session and our list won’t include every bill but rather is intended to provide an overview of legislation most likely to have an impact on Tennesseans.
- Senate bill 0193, sponsored by Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol. (Controlled substances) Increases the penalty to a Class B felony with a fine of up to $100,000 for drug offenses involving 0.5 grams or more of fentanyl, carfentanil, remifentanil, alfentanil, thiafentanil, or any fentanyl derivative or analogue. Amends TCA Title 39 and Title 40.
- Senate bill 0197, sponsored by Lundberg. (Education) 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.
- Senate bill 0199, sponsored by Sen. London Lamar, D-Memphis. (Alcoholic beverages) 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.
- Senate bill 0203, sponsored by Sen. Page Walley, R-Savannah. (Campaigns and campaign finance) Exempts churches and other religious organizations from the Campaign Financial Disclosure Act of 1980 with respect to expending funds in favor of or in opposition to single or multiple issue measures related to questions of public or private morality, including, but not limited to, alcohol, drugs, abortion, marriage, or gambling.
- Senate bill 0208, sponsored by Sen. Adam Lowe, R-Calhoun. (Local education agencies) Requires local school boards 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.
- Senate bill 0234, sponsored by Sen. Charlane Oliver, D-Nashville. (Consumer protection) Limits the number of times that a real estate developer, business entity, or individual working on behalf of the developer or business entity is permitted to contact a property owner to make an unsolicited offer to buy the property owner’s property; allows a property owner who believes a developer has violated the limitation to submit a complaint to the consumer affairs division in the office of the attorney general; adds additional requirements and penalties for a violation.
- Senate bill 0240, sponsored by Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin. (Department of Correction) Extends, from 10 days to 15 days after the injury or death, the period of time within which a prison warden must report to the commissioner the death or injury of an inmate by violence or accident.
- Senate bill 0256, sponsored by Johnson. (Drug and alcohol rehabilitation) Extends criminal immunity to persons who are experiencing a drug overdose and who are seeking medical assistance, regardless of whether it is their first or subsequent overdose.
- Senate bill 0279, sponsored by Johnson (Governor’s office) 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.
- Senate bill 0285, sponsored by Oliver. (Election laws) Authorizes the use of an identification card issued by an accredited institution of higher education in this state for purposes of voter identification at a polling place; requires the secretary of state to conduct studies on such use and file reports regarding such use.
- House bill 0240, sponsored by Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis. (Victims rights) requires a law enforcement agency to notify the victim of a sexual offense of the results of DNA data analysis on the victim’s sexual assault evidence collection kit prior to releasing the results to the public; requires the department of mental health and substance abuse services or another appropriate provider to provide counseling to a victim of a sexually oriented crime at no charge to the victim.
- House bill 0262, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Richey, R-Maryville. (Political parties) Requires state and local elections for public office to be partisan elections; requires judges who are required by this state’s constitution to be reelected at retention elections to declare a bona fide membership with a political party or independent status at least 30 days prior to a retention election.
- House bill 0264, sponsored by Richey. (Public health) Prohibits the state or a political subdivision of the state from requiring an immunization unless exemptions are provided for persons who file signed, written statements affirming that the immunization conflicts with their religious tenets and practices.
- House bill 0269, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro. (Abortion) Requires the department of health to publish on its website information on the possibility of reversing the effects of a chemical abortion in any language that is the primary language spoken by 1 percent or more of this state’s population. (Lookout note: Claims that medication abortions can be reversed are false and misleading.)
- House bill 0299, sponsored by Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet. (Food and food products) Prohibits the manufacture, sale, or delivery, holding, or offering for sale of any livestock carcass, part of any livestock carcass, or meat food product that contains a mRNA vaccine or vaccine material unless the product labeling contains a conspicuous notification of the presence of the mRNA vaccine or vaccine material in the product.
- House bill 0306, sponsored by Rep. Gino Bulso, R-Brentwood. (Private schools) 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.