2024 Legislative Highlights

113th General Assembly Highlights at a Glance                                   

Safer Communities

  • Strengthened restrictions for issuing bail to keep violent criminals off the streets
  • Passed Jillian’s Law requiring involuntary commitment for criminal defendants found mentally incompetent to stand trial
  • Increased penalty for child rape to death or life without parole
  • Created a new felony offense for repeat misdemeanor offenders
  • Protected citizens’ right to bear arms
  • Protected property owners from squatters
  • Increased criminal penalties for illegal immigrants
  • Sent Tennessee National Guard troops to Texas border to secure southern border
  • Added 60 positions to the Tennessee Highway Patrol
  • Added 13 positions to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Protecting Children and Families

  • Restored parental authority online by requiring age-verification and parental consent for minors to create a social media account
  • Restricted minors’ access to online pornography through age-verification requirements for websites
  • Strengthened law to keep obscene materials out of public schools


  • Increased investment in K-12 education by $261 million
  • Maintained commitment to raise teacher’s starting salary for $50,000 by 2026
  • Improved access to quality facilities for public charter schools

Pro-Business / Economy

  • Passed the largest tax cut in state history by modernizing the franchise tax
  • Maintained fiscal responsibility in the face of declining revenues


  • Invested $105 million to strengthen rural and behavioral health
  • Provided $97.7 million to support Tennessee’s hospitals
  • Passed phase out of the Certificate of Need (CON) permit requirements to increase access to health care and lower costs
  • Established program to allow working individuals with disabilities to still receive TennCare

2024 Budget Highlights

  • This year lawmakers faced new budgeting challenges as state revenue collections slowed. Fortunately, years of consistent conservative budgeting from Republican lawmakers enabled the state to be well-prepared to face declining revenues.
  • The 2024/2025 budget takes on no new debt and reflects lawmakers’ continuous efforts to cut taxes, maintain fiscal responsibility, protect public safety, prioritize education and invest in rural health.
  • This budget deposits $100 million to the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which serves as the state’s savings account to withstand economic downturns, bringing the fund to a historic level of $2.15 billion.
  • Tennessee continues to be among the most fiscally stable states in the nation with no state income tax and low tax burden overall.

Continuing focus on education

  • $261 million for K-12 public education to go into the TISA education funding formula
  • $125 million to keep the state’s commitment to raise the starting salary for every Tennessee teacher to $50,000 by 2026.
  • $144 million recurring for 20,000 education freedom scholarships
  • $15 million for the Charter Schools Facility Fund

Prioritizing public safety

  • $17 million to add 60 new highway patrol troopers, supervisors and support staff
  • $6.4 million for military border deployment of Tennessee National Guard
  • $4.4 million for a legislative initiative to implement blended sentencing to address juvenile crime
  • $1.5 million to fund a legislative initiative to reduce recidivism of repeat misdemeanor offenders
  • $383,500 for a legislative initiative to collect data on number of illegal immigrants in Tennessee from law enforcement agencies
  • $15 million for grant pools for volunteer firefighters, rescue squads, and EMS
  • $4.45 million for Youth Villages Violence Prevention Program in Shelby County
  • 13 new positions for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Support for Tennessee hospitals and healthcare facilities

  • $80 million to strengthen rural health
  • $25 million for behavioral health
  • $97.7 million to support Tennessee’s hospitals
  • $12.3 million to support Tennessee nursing homes

Supporting most vulnerable citizens

  • $900,000 for DIDD residential pilot program to provide permanent housing for persons with disabilities
  • $1.4 million to increases personal needs allowance for long-term nursing home residents on TennCare from $50 - $70 per month
  • Increasing hourly rate for indigent defense
  • $2 million for four new Safe Baby Courts
  • $3 million for Crisis Pregnancy Center grants

Rural Communities

  • $36 million in non-recurring grants to help distressed counties and rural communities with economic development

Preserving Outdoor Heritage

  • $59 million for Tennessee State Parks capital projects
  • $51 million to the Heritage Preservation Fund to preserve land across this state
  • $20 million to expand blueways trail access through new recreational access points to Tennessee waterways
  • $10 million to improve water quality at rivers, lakes and streams across the state, making them safe for future generations to enjoy and the
  • $10 million to expedite the Bill Dance Signature Lakes initiative
  • $5 million to protect and enhance scenic beauty along our major highways
  • $3 million for Access 2030 to make Tennessee State Parks accessible to Tennesseans with disabilities
  • $1.5 million authorized for pay raises for District Attorneys and Public Defenders

Public Safety / Crime

Jillian's Law / SB 1769

  • Jillian’s Law passed which requires criminal defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial to be committed to an appropriate treatment facility.
  • The legislation came from the murder of Jillian Ludwig, an 18-year-old Belmont University freshman who was fatally shot while walking in a Nashville park on Nov. 7, 2023.
  • Her killer, Shaquille Taylor, was a repeat violent offender who was deemed incompetent to stand trial for committing aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in April 2023.
  • Because of this finding, Taylor was released from custody and went on to murder Jillian Ludwig later that year.
  • The law also requires individuals deemed incompetent to stand trial to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System which serves as a database of people prohibited from buying or owning firearms.

Senate Bill 1769 / sponsored by Lundberg, Stevens, Walley, Massey, Reeves, Rose, White / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Signed by Governor

Denying bail for violent crimes / SJR 919

  • This year, the General Assembly passed a resolution proposing to amend the state constitution to expand judges’ ability to deny bail for certain violent crimes when it is in the best interest of public safety.
  • Current law limits judges’ ability to deny bail to first-degree murder charges.
  • If ratified by voters, the measure would add the following criminal charges that can be denied bail:
    • Violent offenses of terrorism
    • Second-degree murder
    • Aggravated rape
    • Grave torture
  • It also would allow judges to deny bail for violent offenses that would require the defendant, if convicted, to serve at least 85 percent of their entire sentence under the state’s Truth in Sentencing law.
  • Under the measure judges could only deny bail when the proof is evident or the presumption of guilt is great.
  • The reasoning for denying bail must also be put into the record.
  • This constitutional amendment passed its first of two required passages by the General Assembly.
  • How Constitutional amendments work
    • In order to ratify the constitution, a constitutional amendment must pass the general assembly twice. The first time it must pass with a simple majority voting in favor. The second time it must pass the next General Assembly by a two-thirds majority.
    • Finally, the amendment would become part of the state constitution if the number of yes votes are equal to a majority of the total votes in the following gubernatorial election.

Senate Joint Resolution 919 / sponsored by Johnson, Taylor, Rose / Transmitted to Governor 

Prohibiting ‘Ability to Pay’ to determine bail / SB 2565

  • A new law ensures that a defendant’s ability to pay is not used as a determining factor when setting bail.
  • This law is in response to Shelby County’s new Bail Hearing Room and intended to prevent them from recklessly releasing criminals without bond based on an “Ability to Pay Calculator” to set bail.

Senate Bill 2565 / sponsored by Taylor, Rose, Johnson, Yager, Jackson, Stevens, Walley / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor 

Prioritizing safety when setting bail / SB 2562

  • This law requires judges to prioritize the safety of communities when setting bail for defendants.
  • Other factors that will still be considered include: the likelihood of appearing for their court date, nature of offense, and apparent probability of conviction.
  • Under this legislation, the community will be put very first when considering bail determinations for those charged with a crime.

Senate Bill 2562 / sponsored by Taylor, Rose, Johnson, Yager, Bowling, Walley / July 1, 2024 /  Public Chapter 612

Prohibiting local restrictions on routine traffic stops / SB 2572

  • This year, we passed legislation that will ensure law enforcement can conduct routine traffic stops as part of their efforts to protect public safety.
  • The law is in response to The Memphis City Council passing a resolution to prohibit Memphis Police from conducting routine traffic stops.
  • Routine traffic stops are a proven means of catching violent offenders, drug traffickers, and other dangerous criminals.

Senate Bill 2572 / sponsored by Taylor, Rose, Johnson, Yager, Jackson, Haile, Walley, Hensley / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 631

DA Second Opinion Act / SB 1802

  • We passed a law that permits a neighboring District Attorney to prosecute certain county crimes if the DA in the district where the offense took place refuses to prosecute.
  • This law requires law enforcement to report certain major criminal investigations to District Attorneys in neighboring counties.
  • The law gives law enforcement officials more options.

Senate Bill 1802 / sponsored by Taylor, Johnson, Yager, Haile, Stevens, Bowling, Walley, White / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor

Felony offense for repeat misdemeanors / SB 2155

  • We passed legislation this year that creates a Class E felony offense for certain repeat misdemeanor offenses.
  • There are 37 qualifying misdemeanor offenses.
  • After 5 or more convictions of qualifying misdemeanors in the past ten years, the criminal would be subject to a class E felony charge at the discretion of a judge.
    • A Class E felony is punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.
  • After 3 or more convictions of certain repeat violent offenses (domestic assault and child neglect), the third or subsequent conviction could be raised from a class D misdemeanor to a class E felony.
  • This law addresses the issue of persistent crime and highlights our desire to tackle criminals avoiding significant consequences for repeat misdemeanors.

Senate Bill 2155 / sponsored by Watson, Gardenhire, Stevens / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor 

Misdemeanor Sentencing / SB 1859

  • As part of a large effort to crack down on crime this session and discourage repeat misdemeanor offenses, we passed legislation that extends the percentage of a misdemeanor sentence that a court may require a defendant to serve from 70% to 100%.
  • This law allows judges to make the best decision for the defendant and their communities.
  • Under previous law, the maximum percentage of a misdemeanor sentence a defendant could serve was 75 percent.
  • This has caused issues as these criminals often become repeat offenders due to a lack of full sentencing being served.

Senate Bill 1859 / sponsored by Rose, Taylor / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Signed by Governor

Holding parents accountable for child’s delinquent actions / SB 2571

  • We passed the Parent Accountability Act this year to give judges the discretion to fine parents or guardians instead of the child for their delinquent actions after their first offense.
  • If the parent is unable to pay the fine, community service is an alternative option.
  • This bill is designed to incentivize parents to pay closer attention to their children.

Senate Bill 2571 / sponsored by Taylor, Rose, Johnson, Yager, Jackson / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor

Communication between juvenile courts and DCS / SB 447

  • We passed legislation to improve communication and coordination between the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and the juvenile justice system by requiring DCS to notify the juvenile judge when a child in DCS custody is scheduled to be discharged.
  • This law also sets a procedure for the judge to object to the child being discharged from DCS custody.

Senate Bill 447 / sponsored by Lowe / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 611

Stronger penalties for cyberattacks / SB 2040

  • This year we passed legislation to continue efforts to fight cybercrime and protect Tennessean’s online data.
  • The measure updates Tennessee’s law to include cyberattacks in critical infrastructure vandalism crimes, making it a Class C felony.

Senate Bill 2040 / sponsored by Rose, Bowling / Effective Date: July 1, 2024  / Public Chapter 627

Prohibiting taxpayer-funded ransomware payments / SB 1825

  • Cybercriminals have increasingly targeted federal and state government agencies, disrupting critical systems and compromising citizens' private data.
  • This year, we passed a bill that prevents taxpayer funds from being used for ransom payments to cybercriminals to discourage cybercriminals from targeting Tennessee.
  • This legislation forbids state entities from engaging in contracts, negotiations, or payments with known system hackers.
  • It also mandates state entities to notify the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in the event of a cyber-attack.

Senate Bill 1825 / sponsored by Stevens, Walley / Effective Date: Upon Becoming law / Public Chapter 534

Tough on Crime 2019 - 2023

Information from previous legislative sessions:


  • In 2019, a law was approved that ensures Class A, B or C felons, which are violent offenders, are required to serve the minimum sentence for their crimes before being eligible for reduction credits for good behavior. (Public Chapter 488, 2019)
  • In 2021, the General Assembly expanded previous efforts and ensured that violent or sexual offenders serve 100% of the sentence imposed by a judge or jury. (Public Chapter 563, 2021)
    • This law affects offenses such as rape, sexual battery, continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual battery by an authority figure, incest, promoting prostitution, aggravated child abuse, domestic assault, aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and trafficking for a commercial sex act.
  • In 2022, to provide more accountability for criminals, lawmakers expanded truth-in-sentencing to apply to additional violent offenses. The additional offenses required to serve 100% of the sentence are: (Public Chapter 988, 2022)
    • Attempted first degree murder, second degree murder, vehicular homicide, especially aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated robbery, carjacking, and especially aggravated burglary. Sentence reduction credits are not applicable.
    • Furthermore, another 16 offenses require 100% of the sentence to be served unless the inmate earns a satisfactory program performance.

Transparency in Sentencing for Victims Act

  • This law requires all Tennessee courts to place on the record the estimated number of years and months to be served before a criminal is eligible for parole, as well as the reason for the sentence and enhancements. (Public Chapter 952, 2022)
    • This helps victims and their families be better informed about how much time an offender will serve. 

Increasing accountability for setting bond amounts

  • This law increases judicial accountability and transparency when setting bond amounts for the most serious criminal cases. (Public Chapter 362, 2023)
  • Only elected judges - criminal, circuit court or general sessions judges - are allowed to set bond in the following
    • Cases involving Class A or Class B felonies
    • Aggravated assault
    • Aggravated assault against a first responder
    • Felony domestic assault
  • It also requires anyone out on bail and arrested for another crime to have their new bond set in an amount twice the customary amount.

Illegal Immigration

Strengthened Sanctuary City Ban / SB 2576 

  • This year we passed a law to require all law enforcement in Tennessee to notify the appropriate federal authorities if an individual they come into contact with is found to be in the country illegally.
  • Under previous state law, notification was authorized but not required.
  • This legislation builds on action taken in 2018 to ban sanctuary cities in Tennessee, which ensured that no local government can shield illegal immigrants from state and federal immigration laws. (Public Chapter 973, 2018)

Senate Bill 2576 / sponsored by Taylor, Rose, McNally, Bowling, Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Stevens, White / Effective date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 716

Increasing punishment for illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes / SB 2770

  • This law allows a judge to sentence an illegal immigrant to life without parole if convicted of a violent crime or if a deadly weapon was involved in the offense.
    • It also authorizes the same enhancement for adults convicted of a violent crime on school property.
  • The arrest of an illegal immigrant and all subsequent convictions must be reported to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. The data will be used to help understand the impact of illegal immigration on Tennessee.

Senate Bill 2770 / sponsored by Bowling, Stevens, Taylor / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / passed Senate 4/18/24 

Reporting on illegal immigrants who commit crimes in Tennessee / SB 757 and SB 2158

  • Two laws passed this year to increase reporting requirements regarding illegal immigrants.
  • These reports will be used to understand the fiscal impact of illegal immigration on Tennessee.
  • Senate Bill 757 would require a local law enforcement agency to verify a detainee’s citizenship.
    • If not lawfully present, a report must be made to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
  • Senate Bill 2158 requires the District Attorneys General Conference to collect data on the cost incurred by the state as a direct result of known illegal immigrants charged or convicted of a criminal offense and report the findings to the General Assembly and Governor.
    • $383,500 was allocated in the budget to fund this legislation to ensure the DA’s Conference has necessary resources to compile the report.

Senate Bill 757 / sponsored by Haile, Jackson, Hensley, Taylor, Walley, White, Yager, Crowe / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor Senate Bill 2158 / sponsored by Haile, Yager, Jackson, Stevens, White / Effective Date: January 1, 2025 / Transmitted to Governor

Sending Tennessee National Guard to the US southern border / SR 188

  • We passed a resolution expressing our support for Governor Lee’s action to send Tennessee National Guard troops to join efforts with the Texas National Guard and others to help secure the U.S. southern border.
  • After Governor Lee visited the border with other governors in early February, he committed to sending two waves of state active-duty soldiers to Texas to assist in their efforts.
  • Additionally, in this year’s budget, lawmakers approved $6.4 million for military deployment to the border.

Senate Resolution 188 / Johnson, Yager, Briggs, Crowe, Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Niceley, Pody, Powers, Reeves, Roberts, Taylor, Watson, White, McNally / Transmitted to Governor

Support for Texas in fight to secure southern border / SJR 906

  • We passed a resolution expressing strong support for Texas’s efforts to secure the southern border and exercise their right to self-defense under Article I of the US Constitution.
  • Additionally, Gov. Lee committed to deploying two additional waves of Tennessee National Guard troops to support Texas’ ongoing efforts to improve border security.
  • The federal government has created a crisis at the United States’ southern border as illegal immigrants are flowing into the country at record levels allowing drug cartels and terrorists to enter undetected.
  • Texas has declared the crisis an invasion and is pushing back to defend their state, while the federal government is attempting to block Texas at every turn.

Senate Joint Resolution 906 / sponsored by Lowe, White, Yager, Bowling, Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Johnson, Massey, McNally, Roberts, Rose, Stevens, Taylor 

Fighting Illegal Immigration 2008 - 2024

Information previous and current legislative sessions:

Tennessee stands with Texas in fight to secure our southern border

  • Republican lawmakers passed a resolution supporting Texas in the fight against illegal immigrants flooding into the United States at the southern border. (SJR 906 , 2024)
    • Because the federal government has failed to do its job to protect our border, Texas absolutely has the right to defend itself from this invasion.
    • The overwhelming chaos at the border is enabling terrorists and drug cartels to invade our country undetected with the intention of doing harm to America and our citizens. Many are trafficking deadly drugs and young girls.
    • This has to stop. Tennessee stands with Texas.
  • Support Governor Lee’s moves to send Tennessee troops to Texas to help our country regain control of the nation’s southern border.
    • In October 2023, 125 Soldiers from the Tennessee National Guard’s 1175th Transportation Company deployed for a year-long mission at the Southwest border.
    • This year, Governor Lee committed to send two additional waves of troops in the Tennessee National Guard troops to assist in the efforts.
    • The General Assembly allocated $6.4 million in the budget to fund this military deployment to the border. 

Banned Sanctuary Cities

  • Republicans in the General Assembly passed a law in 2018 to ensure that no local government can shield illegal aliens from state and federal immigration laws. (Public Chapter 973 , 2018)

Strengthened Sanctuary City Ban

  • This year we passed a law to require all law enforcement in Tennessee to notify the appropriate federal authorities if an individual they come into contact with is found to be in the country illegally. (Senate Bill 2576 - signed by governor)
  • Under previous state law, notification was authorized but not required.

Pushed back against federal refugee resettlement program

  • Passed a measure to ensure Tennessee could take legal action against the federal government’s refugee resettlement program. (SJR 467, 2016)
    • It gave the General Assembly the authority to seek outside counsel to file suit against the refugee resettlement program if the Tennessee Attorney General failed to do so.
  • Required reporting for refugee resettlement programs in Tennessee. (Public Chapter 316, 2011)
    • It requires any entity that administers the state's refugee program to submit quarterly reports to legislative committees regarding resettlement information, so that the state can be aware of all refugees in Tennessee.

Ensured Illegal immigrants do no receive public benefits

  • We passed legislation authorizing state agencies to prohibit an unlawful alien from receiving any “non-emergency” taxpayer-provided benefits in Tennessee. (Public Chapter 1061, 2012)
    • Agencies could use the “Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act” to keep unlawful aliens from receiving benefits.
    • Excludes prenatal care. 

Restricted employment of illegal immigrants, protected businesses

  • Prohibited local governments from issuing government ID cards to illegal immigrants. (Public Chapter 1053, 2018)
  • Created a Class A misdemeanor offense to knowingly provide, transfer or submit a fake identification for the purpose of obtaining or maintaining employment. (Public Chapter 155, 2009)
  • Gave employers the right to institute an English-in-the-workplace policy (Public Chapter 1089, 2010)
  • Increased penalties for those who employ illegal immigrants. (Public Chapter 828, 2016)
    • Created a civil penalty and $500 fine per day if an employer fails to use the E-Verify system to verify employment eligibility of newly hired employees.
    • Some bad actors would have rather paid the previous one-time fine of $500 for hiring an illegal alien.

Closed loopholes for illegal immigrants seeking IDs and Driver's Licenses

  • Required any applicant presenting a driver’s license from a state that issues them to illegal aliens, to establish proof of United States citizenship or legal residency when applying for one in Tennessee (Public Chapter 665, 2016)
  • Prohibited local governments from issuing ID cards that can be used as a government ID card. (Public Chapter 1053, 2018)(Repeat from employment section)

Implemented stronger penalties for crimes and violations committed by illegal immigrants

  • Gave judges ability to enhance penalties for crimes committed by those who were illegally or unlawfully in the US at the time the offense was committed (Public Chapter 492, 2017)
    • Gives judges discretion to enhance sentences for illegal aliens who commit crimes.
  • Another law allows court clerks to set a higher bail for traffic violations committed by illegal immigrants deemed a flight risk. (Public Chapter 1011, 2012) 

Reduced abuse of education system

  • Gave the Department of Safety and Homeland Security the authority to subpoena an institution of higher education regarding students who are in Tennessee on F-1 or M-1 visas. (Public Chapter 812, 2016)

Consistently supported immigration reform and border wall at federal level

  • Urged Congress to fund construction of President Trump’s border wall (House Joint Resolution 741, 2018)
  • Encouraged the President and Congress to pass meaningful immigration policy reform. (HJR 70, 2016)

Protecting 2nd Amendment Rights

Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act / SB 2223

  • This new law protects financial transaction data associated with firearm and ammunition purchases from being used to conduct mass surveillance of law-abiding Tennesseans.
  • It prohibits financial institutions from requiring the use of a specific merchant category code (MCC) to identify transactions that occur at firearms retailers in the state.
  • These financial institutes include banks and credit card companies.
  • Alleged violations of the law will be investigated by the Attorney General’s Office and could result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000.

Senate Bill 2223 / sponsored by Johnson, Haile, Bowling, Crowe, Hensley, Bailey, Jackson, Niceley, Pody, Rose, Southerland, Stevens, Taylor, Walley, Yager / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / signed by Gov. 

Protecting right to bear arms / SJR 904

  • This year, we passed a measure aimed at amending the state constitution to strengthen the right to bear arms.
  • The resolution proposes to replace the previous constitutional provision that authorizes the legislature to “regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime” and instead state that “citizens have a right to keep, bear and wear arms.”
  • This measure protects citizens’ right to bear arms in the Tennessee Constitution and limits the legislature’s ability to pass restrictive gun laws. 

Senate Joint Resolution 904 / sponsored by Stevens, Bailey, Bowling, Hensley, Jackson, Pody, Haile, Yager, Lowe, White, Crowe

Tennessee gun laws / HJR 131

  • We passed a resolution that establishes that within the borders of Tennessee, only Tennessee’s gun laws can apply in court.
  • This ensures other states cannot enforce their gun laws in Tennessee.
  • It makes clear that if a Tennessee gun manufacturer had a weapon used in the commission of a crime in another state, then it is the policy of Tennessee that only Tennessee’s gun laws can apply to Tennessee citizens and companies.

HJR 131 / sponsored by Stevens, Bowling, Jackson, Pody, Rose, White 

Protecting 2nd Amendment Rights 2019 - 2023

Information from previous legislative sessions: 

Permitless Carry

  • The General Assembly has worked to create more affordable and accessible means for Tennesseans to exercise their right to self-defense.
  • In 2021, the General Assembly approved legislation to create permitless carry so that all Tennesseans could exercise their constitutional right to carry firearms. (Public Chapter 108, 2021)

Gun owners’ rights and protection

  • In 2021, a law was passed that protects the anonymity of citizens owning firearms by making it a Class E felony for any public personnel to intentionally disclose information about the owner of a firearm for the purpose of compiling a federal firearms registry or confiscation of firearms. (Public Chapter 540, 2021)
  • Another law passed in 2021 protects gun owners by preventing a state or local entity from creating a registry to keep record of who possesses firearms in Tennessee. (Public Chapter 554, 2021)
    • A violation results in a Class E felony and loss of state funding for the following fiscal year.
  • The Tennessee Second Amendment Sanctuary Act makes it clear that state and local officials must not enforce laws, treaties, executive order, rules or regulations of the U.S. government that violate the U.S. and State Constitutions. (Public Chapter 553, 2021)
  • The Tennessee Firearm Protection Act prohibits the expenditure of state or local funds, and the use of employees, to enforce any federal law or executive order regulating the sale of firearms, ammunition or firearm accessories if they violate state law or the Tennessee Constitution. (Public Chapter 444, 2021) 

Increasing areas trained law-abiding citizens can carry handguns

  • Retired law enforcement officers who are employed on part-time basis by a higher education institution are allowed to carry a handgun on the property. (Public Chapter 149, 2023)
    • The person must have retired in good standing and have served for at least twenty years to be legally allowed to carry on higher education property.
  • A law was passed in 2019 that allows a Handgun Carry Permit to remain valid beyond the expiration date if the person is an active member of the United States Armed Forces who is stationed outside of Tennessee. (Public Chapter 367, 2019) 

Protecting firearm and ammunition manufacturers

  • In 2023, a law was passed to provide civil liability protection to firearm and ammunition manufacturers to prevent them from being held responsible for illegal acts carried out by criminals using their products. (Public Chapter 409, 2023)

Protections for carrying handguns while hunting

  • In 2023, the General Assembly ensured that any person can carry a handgun while hunting as long as the handgun is not used to hunt game. (Public Chapter 218, 2023)
    • The person must not be prohibited from possessing a handgun.

Incentivizing firearm safety

  • To promote the safe use of handguns, a law creates a grant to incentivize citizens to take handgun safety classes. (Public Chapter 445, 2023)
    • It authorizes the Department of Safety to utilize processing fees associated with applications for enhanced carry permits to pay reimbursements to approved handgun safety schools.

Ammunition Sales

  • In 2019, we repealed the ten cents privilege tax per container on all center-fire ammunition, shotgun shells and rim-fire ammunition. (Public Chapter 509, 2019) 

Protecting Children and Family Values

Protecting Children from Social Media Act / SB 2097

  • A new law restores parental authority online by requiring social media companies to verify the ages of account holders and obtain parental consent for minors to create a social media account.
  • It also gives parents the ability to supervise and restrict their child’s online interactions, as well as the ability to revoke consent if necessary.
  • The restrictions include privacy settings, daily time restrictions, and implemented breaks from the platform.
  • Social media can be extremely harmful for children, teens and young adults, especially if unsupervised.
  • This legislation puts parents back in the driver’s seat of their children’s social media usage.
  • It lays out clear steps social media companies must take to verify the ages of users to protect Tennessee children and empower parents.

Senate Bill 2097 / sponsored by Johnson, Watson, Lowe, Jackson, Bailey, Crowe, Hensley, Niceley, Pody, Reeves, Rose, Stevens, Walley, White / Effective date:  upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor

Protect Tennessee Minors Act / SB 1972

  • We passed legislation this session that requires online media companies and operators to verify users’ ages in order to access sites with explicit adult content.
  • The Protect Tennessee Minors Act requires companies to match a photograph of an active user to a photograph on a valid form of ID.
  • In the digital age, it is too easy for minors to access pornography online. This bill puts needed guardrails in place to protect minors from harmful content.
  • A national survey by Common Sense Media cited 73 percent of teen respondents aged 13-17 had watched pornography online.
  • Fifty-four percent reported first watching pornography online before age 13.

Senate Bill 1972 / sponsored by Massey, Watson, Rose, Yager, Haile, Stevens, Hensley, White / Effective Date: January 1, 2025 / Transmitted to Governor

The Family Rights and Responsibilities Act / SB 2749

  • We passed a law this year that explicitly outlines the twelve fundamental rights of parents.
  • These rights include responsibilities to make education, healthcare, moral and religious decisions for their child.
  • The law protects children from being indoctrinated by ideologies contrary to the values taught by their parents.
  • This legislation honors the fundamental role moms and dads play in the lives of their children as lead decision-makers and protectors.
  • It shields families from government overreach by ensuring a parent’s inherent right to instill personal values, beliefs and cultural practices is preserved.

Senate Bill 2749 / sponsored by Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Lowe, Massey, Stevens, White / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor

Improvements to Age Appropriate Materials Act / SB 1060

  • This law provides more clarity to the Age Appropriate Materials Act of 2022.
  • It adds that obscene materials must be kept from public school libraries.
  • Obscene materials include content that is sexually explicit or excessively violent.
  • The law adds to the existing Age Appropriate Materials Act which was passed in 2022. 

Senate Bill 1060 / sponsored by Hensley, Yager, Bailey, Bowling, Crowe, Niceley, Rose / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / signed by Governor

Increasing protections from bullying and cyberbullying / SB 1887

  • The Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation this year that classifies bullying and cyberbullying is a form of harassment.
  • This provision enables law enforcement officers to make a report of these incidents and, in the case of a minor, notify the parent or legal guardian.
  • The legislation helps protect students from bullying and cyberbullying and the escalation that can come from this type of harassment.

Senate Bill 1887 / sponsored Lowe, Massey / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Signed by Governor

Protecting religious beliefs of marriage officiants / SB 596

  • This legislation clarifies that any person has the option to chose to object to solemnizing marriages based on their personal or religious beliefs
  • Our new law bolsters TN’s fundamental principle that the government cannot compel someone to act against their beliefs
    • Is for ordained ministers, justices of the peace, or other authorized officiants

Senate Bill 596 / sponsored by Pody, Bowling, Hensley, Haile / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 511 

Other legislation passed to protect children includes:

  • Senate Bill 1810 requires schools to notify parents if their child asks for accommodations in school to affirm their gender identity.
  • Senate Bill 2782 creates a civil penalty for knowingly taking a minor across state lines without parental consent in order for the minor to receive a medical procedure prohibited in Tennessee.


Protecting children and family values 2021 - 2023

Prohibiting gender transition surgeries and irreversible hormone treatments for minors

  • Tennessee Republican lawmakers have been at the forefront of the fight to stop hormone treatments in children to change their gender identity. 
  • Tennessee led the nation when we took our first steps to ban hormone treatment for children in 2021.
  • Since then, we have expanded those efforts and now under current law, medical “transition” surgeries that remove body parts to enable the minor to identify as a gender different from their biological sex are banned. (Public Chapter 1, 2023)
  • Our law also bans administering hormones to minors to treat gender dysphoria.
  • The law ensures that doctors can still prescribe hormone treatment to minors for medically necessary purposes and makes exceptions for children born with chromosomal anomalies or congenital defects.

Protecting children from sexually explicit performances

  • Last year, we passed legislation that prohibits sexually explicit adult entertainment from being performed in front of children or where children could be present. (Public Chapter 2, 2023)
    • The law banned obscene performances from taking place in public parks or private venues that are non-age-restricted
  • Any establishment that chooses to have sexually explicit shows must require proof of age to enter to ensure patrons are 18 years or older.
  • A violation of this bill would result in a Class A misdemeanor and a second or subsequent offense would result in a Class E felony.

The Age-Appropriate Materials Act of 2022

  • The Age-Appropriate Materials Act of 2022 increased transparency and oversight of instructional materials and literature used in public schools. (Public Chapter 744)
  • It requires public schools to:
    • Post online a list of the materials in their libraries
    • Have a standardized review framework to ensure school library collections are periodically evaluated for age-appropriateness.
  • If a school should find a material is not age-appropriate based on student, parental or employee feedback, then the school would have to remove it.
  • In 2023, an additional step was added to the process of evaluating materials in school libraries by requiring complaints to first go to the local school district for resolution prior to going to the local board of education for review. (Public Chapter 472)
  • This year we continued to strengthen the law and
    • clarified that obscene materials must be kept from public school libraries (Senate Bill 1060)
    • Established that parents have standing to file civil action against their LEA to enforce the Age-Appropriate Materials Act (Senate Bill 1858)

Keeping inappropriate material out of public schools

  • In 2023, the General Assembly passed a law making it a Class E felony offense to knowingly sell or distribute obscene material to a public school. (Public Chapter 278, 2023)
  • In 2022, a law was passed that required the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission to issue guidance for LEAs and charter schools to use when reviewing materials in a library to ensure that the materials are appropriate for the age and maturity levels of the students who will access them. (Public Chapter 1137, 2022)

Blocking obscene materials on school computers

  • This law requires vendors to take steps to block inappropriate content on school computers. (Public Chapter 1002, 2022)
    • If failure to comply, then a LEA may withhold further payments to the provider and ultimately consider non-compliance a breach of contract. 

Protecting free speech in schools regarding use of “preferred” pronouns

  • This law prevents teachers and school districts from being held civilly liable if they refuse to use pronouns inconsistent with a student’s biological sex. (Public Chapter 448, 2023)
  • Furthermore, schools and school districts cannot bring disciplinary or adverse employment action against a teacher if they choose to use pronouns consistent with a student’s biological sex.

Ensuring fairness in girls’ sports

  • For many years, Tennessee Republican lawmakers have advanced efforts to protect girls’ and women’s sports by prohibiting biological males from competing in female sports.
  • Due to these legislative efforts, since 2023 biological males have been prohibited from competing in Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) girls sports at both public AND private schools. (Public Chapter 285, 2023)
    • Girls can compete in boys’ sports if there is no girls’ team at the school.
  • This work began in 2021, when legislation was approved to protect girls’ sports by ensuring students compete in athletic competitions that correspond with their sex at birth. (Public Chapter 40, 2021)
  • The next year, the General Assembly further clarified the law and passed legislation to prohibit biological males from participating in girls’ sports in public K-12 education institutions. (Public Chapter 909, 2022)
    • If a middle or high school failed to comply, a portion of state funds would be withheld
  • Also in 2022, a law was passed to prohibit biological males from competing in womens’ sports on the collegiate level. (Public Chapter 1005, 2022)

Biological sex clarified in law

  • In Tennessee code “sex” is defined as a person’s immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth and evidence of their biological sex.
    • According to the law, evidence of a person’s biological sex includes government-issued identification that accurately reflects a person’s sex listed on their original birth certificate. (Public Chapter 486, 2023)


Improving access to charter school facilities / SB 135

  • Legislation passed to ensure public charter school students have access to the same quality facilities as other public school students.
  • It aims to provide charters with improved access to underutilized and vacant buildings that school districts are not using.
  • The legislation requires school districts to regularly provide a list of vacant and underutilized properties and make them available to public charter schools at a fair market value.

Senate Bill 135 sponsored by Stevens , Bowling, White / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Passed House and Senate

ELA support services for fifth grade students / SB 2183

  • Each year, students take the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) and other diagnostic tests to determine if they are meeting grade level standards.
  • Under law previously passed, third grade students’ whose ELA scores did not meet grade-level standards could move on to fourth grade with special services, such as tutoring or summer school.
  • The previously passed law also required students who used an alternative pathway for fourth-grade promotion to demonstrate adequate growth on their fourth grade ELA TCAP or be retained in the fourth grade.
  • Senate Bill 2183 creates an alternative pathway through which these fourth-grade students facing retention may be promoted and ensures that students who are facing literacy challenges will continue to receive additional supports.
  • Under this new law, if a student does not show adequate growth on their fourth grade ELA TCAP, the parents, teacher, and principal – the individuals closest to the student – will consult to determine if the student should be held back or advance to the fifth grade with mandatory year-long tutoring through the Tennessee Accelerating Literacy and Learning Corps (TALLC).

Senate Bill 2183 / sponsored by White, Crowe, Pody, Hensley, Jackson, Lowe, Massey / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Passed House and Senate

Increasing credit for work-based learning / SB 1853

  • We passed legislation this session to promote work-based learning by increasing the number of available credit hours for high school work-based learning programs from three yearly credits to six.
  • The law also clarifies that to qualify for these credits, a weekly minimum of 15 hours on the worksite must be met.
  • This legislation will help equip students for the workforce while also earning more credits for their graduation requirements.

Senate Bill 1853 / sponsored by Lowe, Lundberg, Crowe, Yager / Effective Date: Upon becoming law (2024-2025 school year) / Public Chapter 543

Extended ACT WorkKeys Program / SB 1773

  • Lawmakers approved legislation to make the ACT WorkKeys Pilot Program permanent in order to provide students with more choices to identify career pathways.
  • It requires LEAs and public charter schools to provide each high school senior the opportunity to take nationally recognized career readiness assessments.

Senate Bill 1773 / sponsored by Lundberg, Walley / Effective date: upon becoming law / transmitted to governor

The Mathematics Support Act / SB 1712

  • This year, we passed legislation that creates a mathematics expert review committee to evaluate and report on the landscape of mathematics instruction.
  • The legislation also identifies professional development options available to improve instruction and student proficiency.
  • It requires the Department of Education must also approve at least one standards-aligned mathematics professional development course for K-8 teachers.
  • We are aiming to improve proficiency in math for Tennessee students and believe this law is a step in that direction.

Senate Bill 1712 / sponsored by Hensley, Jackson, Powers / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 551

Exploring  Algebra II Substitutes / SB 1947

  • A new law seeks to consider possible substitutes for the current Algebra II math requirement for high schoolers.
  • The measure directs the State Board of Education in collaboration with the Department of Education (DOE) and Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) to identify potential math course substitutes for algebra II substitutes
  • Currently only 10 states require algebra II as a graduation requirement.

Senate Bill 1947 / sponsored by Lundberg, Bowling / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 583

Expanding CTE class size / SB 2764

  • To help provide more students with access to career development, we passed a law that will increase class size for CTE courses.
  • Current class size maximums are 25 students.
  • This law allows Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to expand CTE class size in grades 6-8 to an average of 30 and a maximum of 35 students.

Senate Bill 2764 / sponsored by Bowling, Rose / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 712

Firearm safety education in public schools / SB 2923

  • Under a new measure, students will be provided with age and grade-appropriate instruction on firearm safety as part of the existing safety training currently offered in public schools.
  • The curriculum includes:
    • Safe storage information
    • How to identify a firearm
    • The safety risks associated with them
    • Notifying an adult if one is found.
  • The Department of Education and Department of Safety, in consultation with the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission, determines the earliest appropriate grade for students to begin receiving education related to firearm safety.
  • The instruction will continue through the 12th grade.

Senate Bill 2923 / sponsored by Bailey, Bowling, Jackson, Lowe, Walley / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Signed by Governor  

In support of Education Freedom Scholarships

General Information

  • Education Freedom Scholarships are an important piece of the education reform puzzle.
  • These scholarships put power in the hands of parents to choose the best education for their child, regardless of their income or zip code.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all in education. Each child learns differently. School choice allows parents to choose an education best suited to their child.
  • Some areas of the state have great public schools and few private schools. School choice won’t have much impact in those areas.

The Senate Education Freedom Scholarships legislation proposed:

  • 20,000 Education Freedom Scholarships (EFS) for eligible families to choose alternative educational options outside of the public school they are zoned for
  • Universal eligibility for the 2nd year of implementation
  • Directs $7,075 from the TISA funding formula to the Education Freedom Scholarships
  • Out-of-district enrollment to allow parents to send their children to any public school of their choice, based on availability
  • Testing accountability with 3rd grade English Language Arts exam and 8th grade math exam

Committed to public education

  • We can support both school choice and public education – and we have.
  • These scholarships will not take money from the public schools. In the governor’s plan, the scholarships are completely separate appropriations. Other plans have money following the student. Either way, no school will lose money under the scholarship plan.
  • Our state has demonstrated its commitment to public education time and time again. Over the last decade, the state has invested more than $3.35 billion in public education. Including the largest pay increase for teachers in history in 2023 with the goal of making 50K the minimum starting salary for a teacher by 2026.
  • Just this year, the budget adds $261 million to the TISA education funding formula. And includes $125 million to keep the state’s commitment to raise the starting salary for every Tennessee teacher to $50,000 by 2026.

Committed to Public Education


Supporting Tennessee Public Schools and Tennessee Students

  • Over the last decade, the state has invested more than $3.5 billion in public education. More recently, Tennessee has made historic investments in public education totaling over $2 billion since 2018. This includes:
    • $1 billion - the single largest investment in education - to modernize the way we fund public schools for the first time in 30 years
    • Over $500 million to increase teacher pay and compensation
      • Including the largest pay increase for teachers in state history made in 2023 with the goal of making $50,000 the minimum starting salary for all teachers by 2026.
    • $500 million to bring Innovative School Models to every public high school and middle school in the state to boost opportunities for career readiness and student success.
    • $140 million to put a School Resource Officer in every public school
    • $40 million for public school security upgrades

Modernized school funding formula for the first time in 30 years

  • In 2022, Tennessee overhauled the state’s public K-12 education funding formula, replacing the outdated Basic Education Program (BEP) for the first time in 30 years. The state’s new student-based funding formula, the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) invests an additional $1 billion in public education. TISA
    • increases opportunities for students
    • accounts for unique needs and other demographics
    • provides transparency and increased accountability from all sides

Focused on improving early literacy

  • Tennessee students have made historic gains in early literacy rates as a direct result of increased literacy support and instruction.
  • Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Assembly has doubled down on efforts to improve early literacy rates and make up for learning losses.
  • In 2021, the General Assembly and Gov. Lee held a special session to pass legislation focused on improving literacy rates through strategic and long-term investments, including:
    • The Tennessee Literacy Success Act - it developed guidelines and pathways for struggling students to advance to 4th grade with additional support
    • Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act - it established tutoring, after-school programs and summer learning loss bridge camps focused on foundational reading skills and improving literacy rates.
  • These investments have led to historic gains, with 40% of 3rd grade students demonstrating proficiency in ELA in 2023, the largest single year increase and the highest 3rd grade ELA proficiency rates since 2017.
  • While there is still much more work to be done to improve early literacy rates in Tennessee, these results show we are headed in the right direction.

Higher Education 

Policies for AI in higher education / SB 1711

  • We passed legislation this session requiring K-12 public schools to adopt policies regarding AI.
  • This law aims to prevent the use of AI in schools and encourage independent thinking from students and address the current and future disruptions of AI in the classroom.

Senate Bill 1711 / sponsored by Hensley, Crow / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 550 

Supreme Court Affirmative Action Ruling / SB 2822

  • A new law ensures that higher education institutions are complying with the Supreme Court’s decision to prohibit affirmative action admission practices.
  • The law states that any audit of a higher education institution by the Tennessee Comptroller must ensure no Tennessee higher education institutions are using race as an admissions factor.
  • This law is in response to the Supreme Court of the United States reversing the discriminatory practice of affirmative action, which allowed race to be used as a deciding factor in admission to a university.

Senate Bill 2822 / sponsored by Crowe, Bowling, Hensley, Rose / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Senate passed 3/18/24 

Additional protections against divisive concepts advances / SB 2501

  • A new law requires public colleges and universities to investigate alleged violations of the state’s divisive concepts law and report the findings within 10 days.
    • The divisive concepts law, passed in 2022, stipulates that students or employees at public higher education institutions cannot be penalized, discriminated against, or adversely treated due to the student’s or employee’s refusal to endorse divisive concepts.
  • State lawmakers must also be notified if an institution receives more than 10 reports of violations during a single academic year.

Senate Bill 2501 / sponsored by Hensley, Crowe, Niceley / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor

Election Integrity

Protecting against voter fraud by illegal immigrants / SB 137

  • A new law requires the coordinator of elections to compare the statewide voter registration database with the Department of Safety’s database to verify illegal aliens are not registered to vote.

Senate Bill 137 / sponsored by Hensley, Yager, Crowe, Massey, Niceley, Stevens / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor

Election integrity for administrator of elections / SB 1768

  • This year, legislation passed that would require an administrator of elections to temporarily step down from their position if a family member qualifies as a candidate for public office.
    • The administrator would have to step down at least 30 days prior to the election.
  • This law will help maintain election integrity and ensure all measures are taken in Tennessee for an accurate election.

Senate Bill 1768 / sponsored by Lundberg, Yarbro / Effective Date: Upon becoming law  / Public Chapter 579

Integrity of mail-in ballots / SB 1967

  • We passed legislation this session that requires absentee ballots to be picked up further in advance of election day.
  • The law shortens the deadline to request an absentee ballot from 7 to 10 days before an election.
  • In Tennessee, all absentee ballots must be returned by mail.
  • The three additional days are largely needed as a result of service standard changes made to the USPS in October 2021 that resulted in 1-2 day delivery delays for first class mail.

Senate Bill 1967 / sponsored by Briggs, Hensley, Jackson, Yager / Effective Date: November 6, 2024 / Public Chapter 560

Print Disability Absentee Voting Act / SB 2118

  • This law directs the coordinator of elections to make absentee ballots accessible to voters who are blind and those with other print disabilities.
    • Print disability is defined as a disability that interferes with a person’s ability to read, write, or use printed materials.
  • The law will help those with print disabilities be able to vote in private and keep their vote confidential.

Senate Bill 2118 / sponsored by Massey, Yager, Yarbro / Effective Date: August 2, 2024 / Public Chapter 689

Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act / SB 1723

  • This year we passed the Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act that will require each elector or alternate to vote for the candidate they represent.
  • This legislation clarifies that in cases where the person refuses to do so, they will be replaced.

Senate Bill 1723 / sponsored by Lowe / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / signed by Governor

School Safety

Allowing highly-trained school staff option to carry a concealed firearm / SB 1325

  • A new law provides a path for authorized school staff with specialty training to carry a concealed weapon on campus if certain strict requirements are met.
  • In order to carry a concealed weapon at school, the school staff person must:
    • Be approved by the principal, the director of schools, and the Chief of police
    • Work alongside law enforcement to complete at least 40 hours of POST-certified, hands-on training specific to school policing every year
    • Pass a psychological evaluation and background check
    • Possess a valid Tennessee handgun carry permit
    • Be employed full-time
  • Despite available funding for an SRO in every Tennessee school, over 500 schools in Tennessee do not have an SRO due to a shortage of law enforcement officers.
  • This leaves schools vulnerable to deadly attacks, particularly in rural communities where it might take law enforcement 15 to 30 minutes to respond to an active shooter.
  • The law is permissive, meaning it is up to each school to determine if it wants to allow faculty or staff to carry a weapon.
    • Many districts will choose not to participate.
    • The measure is aimed at providing a pathway for rural schools to have qualified staff on campus prepared to defend the school if necessary.

Senate Bill 1325 / sponsored by Bailey, Hensley, Stevens / Effective date: upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor 

School Resource Officers

Other legislation passed to increase schools with SROs:

  • Senate Bill 1715 - allows local law enforcement agencies to assign a law enforcement officer to serve as the SRO to a school that does not have an SRO.
  • Senate Bill 2901 - allows a retired law enforcement officer to be reemployed as a full-time SRO at a Tennessee public school without loss or suspension of the officer’s retirement benefits.

New fire alarm protocols for improved school safety / SB 1679

  • To help ensure the safety and protection of children, we passed legislation that requires schools to determine the cause or reason for a fire alarm before allowing children to leave a classroom.
  • This law is in response to the tragic events that happened at the Covenant school on March 27, 2023.
    • On that tragic day, smoke from the shooter’s weapon triggered the school’s fire alarm.
    • Unaware of the active shooter and in response to the alarm, one of the six victims, William Kinney, 9, was leading his third-grade classmates to safety as line leader when he was fatally shot by a former student of the school.

Senate Bill 1679 / sponsored by Haile, White, Akbari, Bowling, Campbell, Jackson, Kyle, Lowe, Massey, Walley / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 563

Other legislation passed to improve school safety:

  • Removing violent kids from schools - Senate Bill 2682  requires kids who assault a teacher to be suspended for at least one calendar year.
  • Increasing school bus safety measures - Senate Bill 168 requires school districts to display a notice on every school bus stating that unauthorized individuals are not allowed to enter the bus. (Public Chapter 548)
  • Ensuring students can protect themselves on college campuses - Senate Bill 1868 clarifies that it is not a crime for adults to carry certain non-lethal weapons, such as pepper spray or an electronic control device, on public college campuses.

Protecting Victims

Marsy’s Law - Victims’ Rights - HJR 94

  • Tennessee crime victims are not given the same amount of protection as convicted criminals. Marsy’s Law will ensure that victims have equal access to justice.
  • This proposed constitutional amendment seeks to establish clear and enforceable constitutional rights for victims of crime, including the rights to be:
    • Heard
    • Informed, and
    • Treated with fairness, dignity, and respect through the judicial process.
  • Named after Marsalee Nicholas, it is part of a nationwide effort to support crime victims and prevent further trauma.
  • Marsalee Nicholas’s family ran into the man who murdered Marsy a week after her death at the grocery store on the way back from her funeral.
  • Marsy’s murderer was her ex-boyfriend, who stalked and killed her while she was a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1983.
  • Her family was not notified that he was released on bail.
  • Marsy’s Law seeks to ensure devastating and traumatic experiences like this never happen to victims in Tennessee.
  • This constitutional amendment passed its first of two required passages by the General Assembly.
  • How Constitutional amendments work
    • In order to ratify the constitution, a constitutional amendment must pass the general assembly twice. The first time it must pass with a simple majority voting in favor. The second time it must pass the next General Assembly by a two-thirds majority.
    • Finally, the amendment would become part of the state constitution if the number of yes votes are equal to a majority of the total votes in the following gubernatorial election.

House Joint Resolution 94 / sponsored by Stevens, Lundberg, Hensley, McNally, Taylor, Jackson, Johnson, Massey, Walley / transmitted to Governor

Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act / SB 1972

  • To protect victims of domestic violence, we passed legislation that requires certain aggravated domestic violence suspects to wear GPS monitors if they are released on bond.
  • A GPS service provider will notify a victim’s cell phone if their alleged attacker is within a certain proximity of their location.
  • The company requires local law enforcement to be notified when a violation of a defendant’s bond conditions occurred.
  • The law is in honor of Debbie Sisco and Marie Varsos.
  • Both women were killed in 2021 by Varsos’ estranged husband Shaun who was out on bond for strangling his wife and threatening to shoot her a month earlier.
  • There were 61,637 victims of domestic violence statewide in 2022, according to the most recent data from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. 

Senate Bill 1972 / sponsored by Rose / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor 

Lifetime orders of protection / SB 1699

  • We passed legislation this year expanding eligibility for lifetime orders of protections to include victims of harassment, aggravated stalking and especially aggravated stalking.
  • In 2021, the General Assembly passed legislation that allowed victims of violent crime to petition a court for a lifetime order of protection.
  • This legislation is an extension of that law and prohibits offenders convicted of these offenses from communicating with their victims for life.

Senate Bill 1699 / sponsored by Rose, Akbari, Bowling, Hensley, Walley, White / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 632 

Maintaining restraining orders in court process / SB 1905

  • It is important to us to protect all victims from their perpetrators.
  • One measure we passed this session will ensure that restraining orders stay in place leading up to and during court proceedings.
  • This law keeps a protective order in effect during the appeal to circuit or chancery court unless otherwise ordered by the general sessions judge or official.

Senate Bill 1905 / sponsored by Jackson, Stevens, Massey, Rose, Walley, Yarbro / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Signed by Gov.

Expungement for human trafficking victims / SB 181

  • We passed legislation that aims to protect victims of human trafficking with HIV whose records have been tainted by a conviction of aggravated prostitution.
  • This legislation would allow these victims to expunge the aggravated prostitution conviction from their record.
  • Additionally, the bill removes the requirement for those convicted of aggravated prostitution to be placed on the Sex Offender Registry.
  • It also provides a path for the victim’s name to be removed from the SOR list.
    • Being on the Sex Offender Registry makes it really hard for victims to access jobs, housing and certain rehabilitation programs.
  • The new law gives victims the chance to take back their lives and allows them the chance for rehabilitation.

Senate Bill 181 / sponsored by Walley, Jackson, Massey, Yarbro, Akbari, Bowling, Campbell, Lamar / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 545

Adoption / Foster Care / Children’s Services

Helping relative caregivers with children in their custody / SB 2071

  • We passed legislation this year that removes the income limit for the Relative Caregiver Program, which provides stipends to those who meet a certain income threshold to care for children in their family.
  • Since the program’s inception in 2022, many interested families have not qualified for the stipend because they are over the income limit.
  • This law allows eligibility for all families.
  • It also streamlines the court process for a family member to become eligible for the stipend by allowing eligibility for relative caregivers awarded custody by a court.
    • Previously, a final custody order from Juvenile Court was required to receive the stipend, which was a burdensome and lengthy process.

Senate Bill 2071 / sponsored by Johnson, White, Yager / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 574 

Removing vaccine requirements for adoptive and foster families / SB 2359

  • We passed a law that ensures families in Tennessee have the right to adopt or foster children without being subjected to mandates regarding specific vaccinations
  • This law prohibits the Department of Children’s Services from discriminating against families based on their immunization status.
    • This removes a barrier that unfairly disqualifies families from providing loving homes to children in state care.
  • By removing vaccine requirements for adoptive and foster families, the bill aims to increase the number of eligible families, ultimately providing more children with the opportunity to find safe and supportive homes in Tennessee.

Senate Bill 2359 / sponsored by Watson, Niceley, Hensley, Bowling, Haile, Johnson, Pody, Powers, Reeves, Stevens, Yager / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 699

Foster and Adoptive Parent Protection Act / SB 1738

  • This prevents DCS from denying eligibility to foster or adopt because of religious and moral beliefs.
  • The new protections prohibit the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) from requiring foster parents to adopt, affirm, or support any government policy.
  • It also maintains that a child’s best interest is the priority during placement.
  • It aims to protect religious freedom for existing and prospective foster and adoptive parents in Tennessee and ensures that the number of foster care homes in Tennessee continues to grow.

Senate Bill 1738 / sponsored by Rose, Bowling, Haile, Stevens / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 677 

Removing barriers for state employees to become foster parents / SB 1941

  • Under this new law, state employees will be granted paid time off to complete the required training to become a foster parent.
  • This law will help increase the number of foster homes in Tennessee.
  • It is estimated that around 200 state employees will become foster parents at some point.

Senate Bill 1941 / sponsored by Haile, Kyle / takes effect upon becoming law / Public Chapter 642 

Permanent Safe Baby Courts / SB 1585

  • We passed a law this session to permanently integrate the safe baby court initiative into our state.
  • Safe Baby Courts focus on rehabilitating parents with substance abuse disorders for family reunification.
  • Tennessee has expanded Safe Baby Courts from 5 to 13 since 2017.
  • 1,006 children have been served through infant courts, with over 50% returning to biological parents.
  • Only two children returned to state custody within six months out of these 1,600.
  • Safe Baby Courts also achieve permanency for children around 94 days sooner than traditional cases.
  • This benefits the children by providing a stable and nurturing environment but also aids in repairing families that have been affected by addiction.

Senate Bill 1585 / sponsored by Haile / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 638

Protecting Children and Educating Parents / SB 613

  • A new law builds on Tennessee’s efforts to protect children and keep families intact by rehabilitating parents when possible.
  • A new law passed this year allows courts to add trauma-informed education as a requirement of a parenting plan when children have been removed from their homes in cases of dependency or neglect.

Senate Bill 613 / sponsored by Haile, Massey, Walley / Effective Date: Upon Becoming law / Public Chapter 591

Grandparent relationships / SB 2840

  • We passed a law that allows judges to grant required visitation for grandparents if it is in the best interest of the child.
  • This will help keep and maintain meaningful relationships with children and grandparents.

Senate Bill 2840 / sponsored by Jackson / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 715

Crimes Against Children / Child and Domestic Abuse

Death penalty for child rapists / SB 1834

  • A new law increases the penalty for rape or aggravated rape of a child to death, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison.
  • Previous law classified the offense as a Class A felony punishable as either a Range III offense, which carries a sentence of 40-60 years in prison or a Range II offense of 25-40 years in prison.
  • Child rape is one of the worst crimes imaginable, and there are times life imprisonment for the rapist does not go far enough.
  • This legislation gives courts the ability to go after the most severe offenders of child rape with the most severe punishment: the death penalty.

Senate Bill 1834 / sponsored by Johnson, Yager, Haile, Bowling, Stevens / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor

Protecting children from continuous sexual abuse/ SB 287

  • This law adds continuous sexual abuse of a child to the list of offenses that require community supervision for life.
  • A person convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child must serve the entirety of their sentence, which averages 24 years. 

Senate Bill 287 / sponsored by Haile, Jackson, Massey, Stevens, Rose / July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 525 

Updating Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program / SB 1775

  • We passed legislation this year to protect victims of abuse by updating Tennessee’s Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program.
  • The change allows victims of human trafficking, domestic abuse, stalking, and other sexual crimes who participate in the Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program to reside at addresses not previously identified in any public records.
  • Tennessee’s Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program provides protections for victims of domestic abuse and other sexual crimes.
    • It provides participants with a ‘substitute’ address that can be used by them and their children as their official mailing address for all state and local government purposes, including public school enrollment.
    • The program is administered by the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office

Senate Bill 1775 / sponsored by Swann / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 620

Expanding child endangerment offenses / SB 1587

  • Under a new law, parents and guardians are subject to a Class A misdemeanor offense for knowingly leaving a child in the care or supervision of a person who is a registered sex offender.

Senate Bill 1587 / sponsored by Haile / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor

Protecting children from abusers / SB 2070

  • This year, we passed legislation that ensure a child cannot be in a home where there is a history of child abuse.
  • The law holds caregivers, parents or guardians accountable to protect the child from abuse by other individuals in the home.
  • Tennessee strives to protect children and this legislation is just one measure at ensuring children are not in unsafe homes.

Senate Bill 2070 / sponsored by Johnson, Taylor, Haile, Rose, Walley / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 613

Prioritizing safety of children in custody cases / SB 2627

  • This year, we passed legislation that will guarantee judges are equipped to handle custody proceedings involving child abuse.
  • It also requires the courts to consider evidence of abuse of the sibling in custody cases.
  • This legislation helps ensure that child custody cases are handled with the most care and protection as possible, especially during difficult times for children at home.

Senate Bill 2627 / sponsored by Massey, Campbell, Reeves, Lundberg, Akbari, Kyle, Haile, Jackson, Walley / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Signed by Governor

Cracking down on child pornography / SB 2668

  • To ensure our laws against child pornography apply to AI-generated images too, we passed legislation that adds that AI-generated images are punishable under the state’s laws dealing with sexual exploitation of children.
    • Advances in technology have made it easier for perpetrators to create and distribute realistic-looking images and videos of minors, blurring the lines between real and fake content. 

Senate Bill 2668 / sponsored by White , Bowling, Lowe, Rose, Stevens / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor

Protecting Life

Baby Olivia Act / SB 2767

  • This year we passed a law that informs students in family life courses about the biological process of human fetal development from conception to birth.
  • Under the new law, family life curriculum must include a 3-minute video of a high-definition ultrasound or computer-generated animation depicting the growth of vital organs such as the brain and heart in early fetal development.
  • Family life courses already require parental consent for students to participate.

Senate Bill 2767 / sponsored by Bowling / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Signed by Governor

Penalties for abortion trafficking / SB 1971

  • We passed a law that made abortion trafficking of a minor a Class A misdemeanor.
  • The law protects parental rights and stops adults who attempt to circumvent the state’s current abortion law by helping to facilitate an abortion for a minor without parental consent.
  • In 2019, Republicans in the General Assembly laid the groundwork to ensure life is protected at conception in Tennessee should the U.S. Supreme Court ever reverse its decision to legalize abortion.
  • The General Assembly passed the Human Life Protection Act of 2019, a conditional trigger law written to go into effect 30 days following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade.
  • When the high court overturned its 1973 decision on June 24, 2022, the Human Life Protection Act became law and automatically prohibited all elective abortions in Tennessee.

Senate Bill 1971 / sponsored by Rose, Haile, Pody / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor


CON reform to increase health care access, lower costs / SB 2009

  • A new law gradually phases out the Certificate of Need (CON) permit requirements needed to provide nearly a dozen various health care services in the state during the next five years.
  • The Tennessee Health Facilities Commission currently regulates the healthcare industry statewide through the CON program.
  • That process requires a permit to be issued for the establishment or modification of a health care institution, facility or service at a designated location.
  • The timeline for removal of CON permit requirements is as follows:
    • July 1, 2025: Freestanding emergency departments not located within 10 miles of a competing acute care hospital or other freestanding emergency department would no longer need a CON. Additionally, any county without an actively licensed acute care hospital would also not require a CON for any services except rehabilitation hospitals, home health agencies, hospice, methadone clinics and nursing homes.
    • 1, 2025: Intellectual disability institutional habilitation facilities, burn units, neonatal intensive care units, magnetic resonance imaging services and positron emission tomography
    • 1, 2027: Ambulatory surgical treatment centers, linear accelerator procedures and long-term care hospitals
    • 1, 2029: Open heart surgery
  • The law requires rehabilitation hospitals, home health agencies, hospices, methadone clinics, and nursing homes to continue operating under CON in all 95 counties.
  • Cardiac catheterization services, outpatient diagnostic clinics, acute care hospitals, and organ transplants will remain under CON in counties that currently have a licensed acute care hospital.

Senate Bill 2009 / sponsored by Reeves, Jackson / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor

TennCare for Working Individuals with Disabilities Act / SB 2791

  • A new law establishes a buy-in program so that individuals with disabilities can continue gainfully working without losing their health insurance coverage through TennCare.
  • The law allows enrollees to pay a monthly premium of 5% of their income to receive the care and benefits needed, allowing the individual to still work gainfully.
  • Previous Tenncare policy strictly limits eligibility for supports and services based on income.
  • These restrictions limited the types of work individuals with disabilities could do without losing health coverage.

Senate Bill 2791 / sponsored by Watson, Stevens, Massey, Yager, Jackson, Walley, Haile, White / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted by Governor 

Making Telehealth More Accessible / SB 1881

  • A new law eliminates the requirements of recurring in-person doctor visits for telehealth patients.
  • Under previous law, provider based telemedicine patients had to establish an in person relationship with their provider prior to meeting virtually.
  • They also had to meet in person every 16 months.
  • This law also gives providers the discretion as to whether patients are required to meet first in person or thereafter.

Senate Bill 1881 / sponsored by Massey, Bowling, Yager / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted by Governor 

Increasing compensation for residential care providers / SB 2036

  • This new law provides compensation through TennCare for in-home caretakers who already reside with the patients they care for.
  • This aims to bridge the gap between worker shortages and the existing demand for caregiving services.
  • It will help the individuals in Tennessee who currently offer informal caregiving to loved ones or acquaintances but may be unable to commit to full-time care due to financial constraints.

Senate Bill 2036 / sponsored by Briggs, Akbari, Campbell, Massey, Yarbro, Yager / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 621 

Duty to Warn Act / SB 1673

  • The Duty to Warn Act increases protections for those targeted by threats of violence.
  • It clarifies that mental health professionals and behavior analysts in Tennessee must inform local law enforcement if a patient makes an imminent threat to harm a specific individual or clearly identified group.
  • Threats that are more general in nature must be reported to either the 988 Lifeline or a local crisis response service.
  • The legislation also includes protections from civil, criminal and disciplinary penalties for mental health professionals and behavior analysts who make reasonable attempts to comply with the law.

Senate Bill 1673 / sponsored by Massey, Jackson, Stevens, Walley, Yarbro / Signed by Governor 

Emergency admittance for mental health patients / SB 2734

  • We passed a law this year that improves protections for individuals with mental health concerns and their families.
  • The law will allow patients to be admitted to a treatment facility when they or people around them are in "imminent" risk
  • Under previous law, individuals had to be in an "immediate" risk of harm to be admitted to a treatment facility in emergency situations.
    • This higher requirement often resulted in intervention occurring too late to prevent potential harm.
  • The legislation seeks to facilitate earlier intervention, enabling proactive measures to be taken to safeguard individuals and their communities.

Senate Bill 2734 / sponsored by Jackson, McNally, Stevens / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 725 

Cassie Wright Act / SB 2482

  • A new law clarifies that parents have the right to access their minor's prescription records even if given without the parent's consent.
  • It also clarifies that a physician’s duty to report includes reporting to a minor’s parent if there is an apparent ability and likelihood to commit suicide.
  • Individuals 16 years old or older do not have to obtain parental consent for prescriptions, and previously, physicians were not required to provide information to parents about medications prescribed for their child.
  • The legislation is named after Cassie Wright, a girl who tragically took her own life after receiving a mental health diagnosis unknown to her mother.

Senate Bill 2482 / sponsored by Rose, Crowe, Hensley, Niceley, Pody / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Signed by Governor 

More accessible hospital records for families / SB 1779

  • We passed a law that will grant families the right to obtain their loved ones medical records from a hospital or other licensed health care facility in the state without the need for legal intervention.
    • This law is specifically applicable in cases where there is no authorized representative after the death of a family member.
  • Previous Tennessee law mandates that hospital records of deceased patients can only be accessed by their authorized representative appointed by a court.
  • The legislation acknowledges the importance of familial relationships and the need for compassionate access to healthcare information after the passing of a loved one.

Senate Bill 1779 / sponsored by Swan / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Signed by Governor 

Healthcare Sharing Ministries / SB 862

  • The Freedom to Share Act ensures that healthcare sharing ministries are only regulated as a tax-exempt, nonprofit and not as an insurance company.
  • Non-profit healthcare sharing ministries allow participants who share religious beliefs to pool financial resources of members and cover the costs of participants' medical needs.
  • They can complement or be an alternative to traditional health insurance.
  • These ministries help individuals without the ability to pay out-of-pocket costs for medical care.
  • It is important these ministries do not face unnecessary or burdensome insurance regulations.

Senate Bill 862 / sponsored by reeves, Bowling, Hensley, Jackson, Pody, Stevens / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 526 

Healthcare Provider Advertising Law / SB 1720

  • We passed the Healthcare Provider Advertising Law this year which tightens regulations regarding healthcare practitioner’s advertisements.
  • The law requires these advertisements to prominently state the profession or license held by the practitioner.
  • The law also prohibits an advertisement from portraying any deceptive or misleading information.
  • Previous law only required providers to wear identification badges within their offices so that patients are informed of their provider’s information and credentials.
  • This legislation helps ensure patients and prospective patience to not be deceived by false advertisement.

Senate Bill 1720 / sponsored by Hensley / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted to Gov. 

Access to maternity care / SB 1674

  • This law ensures that pregnant women can receive essential prenatal care without having to travel long distances.
  • It also allows TennCare to reimburse patients for remote ultrasound and fetal nonstress tests conducted in residences and off-site locations.
  • By enabling remote testing options, pregnant women can undergo necessary check ups without the inconvenience and expense of traveling to healthcare facilities, especially if they live in rural or underserved areas where access to such services may be limited.

Senate Bill 1674 / sponsored by Massey, Jackson, Yarbro / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 674 

Newborn screenings for rare genetic disorders / SB 1791

  • We passed legislation this session ensuring new diseases are reported from the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP) within three years for newborn screenings.
  • The Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP) is a list of conditions that should be tested for during the newborn screening.
  • Oftentimes, it takes years for new diseases to be added to this list.
  • This legislation ensures a quicker timeline for reporting these rare genetic disorders and diseases. 

Senate Bill 1791 / sponsored by Massey, Yarbro / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Signed by Governor 

Increasing medication aides responsibilities / SB 1993

  • To help streamline medication administration and assist nurses, we passed a law that give medication aides more responsibilities
  • Under the new law, medication aides will now be able to administer oral and topical medications.
  • It removes the requirement that a nursing assessment be completed by a licensed nurse prior to the administration of the medications.
  • Expanding the abilities of medication aides helps ensure that patients receive the care they need promptly.

Senate Bill 1993 / sponsored by Massey / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Signed by Governor 

Smart Heart Act / SB 2175

  • Tennessee athletes and coaches need to be informed of health and safety problems that could occur during cardiovascular activity
  • The Smart Heart Act expands upon current law and requires high schools to provide automated external defibrillators (AED) accessible to students during school hours and within 1,000 feet of any athletic student activity
  • This new law will help keep more students safe and all students and coaches informed
  • Current law only requires coaches and athletes to be educated on cardiac arrest symptoms

Senate Bill 2175 / sponsored by Hensley, Haile, Akbari, Campbell, Crowe, Lamar, Reeves, Watson / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 625

Substance Abuse

Ben Kredich Act / SB 2116

  • Under new law, first responders who administer an opioid antagonist such as Narcan to an individual experiencing a drug overdose may provide information on the risk of driving within a 24-hour period.
  • The legislation is named after Ben Kredich who tragically lost his life after being struck by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel after being administered Narcan in a hospital earlier that day.
  • The driver was unaware that the drugs causing the overdose would remain in his system for at least 24 hours, even after the Narcan was administered.
  • The law aims to clarify that patients who have been treated for a drug overdose with Narcan could still be impaired and charged with driving under the influence, as drugs would still be present in their system.

Senate Bill 2116 / sponsored by Massey, Jackson, Rose, Yager, White / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 /Transmitted to Governor

Preventing DUI homicide recidivism / SB 1583

  • Ledford’s Law was passed this year to reduce the chances that offenders in DUI homicide cases will reoffend and jeopardize the lives of others on the road.
  • The law is named after Dustin Ledford who was killed by an intoxicated driver in 2011.
    • The offender was paroled and subsequently reoffended, almost taking another life.
  • Under the new law, offenders on parole are now required to undergo substance abuse treatment or behavioral counseling.

Senate Bill 1583 / sponsored by Lowe / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 671 

Preventing opioid overdoses / SB 2141

  • A new law ensures that students at school or a school-sanctioned event cannot be punished for possessing naloxone.
  • Naloxone is an over-the-counter drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose, but it must be used quickly.
  • Teenagers aged 14-19 are the fastest growing category of overdose victims, leaving some students feeling the need to carry naloxone to have it available in the event of needing to save a life.

Senate Bill 2141 / sponsored by Reeves, Campbell / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 629

TennCare Equal coverage for non-opioid medications / SB 2011

  • This year we passed legislation ensuring that individuals have equal access to non-opioid pain medications for effective pain treatment and management.
  • The legislation makes sure that non-opioid, FDA approved drugs for pain are not at a disadvantage compared to opioid or narcotic drugs in terms of coverage for pain treatment or management on the Prescription Drug List (PDL).
  • Equal coverage for non-opioid pain medications facilitates access to a broader range of treatment options for individuals experiencing pain.
  • The legislation also encourages the use of non-opioid pain medications as safer alternatives to opioids for pain management.

Senate Bill 2011 / sponsored by Reeves, Bowling, Jackson / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Signed by Governor

Medication-assisted treatment / SB 2019

  • New legislation increases the number of patients a mid-level physician can treat with Buprenorphine from 50 to 100 patients
  • Buprenorphine is used in medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.

Senate Bill 2019 / sponsored by Reeves, Yarbro, Campbell, Pody, Walley / Effective date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Gov.

Jobs / Commerce / Tax Cuts

Simplifying franchise tax and return money to taxpayers / SB 2103

  • This year, lawmakers cut taxes by simplifying the state’s franchise tax – a business tax on net worth.
  • This adjustment will offer relief to taxpayers, modernize the way the tax is calculated and manage newly discovered legal risks.
  • It removes the property measure of the franchise tax and authorizes the Department of Revenue to issue refunds to taxpayers who have paid the franchise tax based on property located in the state.
  • Previously, the franchise tax was an alternative minimum tax on property used in Tennessee.
  • This measure disincentivized investment in the state and created additional legal challenges.
  • Tennessee’s new franchise tax matches surrounding states.

Senate Bill 2103 / sponsored by Johnson, Yager, Jackson, Stevens, Taylor / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / passed S. and H. 

Prohibiting a state property tax / HJR 81

  • A resolution passed seeking to change Tennessee’s Constitution to ensure a state property tax can never be implemented by a future General Assembly.
  • Tennessee has not had a state property tax since 1949.
  • This constitutional amendment would protect Tennessee taxpayers by entirely eliminating the option for a state property tax to ever be imposed on Tennesseans again.
  • This constitutional amendment has passed its first of two required passages by the General Assembly.
  • How Constitutional amendments work
    • In order to ratify the constitution, a constitutional amendment must pass the general assembly twice. The first time it must pass with a simple majority voting in favor. The second time it must pass the next General Assembly by a two-thirds majority.
    • Finally, the amendment would become part of the state constitution if the number of yes votes are equal to a majority of the total votes in the following gubernatorial election.

House Joint Resolution 81 / sponsored by Niceley, Haile, Lowe, Bowling, Pody, Rose, Taylor, Walley, Hensley, Bailey, Crowe, Johnson, Reeves, Sutherland, Stevens, White 

Tennessee addresses AI Impact on music industry / SB 2096

  • This year, Tennessee led the nation in addressing the impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) has had on the music industry.
  • The Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act protects music artists' voices from the misuse of AI.
  • The new law updates Tennessee’s Protection of Personal Rights law to include protections for songwriters, performers, and music industry professionals’ voices.
  • Our music industry supports more than 61,617 jobs across the state, contributes $5.8 billion to the state’s GDP, and fills over 4,500 music venues.
  • Tennessee’s previous law protected name, image and likeness, but not new, personalized generative AI cloning models and services that enable human impersonation.
  • While the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence is exciting in many ways it also presents new challenges -- especially for singers, songwriters and other music professionals.
  • It is crucial our laws protect music artists from AI-generated synthetic media which threatens their unique voices and creative content.

Senate Bill 2096 / sponsored by Johnson, Crowe, Campbell, Akbari, Bailey, Bowling, Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Reeves, Rose, Stevens, Walley, Yarbro / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 588 

Leveling the playing field for college athletes to maximize NIL value / SB 709

  • A new law updates the state’s current Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) law to provide more opportunities for student-athletes to maximize their value.
  • It protects the ability of current and prospective athletes to assess their NIL value freely by performing “diligence.”
    • This means that in the recruitment process, a prospective athlete can better explore their NIL value at different institutions prior to committing, allowing them to make more informed decisions about their financial future.

Senate Bill 709 / sponsored by Stevens, Reeves / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor

Supporting Tennessee’s music industry / SB 2508

  • We passed a law this year that creates the Live Music and Performance Venue Fund to provide grants for live music performances, venues, performers and promoters.

Senate Bill 2508 / sponsored by Johnson, Yarbro, Campbell, Akbari, Crowe, Lowe, Oliver, Stevens / Effective Date:  July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor

Restricting vehicle booting /  SB 1692

  • A new law prohibits unlicensed individuals from booting vehicles in Tennessee and caps the fee to remove a boot at $75.
  • This law ensures vehicles are not unfairly immobilized by overzealous parking attendants.
  • It generally prohibits booting vehicles in Tennessee, with exceptions for individuals licensed through a local government.
  • Local governments that choose to allow booting must be responsible for licensing and enforcement compliant with minimum standards set in the law.
  • It also ensures that vehicle owners are properly notified if their vehicle is being towed, sold or demolished by a towing company.

Senate Bill 1692 / sponsored by Johnson, Rose, Stevens, Walley / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor

Protecting Tennesseans from debanking / SB 2148

  • Debanking for political and religious reasons has been on the rise and a new law passed this year addresses and prevents discriminatory banking practices.
  • Under the legislation, financial institutions and insurers are prohibited from denying or canceling services to individuals due to political opinions, religious beliefs, social credit scores, and other factors.
  • No individual should face the loss of banking services or access to their accounts due to their values or beliefs.
  • The legislation makes debanking by financial institutions with over $100 billion in assets an unfair or deceptive practice under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977, carrying Class B misdemeanor offenses.

Senate Bill 2148 / sponsored by Johnson, Crowe, Haile, Hensley, Jackson, Niceley, Stevens, Taylor, Walley, White / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Signed by Governor

Safeguarding Tennessee against digital currency / SB 0479 & 2219

  • To protect Tennesseans against the risks of a centralized digital currency, we passed legislation that prevents a centralized digital bank from incorporating a deposit account. (SB 479)
  • We also passed a law that will exclude the term “money” from the definition of “central bank digital currency.” (SB 2219)

Senate Bill 479 / sponsored by Stevens, Bowling, Walley / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor

Senate Bill 2219 / sponsored by Powers, Bowling, Walley / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 694

Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council / SB 2530

  • We passed legislation to create the Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council.
  • This council develops a framework for leveraging artificial intelligence safely and effectively.
  • The Council is responsible for understanding, navigating and building a structure for the use of artificial intelligence in Tennessee.

Senate Bill 2530 / sponsored by Watson, White / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor

Increasing workforce participation / SB 1915

  • This session, we passed a law that enables individuals with specific criminal offenses on their record to secure employment opportunities.
  • The law allows licensing authorities to evaluate candidates' criminal histories on a case-by-case basis when determining approval or denial of certain occupational licenses.

Senate Bill 1915 / sponsored by Niceley, Yager / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Signed by Governor

Ensuring compensation for workers / SB 2017

  • To help protect workers against unreasonable refusal for compensation, we passed legislation that will ensure workers are compensated for all hours worked.
  • The law requires causes of action for all compensation owed to employees within three years.
  • These actions include: Breach of contract; Unjust enrichment/quantum merit for unpaid wages for hours worked; Overtime; Minimum wage; Salary; Bonuses; Commissions; and Other compensation

Senate Bill 2017 / sponsored by Reeves, Stevens / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Signed by Governor

Opportunities for engineers / SB 2498

  • We passed a law that will allow more qualified professionals to become certified engineers to be placed in the high-demand work field.
  • The law allows graduates of unaccredited engineering technology programs to become a certified engineer if certain requirements are met. 

Senate Bill 2498 / sponsored by Powers, Bowling / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 706

Local Government / Rural Communities

Resilient Tennessee Revolving Loan Fund Act / SB 2082

  • This new act will help local governments mitigate risks from natural disasters.
  • The legislation authorizes Tennessee to receive federal funds via the STORM Act, which was passed by Congress in 2021.
    • The STORM Act allows eligible states to receive a loan fund for hazard mitigation assistance to reduce risks from natural hazards and disasters.
  • The funds can be used to help local governments and rural counties prepare for natural disasters.

Senate Bill 2082 / sponsored by Johnson, Walley, Yager / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 686

Offsetting costs for county jails / SB 1771

  • A new law reimburses county jails for the costs of providing HIV medications for inmates.
  • Under the new law, the state Department of Correction is required to pay for HIV medications for inmates committed to a county jail or workhouse who previously received prescription medication to treat HIV or AIDS through a state department, agency, or program, such as TennCare.
  • These medications can run up to $7,000 per month for each affected inmate, which can have a severe impact on budgets for county jails.

Senate Bill 1771 / sponsored by Lundberg, Yager, Stevens / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor

Helping rural utility operations / SB 129

  • A new measure allows rural counties a one-year reprieve of paying depreciation after utility installation, and still keeps the municipality in compliance with accounting standards.
  • This law will help rural counties with utility depreciation.
  • Many rural counties cannot afford to accept block grants because the state's expectations of depreciation prevent rural municipalities from upgrading their utility systems.
  • Under previous law, the municipality was responsible for paying depreciation immediately, which was costly and burdensome for rural counties.

Senate Bill 129 / sponsored by Walley, Yager, Jackson, Stevens / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Transmitted to Governor 

Property reappraisals  / SB 1946

  • We passed a law that allows property assessors to choose the cycle length of property reappraisals.
  • This revision provides counties with an option to reevaluate property values on a more frequent basis.
  • Under previous law, the reappraisal ran on a three-to-six-year cycle, but the bill revises the schedule to operate on a one-to-four-year cycle.

Senate Bill 1946 / sponsored by Walley, Lowe, Yarbro, Yager / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Senate passed 4/17/24

Government Efficiency / Operations

Tennessee Disability and Aging Act /SB 2098

  • A law passed this year merges the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) and Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) into a new cabinet-level agency called the Department of Disability and Aging (DDA).
  • With an increasing aging population, this move will help the state serve the needs of older adults.
  • Adults 65 years and older are the fastest-growing demographic in Tennessee.
  • TCAD is Tennessee’s federally designated “state unit on aging,” currently overseeing Older Americans Act programs and providing leadership relative to aging issues throughout state government.
  • Tennessee is one of two states that did not previously house its “state unit on aging” within a cabinet-level agency.

Senate Bill 2098 / sponsored by Johnson, Massey, Yager, Crowe, Jackson, Niceley, Reeves, Rose, Walley / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 688 

Expediting construction and development processes / SB 2100

  • Tennessee has experienced a construction boom in recent decades, since becoming such a popular destination for businesses and people to move.
  • As a result, the construction permitting and inspection process is facing a significant backlog.
  • To streamline the construction processes, new legislation allows a third party examiner, inspector, engineer, or professional to inspect certain processes.
  • Previously, construction permitting and inspection could only be completed by a state or local examiner.

Senate Bill 2100 / sponsored by Johnson, Stevens, Powers, Taylor, Haile / Effective Date: October 1, 2024 / Signed by Governor

Reclaiming regulatory oversight of intrastate commerce from federal government / SB 2133

  • A new law delegates regulatory oversight of intrastate commerce from the federal government to the state.
  • This law empowers Tennessee to govern the production and distribution of goods within its borders.
  • When laws are ambiguous or silent, the Chevron deference precedence defers to the regulatory agency that oversees the subject matter to interpret the law.
  • The United States Supreme Court is currently in a position to consider overturning Chevron deference, which would return the interpretation of regulatory law to the judicial branch.
  • If Chevron is overturned, the legislation would make clear that regulatory authority for intrastate commerce falls under the state of Tennessee.

Senate Bill 2133 / sponsored by Lowe / Effective Dare: Upon becoming / Passed S. and H. 

Government meetings / SB 2741

  • To increase government transparency in Tennessee, a new law requires state governing bodies and local government legislative bodies to make their meeting agendas public at least 48 hours prior to the meetings.
  • The legislation also requires the agenda to reasonably describe what will be discussed at the meetings.

Senate Bill 2741 / sponsored by Gardenhire, Haile / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 710 

Human Rights Commission restructuring  / SB 2503 

  • We passed a law that directs the Human Rights Commission to work with the Attorney General’s office to review the feasibility of transitioning into a part of the Attorney General’s office.
  • Tethering the Human Rights Commission to the judicial branch will provide increased fairness and responsiveness.
  • It requires the Attorney General to submit its recommendations to the Senate and House speakers no later than January 1, 2025.

Senate Bill 2503 / sponsored by Stevens, Bowling / Effective Date: June 30, 2024 / Signed by Governor 

Agriculture / Conservation / Property Rights

Transparent food labeling / SB 1903

  • We passed legislation that ensures foods sold at grocery stores are properly labeled if they contain a vaccine intended for use in humans.
  • The law will classify the foods as drugs under the Tennessee Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
  • This is a preemptive consumer protection measure to address potential advances in technology that could lead to vaccines or vaccine material being used in consumer foods.

Senate Bill 1903 / sponsored by Hensley, Bowling, Crowe, Jackson, Pody / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / signed by Governor 

Protecting property from unnecessary government seizure / SB 1983 & SB 1984

  • The General Assembly passed new protections for private property from unnecessary seizure under eminent domain.
  • One law (SB 1983) requires the condemning authority to prove in court the property is necessary for public use.
    • It also requires the condemning authority to provide a plan for the finished project, a funding source, and there must be no reasonable property for sale in the vicinity.
  • Another law (SB 1984) prohibits the use of eminent domain to seize land for recreational use.

Senate Bill 1983 / sponsored by Niceley, Bowling, Haile, Pody, Stevens / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / signed by Gov.

Senate Bill 1984 / sponsored by Niceley, Bowling, Stevens, Pody / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor 

Preserving wildlife management / SB 2039

  • A new law codifies that hunting, fishing and conservation are the preferred methods of wildlife management in Tennessee.
  • It also requires appointees to the Fish and Wildlife Commission to be active participants in activities regulated by the commission.
  • This law proactively prevents issues hunters in other states are facing.

Senate Bill 2039 / sponsored by Rose, Lowe / Effective Date: July 1, 2024 / Public Chapter 626

Veterans / First Responders

Bonuses for military personnel with specialized skills / SB 2081

  • A new law this year allows the Department of Military to administer a critical skills retention bonus program to fill critical military operations specialties within the Tennessee National Guard.
  • It also codified partial paid coverage for those who are called into active duty.
  • This helps recruit and retain Tennessee National Guard service members with specialized skills.
  • The measure ensures that service members do not suffer financially when called to active duty. 

Senate Bill 2081 / sponsored by Johnson, Powers, Massey / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor

Updates to workers’ comp. benefits for Tennessee National Guard / SB 2083

  • This law requires workers’ compensation injury or death benefits for National Guard members to be based on whichever compensation rate is higher between their civilian wages and active duty wages.
  • Under previous law, when a National Guard member was injured while on active state duty, their workers’ compensation benefits were based on their Guard pay, regardless of if their civilian wages were higher.

Senate Bill 2083 / sponsored by Johnson, Walley, Powers / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 687

Disabled motorcycle license plates / SB 1678

  • We passed legislation this session that will authorize disabled decals for motorcycle license plates.
  • This bill aims to benefit veterans and other Tennessee residents who are considered disabled but are still fully capable of operating a motorcycle.

Senate Bill 1678 / sponsored by Haile / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Public Chapter 520


Support for Israel / SJR 870

  • We passed a resolution that expresses strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself from the October 7, 2023, terror attacks on the Jewish nation.
  • On that day, Hamas terrorists brutally murdered 1,200 Israeli civilians and took over 200 hostage.
  • To this day, over 130 Israelis remain in captivity by Hamas in Gaza. Following the attack, Israel declared war against Hamas and has been defending its country and people since, vowing to end Hamas.
  • Israel has been a strong ally of the United States of America for over 75 years. Tennessee recognizes the importance of Israel and the value of sustained friendship.

Senate Joint Resolution 870 / sponsored by Hensley, Stevens, Yager, Johnson, Walley, Haile, White, Bowling, Crowe, Jackson, Lowe, Lundberg, Massey, McNally, Niceley, Pody, Reeves, Roberts, Taylor

Preventing terrorist organizations from meeting in taxpayer funded spaces / SB 2610

  • A new law prevents taxpayer funded forums from knowingly allowing spaces for terrorist organizations to meet.
  • The law creates a Class E felony offense, punishable by a fine of up to $3,000, for an entity receiving public funds to knowingly provide meeting spaces or other forums, including electronic and print platforms, that are used to solicit support for terrorist organizations.
  • Under Tennessee law, terrorist organizations include any entity designated by the United States Department of State as a foreign terrorist organization or by the United States Department of the Treasury as a specially designated national.

Senate Bill 2610 / sponsored by Rose, Bowling, Hensley, Jackson, Lowe, Pody, White / Effective Date: Upon becoming law / Transmitted to Governor