New state laws as of July 1

Over 20 recently passed, new or expanded Tennessee state laws went into effect on July 1. {File Photo}

The state “slow poke” law, a new law to address the state’s teacher shortage, and a law to keep animal abusers from owning pets … these are part of the over 20 laws that took effect on July 1 in Tennessee. Here are a couple, we thought that might interest you:

1 | An Extension of the State’s Slow Poke Law | People driving slow in the left lane bug you? Good news. State lawmakers extended the state’s “Slow Poke” law to include not only the interstates by also any divided highway with two or more lanes in each direction. Tennessee drivers could face a $50 fine if they creep along in the passing lane.

2 | Law to Address Teacher Shortage | The General Assembly also passed a law to help Local Education Agencies (LEAs) fund a Grow Your Own scholarships to train high school students and non-teaching staff to become certified educators in a three-year program at an area college.

3| Teacher’s License Revoked for Certain Crimes | Teachers will now have their state license pulled by the State Board of Education if found guilty of certain crimes such as communicating a threat concerning a school employee, arson, aggravated arson, burglary, child abuse, child neglect, child endangerment, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, aggravated child endangerment, providing handguns to juveniles, sexual offenses, and violent sexual offenses. In addition, it includes teachers or administrators whose name is placed on the state’s Vulnerable Persons Registry or the state’s Sex Offender Registry, or those identified by the Department of Children’s Services as having committed child abuse, severe child abuse, child sexual abuse, or child neglect.

4 | New law banning animal abusers from owning pets in the future | Legislators also passed Senate Bill 1800, which bans some convicted animal abusers from ever owning any pet again. The new law prohibits individuals convicted of some of the worst offenses against animals from owning companion animals for at least two years from the date of conviction and may impose a lifetime prohibition.  Upon a subsequent offense, the court shall prohibit the individual from having custody of any companion animal for the person’s lifetime.

For a complete list of all new Tennessee laws that went into effect on July 1, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

TN lawmakers look to end “lunch shaming” students

NASHVILLE — Imagine being from a family that barely makes ends meet. Now imagine that your child, behind on their school lunch account, was shamed by educators by being required to do chores or miss school activities.

Under a new Tennessee House bill educators would be banned from “lunch shaming” students. It would also be illegal to publicly identify students as being unable to pay. Educators would also be required to assist parents in applying for free or reduced-price lunches.

The House Education Committee narrowly passed the measure by a 13-10 vote today. It must still pass the House and Senate to become law. To voice your opinion, contact Moore County’s Representative Iris Rudder at 615-741-8695 or Moore County’s Senator Shane Reeves at 615-741-1066. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

General Assembly considers legalizing, decriminalizing recreational marijuana

STATE NEWS — On Friday, State Sentor Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) introduced a bill (SB 1849) that would legalize recreational marijuana in Tennessee. If approved, the legislation would create a 12 percent tax on the sale of regulated weed up to half an ounce. According to the bill, 20 percent of that money would go to the General Fund, 30 percent would fund state infrastructure, and the remaining 50 percent would go toward public education. To read that bill, click here.

Under the bill, sellers would need a registered business and a license from the state to legally sell weed. Additionally the bill would apply to the growing, processing, manufacturing, delivery and sale of marijuana. Those licensed would also be able to sell only at locations zoned for sale.

A corresponding House Bill (HB 1610) sponsored by Representative Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) would allow each county governments to hold a referendum vote to decide whether the legal marijuana industry is right for their county. That bill would also decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession statewide. To read that bill, click here.

Proponents of the bills say they could reduce Tennessee’s opioid epidemic, create jobs, free up law enforcement resources, and add billions to state coffers. Opponents claim legalization will lead to increased teen use, more pot-related traffic accidents, and harm the environment.

According to state figures, more that 2,600 farmers are already licensed to grow hemp in Tennessee. It’s similar to marijuana but does not contain THC, the chemical that causes individuals to feel high. Hemp can be used to make cloth, rope, construction materials, and produce cannabidiol or CBD.

If approved, the new proposed bills would be scheduled to go into affect on July 1, 2020. To let your representative know how you feel, contact Representative Iris Rudder at 615-741-8695 or Senator Shane Reeves at 615-741-1066. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

New bill seeks to cap insulin prices in Tennessee

STATE NEWS — Tennessee exists as part of the Diabetes Belt. We enjoy the fifth highest rate of the disease in the U.S. Doctors diagnose 36,000 Tennesseans with diabetes each day. Over 650,000 adults live with the disease in the Volunteer State. That’s nearly 13 percent of all Tennesseans as compared to 10 percent nationally. In Moore County, around 14 percent of the population lives with diabetes.

Many of those patients suffers with Type 1 (or insulin-dependent) diabetes. This means most must take daily injections in order to avoid life-threatening negative health effects. But the cost of the that life-saving drug keeps skyrocketing. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), insulin costs haven risen over 500 percent in the last 14 years. It’s nearly tripled since 2002 and risen as much as 14 percent in just the past five years.

With all of this in mind, on Wednesday State Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) introduced SB 1718, which caps the price of the 30-day supply of insulin for insured Tennesseans at just $100. To read the complete bill, click here.

So why is the cost of insulin out of control?

Some posit that drug manufactures continue to block a generic with incremental patent changes. Discovered in 1921, the drug’s nearly 100 years old but no generic exists because manufactures keep tweaking the the recipe to extend exclusivity rights.

A secondary reason revolves around America’s complicated healthcare system and a complex supply chain controlled by a system of stakeholders including drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefits managers, pharmacies, health plans, and employers who act as middlemen between patient and doctor.

To let your representative know how you feel, contact Representative Iris Rudder at 615-741-8695 or Senator Shane Reeves at 615-741-1066. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

New bill would ban felony animal abusers from owning pets

STATE NEWS — To some, animals exist as close companions and furry family members. Unfortunately, to others, an animal’s welfare just isn’t the priority. In the most extreme cases, individuals hoard animals in cruel conditions or intentionally cause them harm.

A new proposed Tennessee law aims to prevent those individuals from owning pets for a minimum of two years. It’s a follow up measure from Nashville representative Darren Jernigan (D – Old Hisckory). In January 2016, Jernigan sponsored the Tennessee Animal Abuser Registration Act of 2015, which established the first statewide Animal Abuse Registry. It identifies persons convicted of felony-level animal abuse like aggravated cruelty, animal fighting, or sexual activity with an animal. Currently, there are 16 offenders on that list. (Click here for that link.)

Neither bill includes horses or other farm animals. Instead, it’s aimed solely at companion animals such as dogs and cats.

Jernigan introduced the HB 1643 on January 14. To let your representative know how you feel about the bill, contact Representative Iris Rudder at 615-741-8695 or Senator Shane Reeves at 615-741-1066. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}