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Legislation Advances To Crack Down on TikTok use at Tennessee Colleges

This information is provided by the office of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, R Hohenwald, whose district includes, Giles, Lewis, Marshall and Maury counties.

The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved legislation to prohibit Chinese-owned social media platforms TikTok and WeChat from being accessed on Tennessee public higher education institutions’ internet networks. These platforms pose serious national security risks to the United States.

National security experts have warned that TikTok can allow the Chinese Communist Party to spy on Americans’ activities and control their mobile devices.

We have to take every precaution possible to minimize the threat of TikTok. The State of Tennessee and the Federal government have taken similar steps to mitigate the security risks of TikTok by prohibiting government internet networks and devices from supporting the social media app.

Expanding eligibility for the Tennessee HOPE scholarship - Senate Bill 74 seeks to recruit, retain and reward eligible Tennessee HOPE scholarship students by allowing them to receive the HOPE scholarship until the student has earned an advanced degree or for up to five years from initial enrollment.

The HOPE scholarship is funded by the state lottery for thuse enrolled at an eligible postsecondary institution within 16 months after high schook graduatipn.

Removing the tuition cap for dual enrollment - The Education Committee passed a bill that removes the tuition cap for dual enrollment for certain campuses.

Senate bill 1408 applies to high school students taking college courses to get a head start for college credit.

Present law prohibits an eligible postsecondary institution from charging certain students receiving a dual enrollment grant tuition or fees in excess of the student’s dual enrollment grant award.

However, an eligible postsecondary institution may charge a student receiving a dual enrollment grant costs incurred by the institution on the student's behalf, including book and material costs, and special examination fee.

This bill changes the prohibition above to only apply to eligible public postsecondary institutions, not independent postsecondary institutions.

Easing requirements for veterans seeking a commercial driver’s license - Passed by the Transportation and Safety committee, Senate Bill 105 waives the knowledge test for active military service members, veterans and national guardsmen applying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

The bill identifies alternative requirements for the license, including operating a commercial motor vehicle in the military in combination with a good driving record.

Similar laws are in place in 18 other states, including South Carolina, Georgia and Texas.

Restitution for children of victims of DUI - If a parent of a minor child is killed by an intoxicated driver, current law requires the convicted offender to pay restitution to each of the victim’s children until each child reaches age 18 years and has graduated from high school or the class of which the child is a member has graduated.

Senate Bill 442, known as “Dillard’s Law,” amends current law by allowing a family to convert the criminal restitution, which would be paid at the end of the defendant’s sentence, to a civil judgment, allowing children to be compensated sooner rather than later.

Annual Hospital Assessment Act – The Senate Health and Welfare Committee passed legislation to extend the Annual Hospital Assessment Act, which the state has passed each year since 2010.

Senate Bill 289 continues the voluntary hospital assessment that results in more than $691 million in state funds going towards covering indigent and uninsured care provided by hospitals to the general public and makes the state eligible for $1.8 billion in federal matching funds to support TennCare.

This assessment identifies areas of need and helps hospitals meet these needs and continue operations while not raising prices for patients.

Topical Medical Waste Reduction Act of 2023 – Legislation passed the Health and Welfare Committee to allow patients to take home topical medication administered at a hospital or surgical center that is needed for continued use.

Senate Bill 523 will save patients money and reduce waste for medication tossed out after being opened at a healthcare facility. The legislation applies to topical antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, dilation, glaucoma drops or ointments.

Hensley may be contacted at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, TN 37243 or call 615-741-3100, or call toll free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100, or fax 615-253-0231.

His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald, TN 38462. His telephone number is 931-796-2018, his cell phone is 931-212-8823 and email: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

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