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Legislation Moves To Prohibit Political Flags In Classrooms

This information comes from the office of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD, R-Hohenwald, who represents, Giles, Lewis, and parts of Maury, Marshall and Williamson counties in the State Legislature.

"A bill which I sponsored to keep controversial or political flags out of the classroom advanced out of the Senate Education Committee, " according to Hensley.

Senate Bill 1722 would prohibit certain flags from display in public schools.

At public schools, students should focus on learning academic skills and not be distracted by displays of political beliefs that might go against values their parents teach at home.

This legislation aims to keep political or controversial distractions out of the classroom by ensuring flags that espouse certain viewpoints or values are not displayed in school.

The bill specifically lays out the flags that would be allowed to be displayed in schools such as those with local, state, national, world and historical significance.

Besides Tennessee and United States flags, other flags that would be allowed include military flags, government flags, foreign country flags and flags used temporarily for course curriculums.

The legislation would also allow parents to take civil action if a school refuses to act within 10 days of receiving a written notice regarding a potential violation of the law. The bill advances to the Senate floor for a vote by the full Senate.

Giving Judges More Discretion To Deny Bail For Violent Crimes

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a proposal to expand judges’ ability to deny bail for certain violent crimes in the best interest of public safety.

Current law limits judges’ ability to deny bail to first-degree murder charges.

If ratified by voters, Senate Joint Resolution 919 would allow judges to deny bail for those charged with violent offenses of terrorism, second-degree murder, aggravated rape and grave torture.

It would also allow judges to deny bail for violent offenses that would require the defendant, if convicted, to serve at least 85 percent of their 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. It also would require judges to place into the record the reason for denying bail.

The resolution advances to the Senate floor to be read and voted on by the full Senate.

Prohibiting A State Property Tax

The Judiciary Committee also advanced another proposed constitutional amendment which would prohibit a state property tax.

Tennessee has not had a state property tax since 1949, and House Joint Resolution 81 seeks to ensure that one can never be implemented by a future General Assembly.

The resolution was passed by the House of Representatives in the 2023 legislative session. It advances to the Senate floor to be considered by the full Senate for the first time.

Marsy’s Law

A constitutional amendment to guarantee victims of crime have clear and enforceable rights passed the full senate to fulfill the first of two required passages before going to voters. House Joint Resolution 94, would add Marsy’s Law to the Tennessee Constitution to support crime victims and prevent further trauma.

It aims to give constitutional protections to victims, including the right to be heard, the right to be informed, and the right to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect through the judicial process.

The resolution was passed by the House of Representatives in the 2023 legislative session.

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 gubernatorial election.

Requiring carbon monoxide detectors in daycares: To ensure the safety of children in childcare facilities across Tennessee, this legislation that would require childcare facilities in Tennessee to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in every room. 

The legislation follows an incident at a childcare facility that resulted in the building being evacuated due to high carbon monoxide levels.

The facility did not have carbon monoxide detectors and many children were exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Senate Bill 2066 will help prevent similar incidents and ensure children do not suffer the long-term effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The bill passed the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and advances to the Senate floor for final consideration.

Reports of animal abuse: Senate Bill 1957, will allow veterinarians in Tennessee to report suspected animal cruelty and testify in judicial proceedings regarding that animal’s care without violating veterinarian-client-patient confidentiality.

A veterinarian would also have immunity from any breach of confidentiality under this legislation if they act in good faith reporting the suspected abuse.

The bill awaits final consideration on the Senate floor.

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

His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald, TN, 38462, or by telephone at 931-796-2018, or by cell phone at 931-212-8823, or by e-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

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