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A Partial Legislative Review Provided by State Sen. Hensley

This information is provided courtesy of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles, Lewis, Maury and Marshall counties.

The 113th General Assembly has adjourned for 2023, and it was a very successful year.

We have taken measures for Tennessee to be a better place in which to live, work and to raise a family. I will go over the laws passed this session over the next few weeks.

Senate Bill 1221

Addressing the teacher shortage – The Senate passed several bills to alleviate the shortage of teachers at schools throughout Tennessee.

Senate Bill 1221 would grant a temporary teacher license to student teachers in certain circumstances.

The bill would allow student teachers to be eligible for a one-year teacher license if they complete all required coursework and are supervised by another educator.

Student teachers would only be eligible for the temporary license after the school district was unable to fill the position.

Senate Bill 967

Senate Bill 967 seeks to expand access to Career Technical Education (CTE) courses across Tennessee.

It will allow an education agency to hire a person with an active industry license or credential to provide instruction to students, but only if the instruction is supervised by a licensed teacher.

The licensed teacher would be the teacher of record for the course, and the credentialed individual is subject to a background check.

Senate Bill 1070

"Senate Bill 1070, which I sponsored, will address the shortage of Physical Education teachers in elementary schools," he said.

The director of schools can request an endorsement exemption from the Commissioner of Education that will allow a licensed teacher in another subject to teach Physical Education to students.

The waiver will only be valid until June 30 after the school asked for it, and schools must demonstrate that they were unable to fill the role with a qualified teacher.

Senate Bill 1231

Expanding teacher training schools -- State universities are permitted to contract with school districts to establish training schools for grades pre-K through 12 to provide practice teaching experience for teachers in training.

Senate Bill 1231, allows private universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to also contract with school districts for the same purpose.

Senate Bill 971

Surveying financial literacy education in public schools - Senate Bill 971 would allow the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission to request information regarding financial literacy education provided to public elementary and middle school students in the state.

That information is imperative to assessing the state of financial literacy education in Tennessee.

The bill does not include any requirements for age-appropriate financial literacy concepts to be taught in public schools.

Senate Bill 644

Home school immunization records -- Senate Bill 644, which I sponsored will delete the requirement for homeschool students to report immunization records to the superintendent of schools. If homeschool students choose to participate in interscholastic athletics, they would still be required to satisfy all eligibility requirements established by the association that regulates the athletic competition.

Senate Bill 966

Updating the Age-Appropriate Materials Act of 2022- Last year, the General Assembly passed the Age-Appropriate Materials Act of 2022, which increased transparency and oversight of instructional materials and literature used in public schools.

If a school finds a material is not age-appropriate based on student, parent or employee feedback, then the school can remove the book by appealing to the local school board or charter school governing body.

Senate Bill 966 adds a step to the process of evaluating materials in school libraries.

The bill requires complaints to first go to the local school district for resolution prior to going to the local board of education for review.

Senate Bill 1208

Raising awareness of the Individualized Education Account program Senate Bill 1208 requires the Department of Education to create a process to notify parents of all children eligible to participate in the Individualized Education Account (IEA) program as opposed to only lower income families.

The IEA program is a school choice program for eligible students with disabilities.

It gives parents and students access to public education funds to use on some approved educational expenses that best meet their unique needs.

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

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

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