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State Senate Passes Penalties For Abortion Trafficking

This information comes from the office of 28th District State Senator Joey Hensley, MD, who represents Giles, Lewis and parts of Marshall, Maury and Williamson counties.

The TN Senate reaffirmed its commitment to protecting the unborn and passed legislation to make abortion trafficking of a minor a Class A misdemeanor.

Senate Bill 1971 seeks to protect parental rights and stop adults who attempt to circumvent the state’s abortion law by helping to facilitate an abortion for a minor without parental consent.

The General Assembly in 2019 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 that year passed the Human Life Protection Act, 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.

Legislation Provides More Protections For Parental Rights In Medical Decisions

Legislation to prioritize parental rights and further protect Tennessee children from prohibited medical procedures passed the Senate.

Senate Bill 2782 seeks to stop anyone from knowingly taking a minor across state lines without parental consent so the minor can receive a medical procedure prohibited in Tennessee.

Under the legislation, any adult who recruits, harbors or transports a minor for a restricted medical procedure could be charged with a Class C felony and held civilly liable by the child’s parent or legal guardian under the proposed legislation.

Tennessee Senate Passes Bill Allowing Death Penalty For Child Rapists

The Senate advanced legislation to increase the penalty for child rapists in Tennessee. Senate Bill 1834 would expand the death penalty to defendants convicted of child rape.

The legislation will strengthen state law by increasing the penalty for rape or aggravated rape of a child to death, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison.

Current law classifies the offense as a Class A felony punishable as either a Range III offense, which carries a prison sentence of 40-60 years or a Range II prison offense of 25-40 years.

The proposal builds on General Assembly efforts to improve public safety, reduce recidivism rates, and hold criminals accountable through smart-on-crime justice reforms.

The General Assembly in 2022 passed truth in sentencing laws that increased penalties for the most violent of crimes and now requires offenders to serve 85-100 percent of their sentences. 

Senate Bill 1834 passed the Senate and is moving through House of Representatives committees.

Protecting Children From Social Media Act Passes Senate

It is vital to ensure the safety and well-being of Tennessee youth in the digital age.

With the exponential growth of social media platforms, the Protecting Children from Social Media Act, aims to safeguard children from harmful content on social media platforms.

The bill would require social media companies to verify the age of any individual creating an account on their platform.

If the account holder is a minor, the company must obtain express consent from the parent or guardian for the account creation.

Additionally, the bill would require social media companies to provide parents and guardians with account restriction options for their children. These restrictions include privacy settings, daily time restrictions, and implemented breaks from the platform.

Senate Bill 2097 passed the Senate and House and moves to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Bill To Protect Children From Accessing Pornography Online Passes Senate

As part of efforts to protect children from inappropriate materials, the Senate passed  legislation that aims to shield kids from the harmful effects of pornography.

Senate Bill 1972 seeks to restrict children from accessing sexually explicit adult content by requiring online media companies and operators to verify that users attempting to access pornographic websites are at least 18.

Known as the Protect Tennessee Minors Act, the bill would require companies to match a photograph of an active user to a photograph on a valid form of identification issued in the United States.

The legislation creates a Class C felony for website owners and operators who violate the proposed law.

The Tennessee Department of Homeland Security would be responsible for enforcing compliance with the law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2025.

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.

The bill passed the Senate and awaits House passage.

Sen. 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 extension 13100 or fax 615-253-0231.

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

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