This information is provided by 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD, R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles, Lewis, Maury, Marshall and part of Willamson counties.
Hensley continues to summarize bills passed in the last legislative session.
Adding “In God We Trust” to the state seal - The General Assembly approved a measure to add “In God We Trust” to the Tennessee state seal.
The new law asks the governor, who is the keeper of the seal, to direct the Secretary of State to redesign the state seal.
Once completed, Senate and House chambers would then have to pass a resolution approving the new design which would include Tennessee’s state motto of “Commerce and Agriculture” as well as the nation’s motto of “In God We Trust.”
In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law “In God We Trust” as the nation’s official motto and mandated that its printing on all American currency, denoting America’s economic and political prosperity is in God’s hands.
Reflecting Tennessee’s Volunteer Spirit in state motto – The General Assembly passed legislation that adds “Send Me” to the State’s official motto of “Agriculture and Commerce,” which has been on the seal of Tennessee since 1801. Adding the phrase reflects the well-known volunteer spirit of Tennesseans.
Establishing Juneteenth as a State Holiday - The General Assembly approved a law that establishes June 19 as a paid state holiday to commemorate the emancipation of all enslaved African Americans.
On June 19, 1865 - known as “Juneteenth” - the news that the Civil War was over and all slaves were free finally reached Galveston, TX.
This was two and a half years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and over two months after the end of the Civil War.
Since Texas was isolated geographically and strategically, it was the last territory to receive the news.
New State Symbols – The General Assembly passed a law designating “The Tennessee in Me” by Debbie Mathis Watts as an official state song.
Brownfield Redevelopment Area Grant (BRAG) Program - To help clean up former industrialized sites, known as brownfields, lawmakers approved one of Gov. Bill Lee’s initiatives to fast-track the redevelopment of these sites.
Brownfields are generally abandoned or underutilized properties like industrial facilities. Their use or development can be complicated by the presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant and can be a blight on communities.
The new law creates a state-administered brownfield grant program to provide technical and financial resources to communities while bolstering incentives for developers.
It will provide $5 million annually for investigation, assessment and remediation to local governments, economic development agencies, development boards and county land banks.
Removing administrative burdens for underground injection control activities - A law removes the permit requirement for Class V underground injection control permits without diminishing the responsibility of owners or operators to comply with regulations protecting water quality. The law also reduces administrative burdens and costs for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Duck River – "The Tennessee General Assembly has approved legislation that I sponsored along with State Representative Scott Cepicky that expands protections for a portion of the Duck River in Maury County.
"This law classifies approximately 30 river miles of the waterway as a Class II scenic river area. "The designation generally prohibits certain activities like mining, commercial timber harvest or construction of roads from occurring within a certain proximity of the river."
Strengthening self-defense protections for bear attacks - This law allows Tennesseans living next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to take, harm or kill a bear that enters their property and poses a threat.
The bear must be acting in a manner that presents imminent danger, death or serious bodily injury for the bill to apply.
The law also requires property owners to notify the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) within 24 hours after killing or seriously injuring a bear, if possible.
A bear cannot be removed from the site, repositioned, sold or transferred without agency authorization.
Sen. Hensley may be contacted at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, TN 37243, 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, or call 931-796-2018 or cell phone at 931-212-8823 or e-mail email@example.com