New Laws To Take Effect July 1
Information is furnished by 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD., R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles and five other counties,
The first session of the 112th General Assembly ended in May and marked the close of a very productive year for the Tennessee General Assembly.
Legislation passed involving a wide variety of topics aimed at bettering lives of Tennesseans. Below is a list of legislation that will take effect in July of 2021.
Tax Cut / Sales Tax Holiday – Legislation was approved cutting $50 million in taxes by providing an additional sales tax holiday on the sale of food and food ingredients from July 30– Aug. 4, 2021.
It also cuts taxes on the retail sale of prepared food for restaurants in that time. This is in addition to Tennessee’s annual sales tax holiday which allows consumers to purchase clothing, school supplies and computers tax-free.
Special Session / Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act --
Among other measures addressing learning losses, this legislation strengthens the state’s 3rd grade reading retention policy by ensuring students are on grade-level before promotion to 4th grade.
Teachers / Endorsement Pathways – A new law to increase retention of high-quality educators by providing an alternative endorsement pathway passed the General Assembly.
The measure provides additional flexibility at the local level. The Board of Education will create a process by which school districts may administer training programs for endorsements without having to enroll in higher education.
Individuals will still be expected to pass an assessment to ensure they are qualified.
Textbook Transparency Act -- The Textbook Transparency Act of 2021 ensures textbooks are accessible to public view.
It makes available online textbooks adopted by Tennessee and used by public schools.
Compared to the 90-day timeframe textbooks are required to be available to the public, publishers are now required to make materials used in the classroom available.
Students / Threat of Mass Violence -- Legislation seeking to address mass violence on school property was approved.
It creates a Class A misdemeanor offense for communicating a threat to commit an act of mass violence on school property or at a school-related activity and a Class B misdemeanor if a person with knowledge fails to report it.
A court may require a person sentenced for either offense to pay restitution for the destruction of normal activities.
It also allows a court to order a child held for threatening mass violence on a school to undergo a mental health evaluation.
Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act – The Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act requires a public school to provide a reasonable accommodation to a student who has conveyed through a written request that they are unwilling or unable to use multi-occupancy restrooms or changing facilities designated for the person’s sex.
Goals of the bill is to be respectful and protect every child’s right to privacy, and remove any uncertainty about making accommodations for all children.
Student’s Right to Know Act – The General Assembly enacted legislation to provide critical information to Tennesseans pursuing higher education.
The Student’s Right to Know Act requires the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) to publish a web-based dashboard for high school students considering college and career options.
It will give students more information regarding higher education cost options, in addition to expected wages in occupations they are considering.
HOPE Scholarship / Homeschoolers -- Before the General Assembly wrapped up the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers also dealt with inequities in the HOPE Scholarship Grant for homeschool students.
Under previous law, homeschool students could not qualify for HOPE Scholarships through their GPA score, unlike their public and accredited private school counterparts. Instead, they relied on their ACT scores for eligibility.
The new law solves this discrepancy by extending aid to homeschool students who complete six credit hours of dual-enrollment and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in those courses. Additionally, the legislation removes the requirement that a student must have been enrolled in a home school for one year immediately preceding completion of their high school level education.
Confucius Institutes / Foreign Influence on Higher Education -- "State lawmakers voted passed a bill that I sponsored to provide greater transparency regarding foreign influences on state college and university campuses," Hensley wrote.
The statute prohibits establishment of Confucius Institutes with ties to communist regimes and requires state institutions to disclose gifts received from and contracts initiated with a foreign source in excess of $10,000.
Hensley may be contacted at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, Tenn., 37243, by calling 615-741-3100, toll free at 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100 or by faxing 615-253-0231.
His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald Tenn., 38462. His telephone number is 931-796-2018, his cell telephone is 931-212-8823 and his E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org