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Smart Heart Act Protects Health, Safety Of Students

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

Health Update

In 2015, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation that annually informs and educates coaches and athletes of symptoms of cardiac arrest.

Senate Bill 2175 expands upon this act by requiring the governing authority of schools with grades nine through twelve to provide automated external defibrillators (AED) accessible to students during school hours and within 1,000 feet of any athletic student activity.

The bill also adds that the program must include training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid, and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) for all participants.

Over 23,000 children under 18 have cardiac arrests outside of hospitals annually. This bill is important because it will help save lives.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee and awaits final consideration on the Senate floor.

Senate advances Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced legislation that would increase protections for victims of aggravated domestic assault in Tennessee.

Senate Bill 1972, also known as the Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act, would require aggravated assault suspects in certain domestic violence cases to wear a global position monitoring system (GPS) if they are released on bond.

Under the legislation, a GPS service provider must be able to notify a victim’s cell phone if their alleged attacker is within a certain proximity of their location.

The company would also be required to notify local law enforcement when a violation of a defendant’s bond conditions occurred.

The legislation is named in honor of Debbie Sisco and Marie Varsos. Both women were killed in 2021 by Varsos’ estranged husband Shaun who was out on bond for strangling his wife and threatening to shoot her a month earlier.

There were 61,637 victims of domestic violence statewide in 2022, according to the most recent Tennessee Bureau of Investigation data. The legislation advances to the Senate Finance Committee.

Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council -  The usage of artificial intelligence is rapidly increasing, and state governments and businesses are still learning how to manage the technology.

This legislation will create the Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council so the state can develop a framework for leveraging artificial intelligence safely and effectively.

The Council will have the responsibility of understanding, navigating and building a structure for the use of artificial intelligence within Tennessee.

Senate Bill 2530 was presented in the Senate Government Operations Committee where it received a positive recommendation to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

Communication Between Juvenile Courts And DCS Senate Bill 447  requires the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) to notify the juvenile judge when a child in DCS custody is going to be discharged from the care of DCS.

This bill ensures effective communication within the juvenile justice system and DCS. It also sets a procedure for the judge to object to the child being discharged from DCS custody. The measure passed the Senate floor.

Danielle’s Law – This legislation will extend the statute of limitations for cases of rape or sexual assault, provided the victim is 18 years old or older.

It extends the permissible time frame for initiating prosecution to three years if law enforcement was not involved and to five years if law enforcement was involved. 

Improvements To Age Appropriate Materials Act –

"Legislation, which I sponsored, passed on the Senate floor that will keep obscene materials from public school libraries.]," according to Hensley,

Obscene materials include content that is sexually explicit or excessively violent. Senate Bill 1060 heads to Governor Lee’s desk.

Senate passes bill ensuring teacher accountability – The Senate passed legislation to ensure teachers are held to the highest standards of conduct and safety for students. Senate Bill 1701 would remove educators' licenses if the educator is found guilty of certain criminal offenses. This legislation now heads to Governor Lee’s desk.

Preventing Opioid Overdoses - Senate Bill 2141 passed on the Senate floor. The bill ensures that any student present at school or a school-sanctioned event cannot be punished for possessing naloxone.

Naloxone is a drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose, but it must be used quickly. It is available over the counter as the opioid crisis continues to rise and claim the lives of Tennesseans.

Teenagers aged 14-19 are the fastest growing category of overdose victims, leaving some students needing to have naloxone available to save a life.

Newborn Screenings – Each year, around 385 Tennesseans are born with a rare genetic disorder.

Tennessee leads the nation in newborn screenings, one of the most successful public health programs offered.

The Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP) is a list of conditions that should be tested for during the newborn screening, but sometimes it takes years for new conditions to be added to the screening panel in Tennessee.

Senate Bill 1791 which will ensure that any new diseases from RUSP will be added to Tennessee’s state panel within three years.

If the timeline is not possible, then the Department of Health will notify applicable legislative committees of the reason for the delays.

Early detection is important as it can save and improve the quality of life of those with rare genetic disorders.

The bill passed on the Senate floor and is moving through committee in the House of Representatives.

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 he can be reached by telephone 931-796-2018, or by his cell phone at 931-212-8823, or by e-mail:


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