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Bills Pass In 2022 Tennessee General Assembly

Updated: May 29

This information is provided by 28th District State Sen. and Dr. Joey Hensley R-Hohenwald whose district includes Giles and five other area counties.

The 112th General Assembly has adjourned for 2022, and it was a very successful year, Hensley said.

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

Cracking down on drive-by shootings —To impose stricter penalties on criminals who engage in drive-by shootings, a new law requires a person convicted of aggravated assault involving the use or display of a deadly weapon be punished one classification higher than otherwise provided by law, if the violation was committed by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle.

Expanding the definition of unlawful photography – To protect the privacy of individuals, a new law expands the definition of unlawful photography. The offense previously applied to situations in which a person knowingly photographs someone without consent and the photograph is used for the purposes of sexual arousal or gratification. The new law expands that definition to include photographs taken without consent that include the unclothed intimate area of an individual and that were taken for the purpose of embarrassing or harassing the victim, among other criteria.

Increasing penalties for litter —A new law increases penalties for illegal dumping of tires.

It makes knowingly dumping two or more tires on public or private property without permission a Class A misdemeanor offense of aggravated littering, and also adds a Class E felony offense for a first-time conviction when dumping eight or more tires for commercial purposes.

Mental Health Treatment Act of 2022 – A new law will expand mental health court treatment programs statewide, which will help offenders with mental health challenges get their lives back on track.

It will give more counties the opportunity to develop mental health courts, which are proven to reduce recidivism, by allowing counties to submit applications to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse for funds to develop a mental health treatment court program.

The change will add 45 more mental health recovery courts to the state’s existing 82.

The law aims to reduce the use of jail and prison beds and other correctional services by offenders with mental health disorders by diverting them into treatment programs.

More mental health courts in Tennessee will promote public safety by reducing the incidence of crimes committed as a result of mental health disorders.

Balancing power of government agencies in courts - To ensure courts no longer give deference to administrative agencies over citizens and businesses, a new law directs courts to take cases that involve the interpretation of administrative rules “de novo”. This means a court will have to decide these cases without reference to any legal conclusion or assumption made by a previous court.

The measure directly addresses a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision which established the “Chevron Doctrine” in 1984. This ruling gave deference to administrative agencies in the interpretation of their own rule. The Chevron Doctrine has been responsible for expanding the administrative state at the cost of the average citizen and business.

Increasing transparency of the legal process for victims — A new measure aids victims of crimes by increasing transparency and efficiency of the criminal justice process. It expands to the courts a statewide automated victim information notification system called VINE that’s run by the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association.

The system provides timely information about each stage of the criminal process, including custody status and criminal case information, and is available 24 hours a day over the telephone, on the internet or by email.

Establishing a task force on judicial redistricting — A new law establishes an advisory task force that will recommend a proposed statewide redistricting plan every 10 years.

The task force will be appointed by the Speakers of the Senate and House, and consist of 14 members, including trial court judges, district attorneys, public defenders, and citizen members as well as chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Civil Justice Committee.

The task force must be established by July, 2025 and submit its findings by January, 2027 for the legislature to address judicial redistricting before the next judicial election in 2030.

Ensuring judicial integrity — To ensure the integrity of judges in Tennessee, a new law adds two new qualifications.

The first is being in good standing with the Board of Professional Responsibility, and the second is not having been publicly censured, suspended or disbarred from the practice of law by the Board of Professional Responsibility within 10 years before the judge’s term of office for dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

The change applies to judges of the Supreme Court, court of appeals, chancery courts, circuit courts, criminal courts and others, and is set to take effect Oct. 1, 2022.

Constitutional Amendment / Expanding opportunities for state investment – A resolution to add an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution to allow Tennessee to expand its investment opportunities and maximize the value of revenues from state taxpayers received first approval from the General Assembly.

The Tennessee Constitution prohibits the state from investing in stocks or funds. Therefore, the state can only invest its funds in debt instruments, such as U.S. bonds, notes and treasury bills.

An amendment to the Tennessee Constitution is needed to change this law and recognize greater returns on investments of taxpayer dollars.

The resolution will need to pass by a two-thirds majority again in the 113th or 114th General Assemblies, to appear on the ballot for a statewide referendum in November 2026. The amendment would become part of the state constitution if adopted by a majority vote in the governor’s election.

Divorce Court Proceeding — A new law authorizes a court to allow mediation between parties in a divorce proceeding to occur by video conference when appropriate.

Receiver of Estate - A new law authorizes the court to appoint a public receiver to make a recommendation on the need for a temporary or permanent receiver over an estate.

A receiver is an appointed custodian of a person or entity’s assets. When a business owner passes away without a succession plan, a county legislative body has the power to appoint or elect a public administrator, a public guardian and a public trustee. But oftentimes that business falls apart and loses significant value by the time the estate reaches the courts.

The law aims to preserve the value of the business by allowing a judge to appoint a receiver in the front-end of the process.

Hensley may be reached at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, TN 37243,

or by calling 615-741-3100, toll free at 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100 or by fax at 615-253-0231.

His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald, TN 3846, by calling 931-796-2018, or his cell phone at 931-212-8823. E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

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This information is from 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, M.D., R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles and five other area counties. The 112th General Assembly has adjourned for 2022, and it was a v

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