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State Tries to Slow TikTok Use

This information is provided courtesy of the office of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensleym MD, R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles, Lewis, Marshall, Maury and part of Williamson counties.

Hensley continues his review of legislation passed in the latest session of the State Legislature.

Cracking down on TikTok use at Tennessee College Campuses - This law prohibits the Chinese-owned social media platforms TikTok and WeChat from being accessed on Tennessee public higher education institutions’ internet networks.

The State of Tennessee and the Federal government have taken similar steps to mitigate the security risks of TikTok by prohibiting government internet networks and devices from supporting the social media app. These platforms pose serious national security risks to the United States.

Preventing sanctioned countries from buying real estate in Tennessee — This law prevents foreign governments, businesses and non-US citizens from 38 countries on the U.S Department of Treasury’s sanctions list in addition to China from purchasing or acquiring real estate in Tennessee.

Prohibiting Chinese Surveillance - The General Assembly passed a law that prohibits law enforcement agencies from purchasing drones from corporations or entities banned under the National Defense Act of 2019.

Those include drones made in China, Russia or other adversarial countries.

Agencies are not required to replace existing equipment and can use any of their drones.

Any new devices must be purchased in compliance with the new regulations.

Protecting Tennessee businesses from local minimum wage requirements - This law protects businesses and workers by prohibiting local governments from imposing requirements on an employer pertaining to hours worked, work scheduled or employee output during work hours.

The law preempts local governments from imposing additional wage or employee benefit mandates on private employers.

It also prohibits local governments from requiring a private business to pay an hourly rate above minimum wage as a condition of contracting with the local government or operating within the local government’s jurisdiction.

Finally, the law prohibits a local government from giving preference to vendors, contractors, service providers or other parties doing business with a local government based on wages or employee benefits they provide.

Local governments still maintain the right to adopt policies for their own employees.

Extending COVID-19 liability protections indefinitely – The General Assembly made permanent laws passed during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect citizens from government overreach and provide businesses and health care providers with liability protections from health-related claims.

By making these laws permanent, lawmakers ensure that state and local governments cannot require COVID-19 vaccine mandates and that statewide standards are met before local governments can issue mask mandates in public buildings and schools.

Among other things, it also guarantees a hospitalized person can have a family member with them.

The new law removes the termination date on these provisions of July 1, 2023.

Growing the workforce – A new law intends to get more workers back into the workforce faster.

It increases the number of required weekly work searches for claimants of unemployment benefits from three to four per week.

The measure also closes the “ghosting loophole” in which claimants of unemployment benefits skip a job interview, wasting employers’ time and resources.

Stimulating economic growth - A law aims to keep Tennessee competitive with neighboring states and stimulate economic growth and job creation by lowering the cap for fuel tax payments by commercial aircraft carriers.

The measure reduces the maximum amount of aviation fuel taxes paid by a commercial aircraft carrier from $5 million annually to $3 million in fiscal year 2023-2024 and to $1 million in fiscal year 2024-2025 and subsequent years.

The bill applies to any airline with at least 50 flights per day in and out of Tennessee.

Improving Broadband Accessibility Grant Program - A law improves the Broadband Accessibility Grant Program to benefit rural Tennesseans by increasing the minimum download and upload speeds to 100 Mbps and 20 Mbps respectively, ensuring grant funds will provide broadband to homes or businesses that don’t have access to service, clarifying broadband grant funding should be allocated for last-mile broadband projects and stipulates the cost of a proposed project will help determine grant funding.

The General Assembly unanimously approved the law.

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 ext. 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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