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New Tennessee Laws for 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN reported on 12/30/2022 and 01/11/2023) — When the clock struck midnight on January 1, more than a dozen laws went into effect for Tennesseans. Laws related to drunk drivers paying child support for parents they kill, medical records, subscription service cancellations, early retirement for emergency communications personnel, and mail-order pharmaceuticals are among some of the new laws that will be enforced starting in 2023.

The most notable law, known as “Ethan, Hailey’s and Bentley’s Law,” (HB 1834/Public Chapter 1056) will require drunk drivers to pay child support if they kill a parent or guardian. Tennessee is the first state to pass a law of its kind.

The creation of the law comes from a tragic car wreck caused by a drunk driver that resulted in the death of a 4-month-old boy and his two parents. Cecilia Williams, whose son, daughter-in-law, and grandson were fatally injured in the crash, created the law and got it proposed in Missouri. The name of the law is in honor of Bentley, her grandson whose parents and brother were killed, and was modified to include the names of two surviving kids of a Tennessee police officer, Nicholas Galinger, who was killed in a hit-and-run wreck caused by a drunk driver.

The law gives DUI offenders who are in jail up to one year after their release to begin making payments, including back pay. If the child turns 18 years old but has not received all the money owed, the offender must continue sending money until all debts are paid off.

Another notable law taking effect in January is “Dallas’s Law,” named for Dallas “DJ” Barrett, who died after a fight with security guards at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row on Aug. 16, 2021.

The law revises the required training necessary for someone working as a security guard/officer, adding de-escalation techniques, safe restraint techniques, and emergency first aid/CPR training. Prior to the law’s passage, those hired as security guards by a “proprietary security organization” were exempt from those certain training requirements; now all those hired as security guards in Tennessee will be required to show proof of that training.

DJ’s autopsy revealed he died of asphyxiation, deeming the manner of death as a homicide. Seven people, including six Whiskey Row security guards, were indicted last December on reckless homicide and aggravated assault charges in connection with DJ’s death. Additionally, four of the guards were not properly licensed at the time of the incident, according to court documents.

Other bills that went into effect on January 1, 2023, include:

HB1195/Public Chapter 664: Requires a health insurance entity, a health services provider, or a healthcare facility to notify a patient of communication among the entity, a health services provider, and a healthcare facility concerning the patient’s medical claim; requires a utilization review agent to notify the provider or healthcare facility, as well as the enrollee, when additional information is needed for a prior authorization request. Per the new law, that communication must be given to the enrollee within two business days after that communication has occurred and must include a summary of said communication.

HB1652/Public Chapter 803: Requires a business that allows someone to sign up for a service or subscription online to provide the option to cancel the service or subscription online without additional steps; also creates certain exceptions to this rule, including FDIC-insured banks, NCUA-insured credit unions, local government services, state-regulated public utilities, the FCC or the FERC or businesses licensed by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

HB2416/Public Chapter 1001: Enacts the “Tennessee Abortion-Inducing Drug Risk Protocol Act.” This bill requires any abortion-inducing drug to be provided only by a doctor in a medical facility and cannot be provided through the mail. The law also requires that the physician set up a follow-up appointment around seven to 14 days after the administration of the drug to confirm the pregnancy is “completely terminated” and “assess the degree of bleeding.” The criminal penalty for violating this law will be a Class E felony and carries a fine up to $50,000. There are also civil penalties for violations of the law, including malpractice action for actual and punitive damages; professional discipline for the doctor, including license suspension or revocation; wrongful death action background; injunctive relief against the doctor from doing it again. There is no liability for the patient per the law; only the doctor.

HB2597/Public Chapter 996: Authorizes an assessor property to display “UNLISTED” for the first and last name in the ownership field of an online searchable database of property when certain conditions are met. Those conditions include: the property owner files a written request with the property assessor to have their name put as “UNLISTED” and the written request contains information identifying the property in question as the primary residence of the property owner. The law does not exempt the records from the open records laws.

HB2683/Public Chapter 819: Makes emergency communications personnel eligible for early service retirement when the employing entity has elected to offer this benefit; requires the employing entity to be responsible for 100% of any increased cost necessary to provide this benefit to the emergency communications personnel. The law applies to an emergency communications worker, public safety dispatcher, emergency communications telecommunicator or emergency call taker.

LSB0905/Public Chapter 1104: Revises provisions governing the sales and use tax exemption for qualified farmers and nurserymen in regard to certain farm equipment and machinery used in agricultural operations. The law exempts farmers from sales tax on items and services used for agriculture production, including building materials, repair services, and labor.

SB2295/Public Chapter 1112: Makes various changes to the qualifications for certification as a medication aide by the board of nursing. Changes include stipulating prior experience in certain care facilities must be at least one continuous year or more; certain training requirements can now be completed via distance or virtual learning; and the passing grade required of standard examinations is now lowered from 85% to 75%.

SB2398/Public Chapter 785: Outlines a relative caregiver program for foster care; authorizes the department to implement an extension of the foster care program to provide services to youth transitioning from state custody to adulthood. This bill reimburses eligible relatives of foster youth to support the cost of raising the child. It also expands eligibility to ages 18-21 for foster youth transitioning from state custody to adulthood to access services, according to the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus Deputy Press Secretary Zachary Clark.

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