There are over 140 new laws on the books for 2019 that go into effect today. The big one of course is no cell phone use while driving.

House amendment 1 (006464) prohibits physically holding or supporting, with any part of a person’s body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is lawfully parked. Authorizes use of an earpiece, headphone device, wrist device or mounting device. Exempts employers or contractors of utility services providers, public safety officers, law enforcement, and emergency personnel within the scope of their employment and persons who are lawfully parked in their motor vehicles from the above punishments

Some other laws that go into effect today.

Human Life Protection Act.
Declares abortion in the state of Tennessee to be an illegal act and the performance of an abortion resulting in a Class C felony. Establishes exceptions to this rule only in the event that a licensed physician determines that the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of a pregnant woman or cause substantial and irreversible damage to the pregnant woman, where neither the woman nor physician will be prosecuted. Specifies that the act would only go into effect in the case of the United States Supreme court overturning Roe v. Wade, as modified by Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Case, or by adoption of an amendment to
the United States Constitution which restores the authority to prohibit abortion to the states.

Ministers ordained online will no longer be able to perform marriages.

The Tennessee Sports Gaming act will allow online gambling, but a regulatory board still needs to be put together.

Death Penalty cases will automatically be sent to the state supreme court for review, even if the defendant doesn’t ask for one.

Public electric scooters will now fall under the same DUI laws as other vehicles.

Penalties are increased for a drive by shooting if the victim is a minor.

Increases from over $30,000 to over $50,000 the amount of gross contributions that must be raised or received from the public by a charitable organization in order to trigger registration and reporting requirements with the secretary of state.

Vape products can no longer be used anywhere smoking is banned such as schools, child care centers, and group homes.

Mandatory minimum 30 day sentence for theft of a firearm.

Increased the prohibited distance from a school, child care facility, public park, recreation enter, or former victim’s residence that a violent sexual offender can knowingly establish a residence from 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet. Adds restriction that if the offender has been convicted of a sexual offense or violent sexual offense where the victim was a child under 12 years of age, then the offender may not conduct an overnight visit at a residence in which a minor resides or is present.

Clerks required to report the race, sex, and social security number of a person judicially committed for mental illness to the FBI-NCIS index and department of safety to determine
eligibility for person to purchase firearms. Requires such information to be confidential.

Prohibit certain persons voluntarily admitted to a mental health treatment facility from possessing a firearm.

Sexual offender registration and monitoring.
Makes an offender sentenced pursuant to judicial diversion eligible for removal from the sex offender registry upon completion of judicial diversion.

Illegal use of narcotics while pregnant.
Authorizes assault prosecution for illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant if the child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug. Provides addiction recovery program
enrollment while pregnant and successful completion of the program as an affirmative defense.

Created a concealed handgun carry permit, which allows a person to carry a concealed handgun. Re-designates the existing handgun carry permit as an enhanced handgun carry

Expanded career and technical education to grades six through twelve. Program must be available to all students in grades six through twelve, with the program serving at least 50 percent of those students. Requires board of career and technical education to plan facilities for comprehensive career and technical training for middle school.

Board of education to adopt a policy where an adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) assessment must be done before expelling, suspending, assigning in-school suspension, or ordering a student to attend another school. Establishes reports of suspension and expulsion must include and consider ACE assessments. The LEA is required to conduct an ACE assessment when considering disciplinary action if one has not been made within one calendar year.

Local boards of education required to adopt policies to allow for a parent of a student to request photo or video collected from a camera installed on a school bus if the parent or
student reports harm, harassment, or bullying has taken place while the student was being transported on the school bus. Specifies that the policies must require that photos or video
footage be viewed under supervision of the director of schools, the school principal, or a school official.

Students required to pass a civics test to receive a full diploma upon graduation from high school. Requires LEAs to include all 100 questions from the United States civics test, instead
of only 25 to 50 questions, on the civics test prepared by the LEA. Increases from 70 to 75 the percentage of questions a student must correctly answer in order to pass the civics test.

Middle college scholarship increased from $600 to $1000 dollars.

Stepparent visitation: Declares that in the event a stepparent or former petitions for visitation with the stepchild or former stepchild, the court shall set a hearing for visitation if a parent of custodian opposes the visitation, by the circumstance of a divorce or court of another state declares visitation,amongst others. The court has the responsibility to determine the rule on visitation by examining emotional ties and presence of danger, amongst others.

When joint primary custody is granted, either parent’s address now works for school registration.

Minimum age for marriage license set at 17 with parental consent.

Required daylight savings time as the standard time of the state. Specifies the new time will go into effect on the first Sunday of November after the United States Congress repeals or amends current law to authorize states to observe daylight saving time year-round. Orders the commissioner of transportation to monitor and certify in writing to the executive secretary of the Tennessee code commission the date of the changed legislation.

Makes a class B misdemeanor to misrepresent animal as a service animal for a disability to a landlord or during a rental agreement negotiation if false documents are provided to landlord.

Authorized registration of certain off-highway vehicles at most four passengers as Class I vehicles for operation on county roads.

Prevented driver’s license suspension for failure to pay fines or costs imposed for a driving offense if the person is indigent or enters into payment plan. Requires person be issued
restricted driver license until moneys owed the court are fully paid.

Video from school buses that show vehicles illegally passing stopped school buses may now be used to investigate the incident if video is submitted by LEA to local law enforcement. All fines generated in this manner would be sent to the school system to be used as they see fit.