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New bills filed in Tennessee General Assembly

As the 113th General Assembly reconvened in Nashville last week for the start of its second legislative session, Representative Dan Howell release

As the 113th General Assembly reconvened in Nashville last week for the start of its second legislative session, Representative Dan Howell released a legislative update with a review of some of the bills filed so far. 


The General Assembly will explore a proposal from Gov. Bill Lee that would expand school choice statewide through the Education Freedom Scholarship Act. The Governor says the legislation would give families more control over how their tax dollars are used for their child’s education.


House Bill 1640, sponsored by House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, would require criminal defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial to be committed to an appropriate treatment facility. Current state law does not provide this requirement.


The legislation would additionally require individuals deemed incompetent to stand trial to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which serves as a namecheck database of people prohibited from buying or owning firearms.


House Bill 1614, sponsored by House Finance, Ways and Means Chair Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain, seeks to restrict children from explicit adult content by requiring online media companies and operators to require age verification for access.


Known as the Protect Tennessee Minors Act, the bill would require companies to match a photograph of an active user to a photograph on a valid form of identification issued in the United States. The legislation would create a Class C felony for website owners and operators convicted of violating the law. The Tennessee Department of Homeland Security would be responsible for enforcing compliance with the law.


House Bill 1641 would make it a Class A misdemeanor for an individual who is out on bond to violate the conditions of their release. This change would allow law enforcement to arrest an individual who is suspected of violating the conditions of their release instead of having to wait for the district attorney’s office to file a motion and schedule a court hearing which could take weeks.


House Bill 1637, sponsored by State Rep. Greg Martin, R-Hixson, would make the retail sale of diapers, infant formula, and baby wipes tax-free from July 1 to June 30, 2025.


House Bill 1663 will strengthen existing state law by increasing the penalty for rape or aggravated rape of a child to a Class A felony Range III, which carries a 40-60 years prison sentence. Current law classifies the offense as a Class A felony offense punishable by 25-40 years imprisonment.


The Bill filing deadline is approaching.  The deadline for the 2024 legislative session is Wednesday, Jan. 31. As of Thursday, a total of 250 bills had already been filed in the House.