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Dozens of New Tennessee Laws Took Effect on July 1st

July 1, 2022 not only marked the beginning of a new fiscal year, but it was also the date that many new laws will go into effect in Tennessee.

From the state budget to public safety measures, following is a list of key legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2022 that became law July 1.

From July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 Tennesseans will not have to pay the state’s annual license plate registration fee of $23.75.

This is a financial relief measure that will only benefit Tennesseans and not out-of-state residents who shop and do business in Tennessee.

Vendors in Tennessee are the state’s chief tax collectors, hiring the personnel, investing in the software and putting in the time to collect more than $11 billion every year for the state.

Until 2000, vendors were compensated for their trouble, but not since that year due to financial challenges the state was experiencing at the time.

A new measure restores compensation for vendors to collect tax to pre-2000 levels. Vendors receive 2% of the first $2,500 on each report, and $1.15% of amounts over $2,500 on each report.

EDUCATION

A new law was passed to ensure vendors that contract with schools comply with state law to prohibit pornography and obscene materials from school computers.

It requires vendors to take steps to block any inappropriate content on school computers. If a provider fails to comply with the new law, then a LEA may withhold further payments to the provider and ultimately consider non-compliance a breach of contract.

The law also requires each local board of education to establish a mechanism for parents to report a failure of the technology selected by the LEA to prevent access to harmful materials, and submit an annual report to the State Board of Education on the successes or failures of the technology.

A new law will require all school employees to be trained to detect and prevent human trafficking of children. Previously, only teachers were required to take the training.

Under this new law, all personnel that aren’t contractors, including bus drivers, janitors or cafeteria workers, will be required to undergo the same human trafficking training as teachers every three years.

Sometimes a bus driver or a janitor might be able to observe signs of abuse in students before a teacher.

This new law ensures other staff will have the training to know how to identify abuse and report it. The training course would be online and last roughly 45 minutes to an hour.

The General Assembly approved a new law to enforce legislation passed last year that prohibits biological males from participating in girls’ sports in public K-12 education institutions.

The new law requires the Tennessee Department of Education to withhold a portion of state funds from public middle or high schools that fail or refuse to uphold state law and instead allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports at public K-12 schools.

A new law requires greater consideration of student achievement in teacher evaluations. The measure lowers the teacher observation component of the evaluation from 50% to 40% and increases the student achievement component from 15% to 25% to more adequately measure the proficiency of students.

To address ongoing staffing challenges in schools, a new law allows retired members of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) to be reemployed as a K-12 teacher, K-12 substitute teacher, or as a K-12 bus driver without the loss or suspension of the retired member’s TCRS benefits.

Currently, retired members of TCRS may return to work, but only for a maximum of 120 days. This bill removes that limit and extends service to one year renewable annually, provided there are no other qualified applicants.

During the reemployment, retirement benefits would be reduced to 70 percent of the retirement allowance the member is otherwise entitled to receive, and the existing salary cap would be removed. The bill is effective from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2025.

To align with neighboring states, the General Assembly approved legislation to establish a 10-point grading scale for grades nine through 12 in schools statewide.

Tennessee is currently on a seven-point grading scale. Starting with the 2022-2023 school year and thereafter, the “A” letter grade corresponds to scoring a percentage between 90 and 100, the “B” grade is between 80 and 89, the “C” grade is between 70 and 79, the “D” grade is between 60 and 69, and the “F” grade is within the range of zero and 59.

The move will also generate additional scholarship recipients by lowering the threshold for an “A” grade from 93 to 90.

Overachieving students who graduate from high school early will now be eligible to receive the Tennessee Promise scholarship upon their early graduation, under a new law.

The Tennessee Promise Scholarship provides students a last-dollar scholarship, meaning the Tennessee Promise covers tuition and fees not covered by the Pell Grant, the HOPE scholarship, or TSAA funds.

A new law will expand the Ben Atchley Grant, which was established in the 1990s to provide financial assistance to disadvantaged students.

The new measure allows for-profit, private postsecondary institutions that are accredited and domiciled in Tennessee to be able to provide the grant to its students.

Just one college in the state, South College, which has locations in Knoxville and Nashville, meets these criteria.

The grants will be funded by a transfer of $2 million from the Tennessee Students Assistance Award, which sees $113 million each year, of which $103 million is spent.

CRIME

To protect victims of crime and provide true accountability for those who commit crimes, a new law requires a …………….

………………….FOR COMPLETE STORY, PLEASE READ 7/6/22 ISSUE OF THE REVIEW……………..

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