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TN Legislative Report: New Laws Effective Jan. 1

Dr. JOEY HENSLEY

State Senator, 28th District

A collection of bills passed this year will become effective on January 1, 2023. Among them is key legislation that provides tax relief to farmers.

That law exempts farmers from sales tax on items and services used for agriculture production, including building materials, repair services, and labor, among other expenses used in agriculture production.

The tax reduction totals $2.8 million, and does not include items such as automobiles, household appliances, or fuel used in vehicles that travel on public highways in the state.

Agriculture is the backbone of Tennessee’s economy, and it’s important to provide assistance to hardworking farmers who are dedicated to putting food on the tables of families across the region.

Eliminating this tax helps small family farms stay in the family for generations by lowering costs and making it easier for them to turn a profit.

Another new law helps support foster youth. This law reimburses eligible relatives of foster youth to support the cost of raising the child.

Doing so helps keep foster kids in their family without bringing them into state custody and experiencing the trauma that can occur.

The law also expands eligibility to ages 18-21 for foster youth transitioning from state custody to adulthood to access services.

Two other new laws offer consumer and privacy protections. One of them requires businesses that allow someone to sign up for a service or subscription online to provide a clear way to end or cancel the subscription without any additional steps.

If a company violates the act, then the individual who suffered a loss may bring civil action for damages.

The other law strengthens privacy protections for Tennessee homeowners who may not want their home address easily accessible.

The law allows homeowners to file a written request to the property assessor to have their first and last name appear as “unlisted” in the ownership field of online databases.

There have been instances where law enforcement officers, in particular deputies or police officers, have had individuals find out where they live and literally come to their homes. This law would help prevent situations like that from happening.

Another new law mandates annual human trafficking training.

The law requires the Department of Correction, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and the Department of Human Services are directed to work with a nonprofit charitable organization to provide mandatory training to the appropriate personnel on the identification, intervention, prevention and treatment of human trafficking victims.

The Tennessee General Assembly will convene January 10 to begin the 2023 session of the 113th General Assembly.

The state budget, tax relief, transportation, abortion, and improving care for children in state custody will be among the top issues addressed by the General Assembly.

I look forward to another productive year in the legislature.

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and wish you many blessings in the new year.

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