Photo: Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) presides over the House Floor Session on January 13, 2022 Photo Credit: capitol.tn.gov
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
With the Tennessee General Assembly back in session in Nashville, many bills have been unveiled that will be discussed over the next few months. Following are some of the bills that have been made public that Conservatives in Tennessee may want to keep an eye on.
Representative Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill-District 92)
House Bill 1639 (HB1639) would prohibit the state or its political subdivisions from taking certain actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic including: Requiring a person to wear a face covering, Requiring a private business entity to close or limit capacity, Restricting a person’s freedom to assemble peaceably, Restricting a person’s freedom to travel, Requiring a person to show proof of vaccination for the COVID-19 virus, Requiring a person to show proof of a COVID-19 antibody test or Restricting, segregating, or diminishing services or any freedom to receive or provide services, in a government-owned, -operated, or -funded facility.
At the time of this article’s publication, the bill has been assigned to the Departments & Agencies subcommittee.
House Bill 1714 (HB1714) enacts the Verify Our Tennessee Elections (VOTE) Act. The bill would require county election commissions to conduct a forensic audit, canvassing, and review of the chain of custody of ballots and equipment from the 2020 general election for purposes of determining the accuracy of the election results for the president of the United States and for each United States congressional election. At the time of this article’s publication, the bill has been introduced.
Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville-District 9)
Senate Bill 1674 (SB1674) seeks to extend eligibility for an education savings account to students zoned to attend a school in an LEA that, at any time during the three-year period immediately preceding September 1, 2025, or thereafter, did not offer students 180 days of in-person learning each school year due to COVID-19 or that voluntarily imposed a mask mandate in response to COVID-19 and that voluntarily refused to allow parents and guardians to opt their students out of the mask mandate.
At the time of this article’s publication, the bill was passed on first and second consideration and has been placed on the Senate Education Committee’s calendar for January 19th, 2022.
Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris-District 75)
House Bill 1662 (HB1662) – Griffey’s new bill aims to reestablish trust in Tennessee elections by establishing a verifiable paper trail for every ballot cast in the Volunteer state, thereby alleviating concerns that election results could be tampered with digitally. At the time of this article’s publication, the bill has been assigned to the Elections and Campaign Finance Subcommittee.
House Bill 1650 (HB1650) – Griffey’s new bill aims to repeal Tennessee’s IMPROVE Act to save Tennesseans money at the gas pump. HB1650 targets Tennessee’s IMPROVE Act that, since its introduction in 2017, has gradually increased the gas tax from 20 cents in 2017 to 26 cents in 2019. The tax on diesel under the Act was also raised by 10 cents per gallon. At the time of this article’s publication, the bill has introduced.
House Bill 1634 (HB1634) seeks to require county election officials to include three non-binding questions related to the legalization of marijuana on the November 2022 ballot. Additionally, it would require the secretary of state to compile the results of the public policy opinion poll and forward the results to the members of the general assembly. At the time of this article’s publication, the bill has been assigned to the Elections and Campaign Finance Subcommittee.
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Representative David Byrd (R-Waynesboro-District 71)
House Bill 1664 (HB1664) as introduced, prohibits posting an internet review about a business that is factually false with the intent to defraud the public. Under the Tennessee Code which defines unfair or deceptive acts, this bill would create a Class B misdemeanor resulting in a maximum of 6 months in jail and fines up to $500. At the time of this article’s publication, the bill has been assigned to the Banking and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee.
Representative Mark Hall (R-Cleveland-District 24)
House Bill 1735 (HB1735) seeks to lower the age requirement to obtain an enhanced or concealed handgun carry permit or lawfully carry a handgun in public from 21 to 18 years of age. Additionally, the bill states that the statutory authorization to transport or store a firearm or firearm ammunition in a motor vehicle under certain circumstances does not apply to a person under 21 years of age in a parking area that is owned, operated, or while in use by any school, unless the person is at least 18 years of age and meets certain military qualifications.
At the time of this article’s publication, the bill has been introduced.
Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga-District 10)
Senate Bill 1670 (SB1670) would require that all school personnel, instead of only teachers, be trained at least once every three years on the detection, intervention, prevention, and treatment of human trafficking in which the victim is a child. At the time of this article’s publication, the bill was passed on first and second consideration and has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.
Representative Chris Hurt (R-Halls-District 82)
House Bill 1690 (HB1690) seeks to restrict the ability to sell, purchase, or possess products containing intoxicating cannabinoids derived from hemp to persons who are 21 years of age or older. Additionally the bill would require that retailers and wholesalers of products containing hemp-derived cannabinoids be licensed and levies a privilege tax at rate of 6.6 percent on wholesale sale of products containing hemp-derived cannabinoids. At the time of this article’s publication, the bill has been introduced.
If you would like to contact your Tennessee legislators about these bills or any other issues, you can find them HERE.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com