TENNESSEE LEGISLATURE -
A. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE:
1. PUB. CH. 876: “Expunction fee”:
i. This bill lowers the expunction fee from $350 to $180 for a defendant whose charge was dismissed due to successful completion of a pretrial diversion program.
2. PUB. CH. 951: “Guilty of Incest”:
i. This bill adds incest, as described in § 39-15-302, to Probation Conditions Discharge Expunction from official records, section 40-35-313(a)(1)(B)(ii)
ii. This bill prohibits a person charged with incest from participating in judicial diversion.
3. PUB. CH. 1018: “Juvenile Offenders - Expunctions”:
i. This bill provides for the expunction of records of certain juveniles for adjudications involving conduct that would constitute the offense of prostitution or aggravated prostitution if the conduct upon which the conviction is based was found to have occurred as a result of the person being a victim of human trafficking.
4. PUB. CH. 801: “Law Enforcement”:
i. This bill requires that each law enforcement agency ensure that, whenever a person is arrested and taken into custody by an officer, the person is asked whether that person is a parent or legal custodian of any children that will be left unattended by the person’s arrest.
ii. This amendment requires each law enforcement agency to develop policies and procedures for conduction welfare checks on any child identified as endangered.
5. PUB. CH. 934: “Sentencing – Henry’s Law”:
i. This bill requires that a person convicted for second degree murder resulting from unlawful distribution of schedule I or II drug where the victim is a minor by punished from within one range higher than the sentencing range otherwise appropriate for the person.
6. PUB. CH. 826: “Bounty Hunters”:
i. This bill removes the provisions for bounty hunters from other states and permits bounty hunting bounty hunting in this state only by an individual who:
1) Is an agent of a professional bondsman credentialed in this state;
2) Has successfully completed continuing education training in this state, and presents a pocket card certifying such training; and
3) Submits to a criminal history background check at the sheriff’s office at the county of the person’s residence in this state.
ii. This bill also requires, in addition to continuing education requirements, a person to complete training and pass an examination prior to beginning work if:
a. The bounty hunters will carry a club, stun gun, chemical spray, night stick, or firearm.
iii. Also, this bill prohibits bounty hunters from entering private property for the purpose of taking a person into custody without the express permission of the private property owner, unless accompanied by law enforcement.
B. CRIMINAL OFFENSES:
1. PUB. CH. 643: “Sexual Offenders”:
i. This amendment defines “playground” for purposes of sexual offender restrictions as any indoor or outdoor facility that is intended for recreation of children and owned by the state, a local government, or a not-for-profit organization.
2. PUB. CH. 586: “Order of Protection for Domestic Violence”:
i. This bill revises the procedure for protecting an alleged domestic abuse victim after a finding of probable cause of domestic abuse
ii. Under Present Law:
1) A court will issue a temporary order of protection if, at a respondent's initial appearance following an arrest for a crime involving domestic abuse, the court finds there is probable cause to believe the respondent either caused serious bodily injury to the alleged domestic abuse victim or used or displayed a deadly weapon. The order of protection may include any relief available under an ex parte order of protection; and
2) Any offender arrested for the offense of stalking, aggravated stalking, especially aggravated stalking, or domestic abuse must not be released within 12 hours of the time of arrest. The magistrate or other official duly authorized to release the offender (official) may, however, release the offender in less than 12 hours if the official finds that the offender is not a threat to the alleged victim. If the offender is released prior to the conclusion of the 12-hour period, the official must make all reasonable efforts to directly contact the victim and inform the victim that the person charged with the offense will be released prior to the conclusion of the 12-hour period.
iii. This bill revises the provisions described above in (1) so that following a finding of probable cause to believe the respondent either caused bodily injury to the alleged domestic abuse victim or displayed a deadly weapon, an official will no longer issue a temporary order of protection. Instead, unless the official finds that the offender no longer poses a threat to the alleged victim or public safety, the official will be required to impose the 12-hour hold period and victim notification requirements as described above in (2).
iv. Also, prior to the offender's release on bond, the official will issue a no contact order containing all of the bond conditions under present law that are applicable to the protection of a domestic abuse victim, which may include an injunction and firearm and alcohol prohibitions on the defendant.
3. PUB. CH. 547: “New home contractors”:
i. This bill revises provisions regarding conduct for which new home contractors and home improvement services providers may be liable.
ii. This bill makes “the owner did not provide written consent for the new home contractor or home improvement services provider to deviate from or disregard plans or specifications in the contract, causing substantial damage to owner’s property” a required element of the offense, instead of an instance of deviation.
iii. This bill specifies that “substantial damage” to the owner’s property occurs when the value of the new construction is less than the value had it been built in accordance with the plan and contract.
4. PUB. CH. 619: “Victim of Female Genital Mutilation”:
i. This bill requires district attorneys general to annually report the number of reports of a person who appeared to be suffering from or to have been a victim of female genital mutilation to the senate judiciary committee and the criminal justice committee of the house of representatives.
ii. This bill requires all hospitals, facilities, and healthcare practitioners to report incidents of female genital mutilation to the department of health, within 30 days of the date of treatment.
iii. This bill specifies that all data obtained from the incident reports will be confidential and may not be released to the public. The department must also compile an annual report of the incidents reported pursuant to this bill, which will be published with no personal identifying information.
5. PUB. CH. 1040: “Scheduling Controlled Substances”:
i. This bill revises the provisions regarding mitragynine and hydroxymitragynine to specifically provide that it is an offense to knowingly produce, manufacture, distribute, sell, offer for sale, or possess any capsule, pill, or other product composed of or containing any amount of Kratom, in its natural botanical form, or any capsule, pill, or other product composed of or containing any amount of mitragynine or hydroxymitragynine.
ii. This bill also specifies that the following are excluded from all schedules:
1) Non-narcotic substances excluded under federal regulations;
2) Chemical preparations exempted under federal regulations;
3) Veterinary anabolic steroid implant products excluded under federal regulations;
4) Prescription products exempted under federal regulations;
5) Anabolic steroid products exempted under federal regulations; and
6) Certain cannabis plant material, and products made from such material, that contain tetrahydrocannabinols and that are exempted under federal regulations.
iii. This bill also updates the chemical description of the substance listed under Schedule II as an immediate precursor to fentanyl. Fentanyl still remains a Schedule II substance.
6. PUB. CH. 1046: “DUI Monitoring Fund”:
i. This amendment requires the assessment of fees against persons who are convicted of certain offenses to be deposited in the electronic monitoring indigency funds.
7. PUB. CH. 995: “Second Degree Murder Classification”:
i. This bill expands the killing of another that results from the unlawful distribution of any Schedule I or II drug, to include the killing of another by unlawful distribution or unlawful delivery or unlawful dispensation of fentanyl or carfentanil, when those substances alone, or in combination with any scheduled controlled substance, including controlled substance analogs, are the proximate cause of the death of the user.
8. PUB. CH. 719: “Sexual Offenses against a child”:
i. This bill classifies the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a child as a violent sexual offense for purposes of the Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender Registration, Verification and Tracking Act of 2004, meaning that an offender must continue to comply with the registration, verification and tracking requirements for the life of that offender
ii. An amendment to present law removes the requirement to sentence a defendant convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child within ranges I-III of punishment, and instead provides that a defendant convicted of such an offense will be sentenced within the full range of punishment, regardless of the range for which the defendant would otherwise qualify.
9. PUB. CH. 898: “Sexual Offenders”:
i. Allows a sexual offender whose victim was a minor to obtain sexual offender treatment in a location that is within 1,000 feet of a school, child care facility, public park, playground, recreation center, or public athletic field.
10.PUB. CH. 855: “Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation”:
i. This bill makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a service provider of alcohol and drug services (service provider), an operator of an alcohol and drug treatment facility (ADTF), or a third party who provides any form of advertising or marketing services to a service provider or an ADTF operator to engage in any of the following:
1) Making a false or misleading statement or providing false or misleading information about provided products, goods, services, or geographical locations in its marketing or advertising materials;
2) Including on its website false or misleading information or electronic links, coding, or activation that surreptitiously directs the reader to another website; or
3) Entering into a contract with a marketing provider who generates referrals or leads for the placement of patients with a service provider or in an ADTF, unless the service provider or the ADTF operator discloses information, as included in the bill, to the prospective patient so that the patient can make an informed healthcare decision.
ii. Under this bill, it will be a violation of the prohibition on patient brokering and a Class E Felony for a service provider, ADTF operator, or third-party marketer to solicit, receive, or attempt to solicit or receive any sort of commission or kickback, or engage in or attempt to engage in a split-fee arrangement, in return for a referral or an acceptance or acknowledgement of treatment from a service provider or ADTF.
iii. Under this bill, it will be Class A misdemeanor for any licensed healthcare provider or licensed healthcare facility, with respect to alcohol and drug services, to knowingly:
1) Offer to pay a commission, benefit, bonus, rebate, kickback, or bribe, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, or engage in any split-fee arrangement, in any form whatsoever, to induce the referral of a patient or patronage to or from a provider or facility; in return for referring a patient or patronage to or from a provider or facility; in return for the acceptance or acknowledgement of treatment from a provider or facility; or aid, abet, or otherwise participate in the conduct prohibited above.
a. If a licensed provider or facility, with respect to alcohol and drug services, violated the provision above and the prohibited conduct involves 10 or more patients, but fewer than 20 patients, it will be a Class E felony. If the conduct involves 20 or more, it will be a Class D felony.
11.PUB. CH. 1025: “Juvenile Offenders – Sienna’s Law”:
i. This bill enacts “Sienna’s law” which establishes requirements for the disposition of children adjudicated delinquent for certain offenses
ii. Under present law, when a child is found to be a delinquent, the court may make any of various orders of disposition best suited to the child’s treatment, and welfare.
iii. This bill requires that a juvenile who is adjudicated delinquent for conduct that, if committed by an adult, would constitute one of the following offenses by committed to the department of children’s services for a period of not less than one year, or until the child’s nineteenth birthday, whichever date occurs first:
a. First degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide; and reckless homicide.
12.PUB. CH. 866: “Expectation of Privacy”:
i. This bill categorizes the illegal use of a telecommunication device by a minor as a delinquent act as follows:
1) Intentionally or knowingly, by use of a telecommunication device, creating, receiving, exchanging, sending, or possessing a photograph, video, or other material that shows a minor in a state of nudity is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor; and
2) Recklessly, by use of a telecommunication device, creating, receiving, exchanging, sending, or possessing a photograph, video, or other material that shows a minor in a state of nudity is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor.
ii. It is not a defense to illegal use of a telecommunication device by a minor that the minor creates, receives, exchanges, sends, or possesses a photograph, video, or other material that shows the minor in a state of nudity.
iii. This bill adds that an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, regardless of the location where a photograph is taken if:
1) The photograph is taken in a manner that would offend or embarrass a reasonable person; and
2) The photograph depicts areas of the individual's body, clothed or unclothed, that would not be visible to ordinary observation but for the offensive or embarrassing manner of photography.
13. PUB. CH. 993: “Organized Crime”:
i. This bill revises various provisions of the Organized Retail Crime Prevention Act. It adds an enhanced penalty for a defendant who exercised organizational, supervisory, financial, or management authority over the activity of one or more other persons in furtherance of the offense.
ii. Under this bill, a violation by such a defendant will be punished one classification grade higher than the underlying theft offense.
iii. Also, under this bill, any person or merchant who knowingly provides false information in response to the reporting requirements of this bill commits a Class A misdemeanor.
14.PUB. CH. 970: “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act”:
i. This amendment changes present law by creating a general requirement that, in order to use a drone to search for and collect evidence or obtain information or other data, law enforcement must first obtain a search warrant or there must be a judicially recognized exception to the warrant requirement at the time of use.
ii. This amendment expands on the present law creating a cause of action for persons who are aggrieved by misuse of a drone by law enforcement by specifying that any such person may seek all appropriate relief, including injunctive relief, destruction of the evidence, information or other data obtained, damages, and reasonable attorney fees.
iii. This amendment adds to present law by specifying that all use of drones by law enforcement must comply with applicable FAA rules, exemptions, or other authorizations.
15.PUB. CH. 961: “DUI Offenses”:
i. This bill revises the "implied consent" law regarding breath and blood tests to check the drug or alcohol content in a person.
ii. This bill adds that the operator's consent is not required to administer a blood test when exigent circumstances exist.
iii. This bill deletes the Class A misdemeanor offenses for intentional refusal, prevention, or obstruction of the administration of a breath test or blood test described in (1)-(4), including the enhanced penalty that requires a mandatory minimum five-day sentence for committing the offense while driving on a license that was revoked, suspended, or cancelled due to a prior conviction.
iv. However, this bill makes the present law requirement that a motor vehicle operator who refuses the breath test after being arrested and advised of the consequences for refusal be charged with violating the implied consent law and subject to suspension of the operator's driver license applicable to refusal to submit to a blood test under the same circumstances.
v. This bill clarifies that imposition of a requirement to only operate a motor vehicle that is equipped with an ignition interlock for refusal to submit to a breath or blood test will only apply when the operator is a repeat offender.
16.PUB. CH. 1019: “Promotion of Prostitution”:
i. This bill adds that promoting prostitution will be punishable as trafficking for a commercial sex act (Class A or B felony) when the victim has an intellectual disability.
17.PUB. CH. 925: “Punishment for the Assaultive Offenses”:
i. This bill revises the punishment for the assaultive offenses under certain circumstances; revises provisions governing the reporting of conduct by an inmate against a correctional officer, guard, jailer, or other full-time employee of a penal institution, local jail, or workhouse, that would constitute an assault.
ii. This bill deletes the provisions that make aggravated assault against an employee of a transportation system a Class A misdemeanor so that such assaults will be classified in the same manner as if committed against any other victim.
18.PUB. CH. 557: “Education”:
i. This bill prohibits alterations to a student's transcript unless the LEA, charter school, or virtual school has written policy governing transcript alterations; prohibits an LEA from retaliating against an employee who brings unauthorized transcript alterations to the attention of school officials; provides penalty for violation.
19.PUB. CH. 861: “Medical Licenses”:
i. This bill requires persons subject to licensure as emergency personnel to notify the emergency medical services board of convictions and pending charges of commission of a felony or misdemeanor within 10 business days of the occurrence of such actions.
20.PUB. CH. 914: “Stolen Valor Act”:
i. Under this bill, a person commits criminal impersonation who, with the intent to obtain money, property, services, or any other tangible benefit, pretends to be an active duty member or veteran of uniformed service by:
1) Wearing the uniform, rank, medals, devices, or insignia of a uniformed service of which the person is not a member or veteran or to which the person has not earned or been awarded; or
2) Presenting false identification, documentation, or certification; or
3) If a person fraudulently represents to another, or misleads another to believe, that the person is the recipient of a military rank, medal, device, insignia, award, decoration, ribbon, tab, or other service recognition that the person has not received or earned.
ii. The offense created by this bill is a Class A misdemeanor and all proceeds from the fines imposed for a conviction must be paid into the state general fund and an amount equal to the fine revenue be allocated to assist in veteran property tax relief, subject to the general appropriations act, subject to the approval of the commissioner of finance and administration and the state veterans' homes board with the approval of the governor.
21.PUB. CH. 748: “Counterfeit Airbags”:
i. Under present law, any person who knowingly installs or reinstalls any object in lieu of an airbag that was designed in accordance with federal safety regulations for the make, model and year of the vehicle as part of the vehicle inflatable restraint system is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
ii. This bill rewrites the above provisions and establishes the following Class E felonies:
1) A person knowingly manufacturing, importing, installing, reinstalling, distributing, selling, or offering for sale any device intended to replace a supplemental restraint system component (SRS) in any motor vehicle, if the device is a counterfeit SRS, nonfunctional airbag, or device that does not meet federal motor vehicle safety standards; and
2) A person knowingly selling, installing, or reinstalling in a vehicle, any device that causes the vehicle's diagnostic systems to fail to warn when the vehicle is equipped with a counterfeit SRS or nonfunctional airbag, or when no airbag is installed.
22.PUB. CH. 598: “Victim Notification Requirements”:
i. This bill updates victim notification requirements and procedures to reflect establishment of electronic victim notification system instead of by written action.
C. PUBLIC RECORDS:
1. PUB. CH. 613: “Confidentiality of Records”:
i. This bill adds records of human trafficking service providers to present law exceptions to the open record law for certain records of domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers.
2. PUB. CH. 799: “Mental Illness”:
i. This bill requires that the instant check unit of the TBI to contact chief law enforcement officer of a jurisdiction where a person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or judicially committed to a mental institution attempts to purchase a firearm.
ii. Present law requires certain healthcare facilities and professional to report to local law enforcement certain identifying information concerning patients who are involuntarily committed; who communicate a credible, actual threat of serious bodily harm or death against a reasonably identifiable victim(s).
a. This amendment specifics that all such reports must include the patient’s or defendant’s (1) race and sex; and (2) social security number if available.
1. PUB. CH. 708: “Exclusion from trials”:
i. Under this bill, an out-of-court statement made by a child who is under 12 years of age at the time of a criminal trial describing any sexual act performed by, with, or on the child or describing any act of physical violence directed against the child will not be excluded from evidence at the criminal trial as hearsay if all the following apply:
1) The court finds that the totality of the circumstances surrounding the making of the statement provides particularized guarantees of trustworthiness that make the statement at least as reliable as statements admitted under certain rules of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence. This bill lays out in detail the circumstances a court must consider in making a determination of the reliability;
2) The child's testimony is not reasonably obtainable by the proponent of the statement. This bill details the circumstances in which a child's testimony is not reasonably obtainable;
3) Independent proof exists of the sexual act or act of physical violence; and
4) At least ten 10 days before the trial or hearing, a proponent of the statement has notified all other parties in writing of the content of the statement, the time and place at which the statement was made, the identity of the witness who is to testify about the statement, and the circumstances surrounding the statement that are claimed to indicate trustworthiness of the statement.
ii. This bill requires the court to make the findings required by this bill on the basis of a hearing conducted outsider the presence of the jury, and to make findings of fact on the record as to the bases of the ruling.