The 112th General Assembly has announced for 2022, and it was a very successful year. We have taken measures for Tennessee to be a better place to live, work and raise a family. I will go over the laws passed this session over the next few weeks.
Removing roadblocks to obtain a Commercial Driver License –To help alleviate the shortage of truck drivers in Tennessee, a new law expands eligibility for Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs) and creates a program within the Department of Safety to enable qualifying incarcerated individuals who will return to society to receive a CDL prior to or after their release.
It lowers the minimum age from 21 years old to 18 years old for people who can qualify for a CDL to drive in Tennessee. In addition, the law increases the resources and staff for the Department of Safety to allow for a quicker turnaround time for scheduling a commercial driving skills tests and will expand options for third party partners to conduct more commercial driving skills tests on the department’s behalf.
Because many local school districts are having a hard time obtaining school bus drivers, the law also provides more flexibility for school bus endorsement testing and ensures safer school bus drivers as well.
Consumers everywhere have felt the effects of the backlog in moving freight across the country. The American trucking association currently estimates that the United States is 80,000 truck drivers short, causing supply chain issues across Tennessee and the nation.
Reinstating work requirements for SNAP benefits – A new law reinstates work requirements in order for individuals to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the work requirements for SNAP benefits, which require able-bodied individuals between the ages of 18 and 49 to work, train or volunteer for at least 20 hours per week – were suspended. The new law also makes clear that any waivers to the work requirement issued by the Department of Human Services must have just cause.
Positioning Tennessee as a leader in blockchain technologies – A new law allows for the creation and recognition of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) in the state of Tennessee. A DAO is an organization represented by rules encoded as a computer program that is transparent, controlled by the organization members and not influenced by a central government. The law allows DAOs to engage in business in the state, while also positioning Tennessee as a hub for DAOs. Though DAOs are still in early phases of development, there are over $9.5 billion in DAO treasuries and over 5,000 DAOs across the world, with 1.3 million members. But most of these DAOs are not being formed in the United States. This bill seeks to provide clarity in the regulation in order to bring more of these DAOs to Tennessee.
COVID-19 liability protection — A new law extends for one year the Tennessee Recovery and Safe Harbor Act of 2020 – which provides COVID-19 liability protection to businesses, schools, churches and other entities – to July 1, 2023.
Consumer protection for subscription services — To ensure consumers are able to cancel online subscription services, a new law 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.
residential blasting — To address neighborhood concerns about residential blasting, a new law updates blasting requirements, including adding safety processes and protocols. The new law will lower vibrations, increase communications with the public, clean up and remove standards that have been on the books since 1975.
Travel Insurance – A new law clarifies existing regulation for travel insurance. It includes provisions offering savings to the consumer, and prohibits the automatic addition of travel insurance to a booking.
Cemetery Trust – A new law allows cemeteries with small trust funds to share banking and trustee costs with other cemetery trust funds, and also provides cemeteries with a more stable way to determine the amount allowed for dispersing earnings for maintenance expenses.
To contact Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, email email@example.com.