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New Laws in 2020

The Tennessee General Assembly has passed several new laws that are now in effect as of January 1, 2020. The bulk of the laws expand existing statutes with additional language that enhances the scope of the rights and protections of citizens. Knoxville’s NBC affiliate WBIR provides a review of these new laws below:


Highlights of New Laws

Starting Jan. 1, 18 new laws will take effect in Tennessee. Legislators passed laws to address opioid abuse, protect elderly people from abuse and much more.

Here’s a closer look at the laws that may impact you and your family the most:


Tennessee  gun owners will have a second option when applying for handgun permits. A "concealed only" gun permit is now available. It allows permit  holders to carry a weapon if it is concealed.  This new permit is in addition to what was previously the only handgun permit in Tennessee, which lets people either open-carry or concealed-carry. That permit is now called, "an enhanced gun permit."  The enhanced gun permit costs $100, an 8-hour hands on class and some  other background check requirements. The concealed only permit costs $35  less and only requires a 90-minute training course with no hands-on  component.

A new  law to stop opioid abuse begins in 2020. Now, any prescription for an  opioid must be issued as an electronic prescription from the doctor. The  deadline for pharmacists to update software to comply with the new law is  Jan. 1, 2021.


People  now have the "Right to Shop" around when it comes to health care. This new law requires health insurance companies to show the prices  of services before treatment, so patients know what their out-of-pocket costs are upfront. Companies must now list prices for services ranging from x-rays and MRI's  to physical therapy.


Prosecutors  are now able to do more to protect the elderly in Tennessee. Starting  today, prosecutors will soon be able to charge someone with felony murder if a person dies as the result of aggravated neglect of an elderly person.   Lawmakers say it is a small but significant change that could bring more  abusers to justice.


A new law allows state employees' proton therapy to be covered by state insurance. Proton therapy is a form of cancer treatment that claims to be more accurate and efficient, with less risk. It is used for cancers of the brain, lung, breast and neck.




School Transportation

As enacted, reduces the age required for a person to receive an initial school bus endorsement from 25 to 23 if the person is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States armed forces, a member of the national guard or reserves, or a licensed teacher employed by an LEA. - Amends TCA Title 49 and Title 55.


As enacted, changes the date from Oct. 1 of each year to April 15 of each year, by which assessors in counties, other than counties with a metropolitan form of government, must file that year's property maps with the register of deeds. - Amends TCA Section 67-5-806.

Codes - Required Certifications

As enacted, beginning January 1, 2020, requires electrical inspectors employed by a municipality, a county, or Tennessee to be certified by the state fire marshal; establishes a recertification process for such electrical inspectors every three years; requires certain electrical inspectors under contract with the commissioner of commerce and insurance to be certified on and after January 1, 2020. - Amends TCA Title 68.

Contractors - Required Continuing Certifications

As enacted, establishes continuing education requirements for residential contractors. - Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 5 and Title 62, Chapter 6.

State Employees - Healthcare Options for Spouses

As enacted, extends continued health coverage to the surviving spouses and children of park rangers who are killed in the line of duty to the same extent as survivors of other first responders who are killed in the line of duty. - Amends TCA Title 7; Title 8; Title 11 and Title 58.

Insurance, Health, Accident - New Cancer Therapy Available

As enacted, enacts the "Proton Therapy Access Act." - Amends TCA Title 8; Title 56 and Title 71.

Process, Service Of

As enacted, revises provisions governing identifying the person who makes service of process. - Amends TCA Section 16-15-901. 

Consumer Protection - Travel

As enacted, requires travel promoters to use trust accounts to avoid commingling their funds with customer funds that are held for disbursement for payment of travel services. - Amends TCA Title 47 and Title 62.

Employees, Employers

As enacted, revises provisions governing the determination of whether an employer-employee relationship exists in certain employment arrangements. - Amends TCA Title 50.

Consumer Protection-Healthcare

As enacted, enacts the "Healthcare Billing Clarity Act." - Amends TCA Title 33; Title 47, Chapter 18; Title 56; Title 63; Title 68 and Title 71.

Pensions and Retirement Benefits

As enacted, makes police officers and firefighters who are members of the state retirement system eligible for service retirement upon completion of 25 years of creditable service. - Amends TCA Title 8, Chapter 34; Title 8, Chapter 35; Title 8, Chapter 36 and Title 8, Chapter 37.

Insurance Companies, Agents, Brokers, Policies

As enacted, enacts the "Tennessee Right to Shop Act." - Amends TCA Title 8; Title 33; Title 56; Title 63 and Title 68.

New Laws, continued


Taxes, Real Property

As enacted, expands the definition of agricultural land for purposes of greenbelt property tax program to include two non-contiguous tracts of land within the same county totaling at least 15 acres and split only by a road, body of water, or public or private easement. - Amends TCA Title 67, Chapter 5, Part 10.

Protecting the Elderly

As enacted, enacts the "Elderly and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act of 2019." - Amends TCA Title 39; Title 40 and Title 71.

Highways, Roads & Bridges

As enacted, changes the requirements for the operation of horse-drawn vehicles on state highways. - Amends TCA Title 55, Chapter 9, Part 4.

Handgun Permits

As enacted, creates a concealed handgun carry permit, which allows a person to carry a concealed handgun; redesignates the existing handgun carry permit as an enhanced handgun carry permit. - Amends TCA Title 10; Title 33; Title 38 and Title 39.

Professions & Occupations Credits

As enacted, allows certain persons who receive certified occupational training as a prisoner or a student in a high school technical training class to receive an equivalent credit toward an occupational license relating to the training received. - Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 6, Part 1; Title 37; Title 38; Title 41; Title 49; Title 62 and Title 63.

Firefighters-Grants for Equipment

As enacted, creates a program managed by the commissioner of commerce and insurance to annually award grants to volunteer fire departments for the purchase of firefighting equipment or to meet local match requirements for federal grants for the purchase of firefighting equipment and training. - Amends TCA Title 68, Chapter 102.