182 new Tennessee laws take effect today, July 1, 2014. Here are a few notable updates:
Teachers and students may now wish each other a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” (Public Chapter 687)
-The cultural history of winter celebrations, including Christmas and Hanukkah, may now be taught by schools in Tennessee. Religious holiday symbols such as Christmas trees, nativity scenes, and menorahs may be displayed in schools as long as the display acknowledges more than one religious holiday and does not promote adherence to any of them.
Officials must have a warrant to search your cell phone (Public Chapter 785)
This bill has been in the works since April, but its passing was probably reinforced by the recent Supreme Court ruling that a warrant must be obtained to search the contents of your cell phone.
Forcible entry may be used to rescue a child from a locked, hot car (Public Chapter 788)
If you spot a child inside a hot car, you may use forcible entry to remove the child from the vehicle – but you must call 911 before doing so, and leave a note on the vehicle for the owner providing your contact information and the reason for entering their vehicle.
New limit on cold medication (Public Chapter 906)
Championed by Governor Bill Haslam in an attempt to rein in the state’s methamphetamine problem, this bill outlines a new restriction on the sales of pseudoephedrine. Tennesseans may purchase no more than 24 daylong tablets of a month (or 120 daylong tablets a year) of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine.
Judges can order transdermal monitoring devices for parolees (Public Chapter 567)
This law gives judges the authority to order offenders or parolees to wear monitoring devices, including transdermal monitoring devices, to test the drug or alcohol content of a released offender whose original conviction was related to being under the influence. This is called “Amelia’s Law” in honor of a Maryville teen who was killed in a head-on collision in 2012 by a repeat criminal offender who was out on parole.
Farming hemp is now legal for industrial use (Public Chapter 916)
Farmers in Tennessee may now grow hemp, a cousin to marijuana, and its fibers may be used for industrial use (i.e. to make rope).
How to get through a yellow light without getting a ticket (Public Chapter 989)
Drivers can proceed through an intersection as long as their front tires cross the white stop line before the light turns red.