NASHVILLE, TN (WMC) - The beginning of the new fiscal year is upon us in Tennessee and that means new laws take effect... 133 of them to be exact.
The laws range in everything from guns, traffic safety, immigration, abortion and more.
Gas tax increase
Of course, the largest one that has gained the most attention is the increase in gas tax. So, if you're planning to travel for the holiday weekend then you might plan a few extra bucks for gas. The gas tax will increase by $.04 cents. In return, taxes will be dropping at the grocery store checkout line. That could be good news for those who don't drive very often. You'll see some change saved in your pocket. But, for those who hit the roadways every day, lawmakers said the decrease in grocery tax will offset the increase in gas tax.
Remember the I-40 protest that shut down the interstate in Memphis one year ago? Incidents like those took place all over the state, and country, and one of those 133 new laws takes aim at actions like those.
The new law provides a stiffer penalty for those who block roadways and interstates, such as the interstate protest. However, of course, that depends on if police arrest the protesters.
The new law increases the fine by $150, raising it from $50 to $200 if an individual blocks an emergency vehicle such as a police car or ambulance. That changes the charge from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class B.
Following along the lines of highway safety, another law requires motorists to move over for any stopped vehicle on the side of the road. Currently, motorists are required to move over for emergency vehicles such as a patrol car, but beginning Saturday drivers will be required to change lanes and 'move over' for any motor vehicle that is stopped on the shoulder or in the medium if it has its emergency lights flashing.
When it comes to guns, there are changes there as well.
Public facilities will now be required to install new security systems or allow handgun permit holders to carry guns even if the facility has a posted sign prohibiting firearms. The exception to this law is public parks that are used by schools, school campuses, and libraries.
In addition, however, it now paves the path for individuals to file lawsuits based on the result of a business violating the law. If an individual is adversely affected, such as wounded or has a loved one wounded or killed, by a gun ordinance that violates the state law then that individual can file a lawsuit.
But, with summer upon us and boaters wanting to carry their guns on their boats, there are changes you should be aware of as well and that you may welcome. It's simple: You can do it. Gun owners can now carry guns on motorized boats and in recreational vehicles as long as the individual is in possession of the vehicle and is not banned from possessing a firearm. Firearms are not allowed on government boats.
In addition to the new gun laws, Tennesseans will now be allowed to possess, transport, repair or sell gun silencers and suppressors.
No abortion after 20 weeks
Another hot topic for Tennesseans has been abortion. The Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill, signed by Governor Bill Haslam, that prevents a doctor from performing an abortion if the woman is at least 20 weeks pregnant. Life threatening situations to the mother or a determination by the doctor that the fetus will not survive are exceptions to this law.
More bucks for teachers' school supplies
Teachers will also see more money being given to them for school supplies.
The current law allocates $200 for each teacher in a public school in K-12 for classroom supplies. But, that $200 is cut in half because $100 is pooled with all the teachers in the school and a committee chooses how it is spent. Therefore, only providing $100 for each teacher for supplies. The new law effective Saturday gives that $100 back to the teacher. It removes the requirement that half of that money be pooled and spent by a committee. Instead, it is given back to the individual teacher to use for the classroom.
Go ahead- display that American flag
Now, homeowners will have more control over their choice to display the American flag. Currently, Homeowner's Associations can determine, even restrict, a homeowner from displaying the American flag. But, that changes. Beginning July 1 a homeowner's association will not be able to make that determination or stop anyone from displaying the American flag or the flag of any United States military branch.