New Year brings changes to some Tennessee laws - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New Year brings changes to some Tennessee laws

For many, there is a lot to celebrate about 2008. Every Tennessean can ring in the new year looking forward to a small tax cut.

It's not much, but beginning January 1st, the state will lower the grocery tax by a half-percent. That will save the average shopper about seven dollars a year.

The new year will also mark the start of increased penalties for crimes committed with guns. The Crooks With Guns Law requires a mandatory additional sentence of three to ten years for violent crimes committed while armed.

A local group, Citizens Against Crime, helped fight for the bill after a violent rape in the Chickasaw Gardens area. The group says the suspects would not have been out on the streets if it was already law.

Tennessee will also start the new year by testing the DNA of every person arrested for violent crimes.

Also, businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers will have to pay.
"If you hire someone who should not be working in the state of Tennessee, we're increasing their fines even with the threat of removing their license to conduct business in the state," State Representative Beth Harwell said.

Another new law will help fight identity theft. State businesses can no longer put social security numbers in mailings.

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