KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Several new laws, including a change to the legal age for tobacco use, a requirement that employers provide pregnant workers with reasonable accommodation, and the Holly Bobo Act come into effect January 1.
Here's a look at some of the laws:
- The legislation increases the minimum age for buying tobacco products to 21 years.
Starting January 1, the legal age for purchasing, owning, transporting, smoking, or consuming tobacco, hemp, or steam products will increase from 18 to 21. State law aligns Tennessee with federal law passed in December 2019.
The legal age for vaping and e-cigarette products is regulated by law. Any person under the age of 21 who, directly or indirectly, purchases or attempts to purchase smoking paraphernalia using a fake ID can bring charges.
- Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
The Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act sets clear guidelines for employers and pregnant workers. Reasonable accommodation is provided for pregnant workers with medical conditions, unless this would be a burden on the company.
Examples of accommodation include additional toilet breaks, temporary restrictions on lifting, reduced exposure to chemicals, reduced requirements for standing, and others. Civil lawsuits can be brought if the measures are not met.
The Holly Bobo Act expands Tennessee's Endangered Alert System to include missing or at-risk young adults under the age of 21. Bobo was abducted from her Decatur County home in 2011. She was never the subject of an AMBER alert. Her remains were found more than three years after she disappeared.
- Peer-to-peer car sharing scheme
Car sharing allows private car owners to rent out their vehicle, similar to peer-to-peer rental apartments like Airbnb. Legislation sets minimum insurance requirements and determines which party is responsible for insurance coverage.
- Sales tax transfer for marketplace agents
Companies that monitor a virtual marketplace, such as Uber, Amazon, Etsy or Walmart, must collect and transfer sales tax on behalf of marketplace sellers.
- Short-term transfer of rental property tax
A homeowner who uses his main residence as a short-term rental is not subject to trade tax. Taxes owed on short term property rentals are collected by the agent and transferred to the Tennessee Treasury Department.
- Avoiding arrest reimbursement for government agencies
The courts must direct a person who damages state property in the course of evading the arrest to provide a refund for the damaged property to the appropriate government agency.
- Ban on keeping pets for certain animal cruelty and abuse crimes
Courts can restrict or prohibit ownership of a companion animal by a person convicted of specific offenses against animals.
"The Volunteer State" will be the official nickname of the state of Tennessee.
A full list of the laws passed during last year's session of the 111th General Assembly can be found below.
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