A new law designed to eventually iron out some of the problems with Tennessee's current voting procedures went into effect Tuesday, Jan. 1.
Before a person can vote in Tennessee, they must have a form of identification that includes a photo. Several types of ID cards are permissible, but typically a driver's license is the most common.
The law, sponsored by Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, requires Tennessee residents 60 years of age or older to have a photo on their driver's license. The law replaces one that exempted senior citizens from the photo requirement in the past.
"We went back and researched the law and could not find a reason why they were exempted, so we decided to close the gap and make it the same for everyone," Tracy said.
But seniors who don't have a photo on their license before Jan. 1 will not be required to get one.
A second new law is designed to help displaced workers find jobs.
This law will allow jobless workers to receive on the job training at private com-panies, while still receiving their unemployment benefits for eight weeks. Companies providing the training can hire the retrained worker for a full-time job, all while being eligible for state grants.
This measure is similar to a law already in effect in Georgia and benefits both workers and employers.
Another important new law requires all newborn babies in Tennessee to be screened for serious heart defects. Congenital heart defects are blamed for more infant deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defect.
Also going into effect is a law that bans abortion-inducing drugs such as RU-486 from being prescribed remotely or through teleconferencing. The physician is required to be physically present with the pregnant woman.
Another measure that went into effect Jan. 1 includes a measure to curb prescription drug abuse by requiring doctors to check a controlled-substance database before prescribing certain drugs like Oxycontin.