NASHVILLE – Several key laws sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) will take effect on January 1 as the new year begins.
This includes major legislation implementing a statewide electronic tracking system to curb meth production in the state.
The system, called NPLEx (National Precursor Log Exchange), will monitor and block illegal purchases of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE), a key ingredient in methamphetamine production.
“Meth is a growing and costly scourge on too many communities in our state,” said Senator Beavers, prime sponsor of the bill.
“While it robs users of their health and cognitive abilities, it robs children of any chance of a normal childhood. Meanwhile, the byproducts of the drug’s production are quickly and quietly ravaging our environment. This new law is a huge step in attacking the meth problem we face in Tennessee.”
Previously, there was no mechanism in place in Tennessee to block illegal PSE sales in real time, with pharmacies and retailers having to rely on handwritten, paper logbooks to track purchases. As a result, criminals learned to circumvent the system.
The new law requires that as of January 1, 2012, all pharmacies must use NPLEx, which exports the data to law enforcement. NPLEx must have a stop sale mechanism in place by that time for potential purchasers over the allowable purchase limit and anyone on the meth offender registry.
Another key law co-sponsored by Beavers set to take effect January 1 requires the testing of a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level in cases where the driver has previously been convicted of a DUI or when there is a child present in the vehicle.
Tennessee’s DUI law already requires BAC testing when there is serious bodily injury to a victim or death. This measure simply puts these two additional conditions into the law when testing must be performed, whether or not the driver consents. The test results may be offered into evidence, subject to the rules of evidence.
Also set to take effect as the 2012 year begins is a new law co-sponsored by Senator Beavers to enhance the voting procedure for those serving in the military by ensuring Tennesseans abroad who do not receive their official ballot in time can participate in an election.
Tennessee ranks among the top states in the nation in the number of military personnel. The new law requires that the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot is accepted for all elections in which a person is eligible to vote; and may be used simultaneously for registration and an absentee ballot request.