New Laws Take Effect In Tennessee

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Several new laws take effect in Tennessee beginning today, including one which requires commercial breeders of companion animals be licensed by the commissioner of agriculture and another which requires persons who received unemployment benefits by making false claims to repay the amount received.

HB 0386: Animals and Animal Cruelty - As enacted, enacts the "Commercial Breeder Act." - Amends TCA Title 47, Chapter 18, Part 1; Title 39, Chapter 14, Part 2; and Title 44, Chapter 17.

Bill Summary

(1) Creates new criminal offenses regarding the commercial breeding of companion animals;
(2) Requires commercial breeders to become licensed by the commissioner of agriculture; and
(3) Specifies that certain actions by a commercial breeder would also be deemed to be a violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977.

HB 0151: Controlled Substances - As enacted, requires each practice site where a controlled substance is dispensed to provide for electronic access to the controlled substance database at all times when the dispenser provides health care services to a human patient potentially receiving a controlled substance; a violation is punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed $100 a day assessed against the prescriber or the pharmacy. - Amends TCA Title 53.

HB 0472: Safety - As enacted, provides that a contract having an automatic renewal clause between an alarm systems contractor and any homeowner or renter for the provision of alarm services may automatically be renewed for a period not to exceed one year at a time; provides that at any time during a contractual renewal period, a party to the contract who is being relocated to a hospital, nursing home, or assisted living facility may cancel the contract by giving 30 days' written notice to the alarm systems contractor. - Amends TCA Title 62, Chapter 32.

HB 1438: Insurance, Motor Vehicles - As enacted, creates the Tennessee automobile insurance plan; requires all insurance companies licensed to write direct automobile liability policies in this state to be members of the plan. - Amends TCA Title 55, Chapter 12, Part 1.

Bill Summary

Present law requires the commissioner of commerce and insurance to establish a reasonable assigned risk plan for the apportionment among automobile insurance companies of applicants for policies who are in good faith entitled to, but are unable to, procure the policies through ordinary methods.

This bill requires that the commissioner "approve" rather than "establish" an assigned risk plan. This bill also authorizes automobile insurance companies that participate in the assigned risk plan to employ persons to handle claims and perform other duties of the plan.

HB 1756: Public Health - As enacted, places certain requirements on Davidson and Shelby county health departments in regard to grants for funding of family planning programs; removes the specific reference to consultation and coordination with planned parenthood affiliates in the development of family planning programs that are administered by the department. - Amends TCA Section 68-34-105.

HB 2249: Courts - As enacted, requires courts to collect to order the collection and reporting of certain information regarding individuals who have been adjudicated as a mental defective or judicially committed to a mental institution; clarifies that a person may not obtain a handgun carry permit if the person has been "judicially committed to a mental institution" instead of "committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution"; requires that certain notice be provided to persons detained for evaluation or treatment; revises various related provisions. - Amends TCA Title 4; Title 8; Title 16; Title 33; Title 38; Title 39; Title 40; Title 49; Title 54; Title 55 and Title 65.

Bill Summary

The bill requires courts in which commitments to a mental institution are ordered pursuant to present law regarding mental health services or security units and forensic services, or in which persons are adjudicated as mental defective, to enter a standing and continuing order instructing the clerk to collect and report January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1, of every year beginning January 1, 2010, the following information regarding individuals who have been adjudicated as a mental defective or judicially committed to a mental institution:

(1) Complete name and all aliases of the individual judicially committed, including, but not limited to, any names that the individual may have had or currently has by reason of marriage or otherwise;
(2) Case or docket number of the judicial commitment or the adjudication as a mental defective;
(3) Date judicial commitment ordered or adjudication as a mental defective was made;
(4) Private or state hospital or treatment resource to which the individual was judicially committed; and
(5) Date of birth of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective, if such information has been provided to the clerk.

HB 2282: Hospitals and Health Care Facilities - As enacted, enacts the "Critical Adult Care Home Act of 2009." - Amends TCA Title 68, Chapter 11 and Title 56, Chapter 32.

Bill Summary

This bill requires that an adult care home be so licensed in order to be established, maintained, and operated in this state. "Adult care home" is defined as a single family residence in which 24-hour residential care, including assistance with activities of daily living, is provided in a homelike environment to no more than five elderly or disabled adults.

SB 0205: Salaries and Benefits - As enacted, authorizes the state insurance committee, the local government insurance committee and the local education insurance committee to contract for, or delegate resolution of, the application of medical necessity guidelines; requires that any proposed change in the group insurance plan for public employees that would place a tobacco surcharge on employees based on specific lifestyle choices not take effect until January 1, 2011. - Amends TCA Title 8, Chapter 27.

SB 0618: Divorce, Annulment and Alimony - As enacted, requires that any final decree of divorce and marital dissolution agreement contain a notice concerning creditors. - Amends TCA Title 36, Chapter 4.

Bill Summary

Under this bill, prior to the entry of a decree for divorce, legal separation, or annulment, each party must obtain the party's credit report from three nationally recognized consumer report agencies and serve a copy of the reports on the other party. The parties would not be required to file the report with the court. A single credit report that contains data aggregated from three credit reporting agencies may be submitted for the three credit reports.

Every final decree of divorce granted on a fault ground of divorce and each marital dissolution agreement must contain a notice that the decree does not necessarily affect the ability of a creditor to proceed against a party or a party's property even though the party is not responsible under the terms of the decree for an account or debt. The notice must also state that it may be in a party's best interest to cancel, close, or freeze any jointly held accounts. Failure to include the notice would not affect the validity of the decree of divorce, legal separation, or annulment.


AMENDMENT #1 removes from this bill the requirement that each party to a divorce must obtain and serve copies of their consumer credit reports on the opposing party.

SB 0651: Private Protective Services - As enacted, requires licensees to submit specified information to certain local law enforcement agencies and requires local law enforcement agencies to notify commissioner of known violations of private protective services laws. - Amends TCA Title 62, Chapter 35.

Bill Summary

Under present law, it is unlawful for any person to act as a contract security company without having first obtained a license from the commissioner of commerce and insurance. This bill establishes additional requirements for any person licensed as a contract security company.

Under this bill, each licensee must submit to the local law enforcement agency a form promulgated by the commissioner of commerce and insurance notifying the local law enforcement agency that the licensee provides services within the agency's jurisdiction. The form would include the name, license number, and armed or unarmed status of each security officer or guard employed by the licensee and the name and location of the licensee's clients within the agency's jurisdiction. A licensee must submit the form within 15 days of the date the licensee commences offering services in an agency's jurisdiction or, for persons already licensed as of this bill's effective date, within 15 days of the date this bill takes effect.

SB 0693: Insurance, Health, Accident - As enacted, enacts the "Preferred Provider Organization Transparency Act." - Amends TCA Title 56.

Bill Summary

This bill imposes requirements on contracting entities. A "contracting entity" is a person or entity, including a governmental agency or subdivision, that enters into direct contracts with providers for the delivery of health care services in the ordinary course of business.

This bill requires contracting entities to register with the department of commerce and insurance. This provision would not apply if the person is licensed by the department as an insurer. This bill details the information that must be provided when a contracting entity registers and authorizes the department to collect a reasonable fee for the purpose of administering the registration process.

This bill prohibits a contracting entity from granting access to a provider's health care services and contractual discounts pursuant to a provider network contract, unless:

(1) The provider network contract specifically states that the contracting entity may enter into an agreement with a third party allowing the third party to obtain the contracting entity's rights and responsibilities under the contract, as if the third party were the contracting entity; and
(2) The third party accessing the provider network contract is contractually obligated to comply with all applicable terms, limitations, and conditions of the contract.

SB 0774: Pharmacy, Pharmacists - As enacted, imposes a methodology and disclosure duties on health insurance entities and pharmacy benefits managers concerning calculation of out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and covered services. - Amends TCA Title 56.

Bill Summary

This bill specifies that when a covered entity or pharmacy benefits manager, such as a health insurance company, provides to a patient information regarding the patient's out-of-pocket cost, such as a co-pay, for a particular prescription or covered service, the covered entity or pharmacy benefits manager must provide the patient the actual reimbursement (total cost) for the particular prescription or covered service. This bill prohibits a covered entity or pharmacy benefits manager from restricting any pharmacy or other dispenser from disclosing to the patient or authorized representative of the patient the actual reimbursement for a particular prescription or covered service. When a patient's out-of-pocket cost for a prescription or covered service is percentage-based, the out-of-pocket cost must be calculated in such a way that when the out-of-pocket cost is added to the amount that the covered entity or pharmacy benefits manager will directly pay to the pharmacy or other dispenser, the sum will equal the actual reimbursement.

SB 1109: Insurance Companies, Agents, Brokers, Policies - As enacted, requires a person to obtain a license from the commissioner of commerce and insurance as a crop insurance adjuster in order to act as a crop insurance adjuster; prohibits an insurer that sells crop insurance from contracting, employing or using any person to adjust claims made under a crop insurance policy unless the person is licensed as a crop insurance adjuster; requires commissioner of commerce and insurance to establish qualifications for licensure. - Amends TCA Title 56.

Bill Summary

Present law requires public insurance adjusters to renew their licenses once every two years. An adjuster who allows the adjuster's license to lapse by failing to timely renew the adjuster's license may, within 12 months from the date of expiration, be issued a new license upon making request for renewal to the commissioner of commerce and insurance; provided, that the adjuster must pay a penalty in the amount of double the unpaid renewal fee.

This bill extends the period of time within which a public adjuster is authorized to request issuance of a new license to 18 months from the date of expiration of the adjuster's license.

SB 1201: Unemployment Compensation - As enacted, defines "misconduct" for purposes of provisions whereby if an administrator finds that a claimant for unemployment benefits has been discharged for misconduct connected with the claimant's work, then the claimant is disqualified from collecting unemployment benefits; requires any person who receives unemployment benefits by knowingly misrepresenting, misstating, or failing to disclose any material fact, or by making a false statement or false representation without a good faith belief as to the correctness of the statement or representation to repay the amount of benefits received. - Amends TCA Title 50, Chapter 7.

Bill Summary

This bill creates the offense of "unemployment security fraud." Under this bill, a person who commits any of the acts described immediately above would be guilty of "unemployment security fraud." Instead of being either a Class C misdemeanor or a Class E felony, the offense would be punished based on the amount the person obtained or sought to obtain in the same manner as a person is punished in theft cases and as described below:

(1) Class A misdemeanor if the amount is $500 or less;
(2) Class E felony if the amount is more than $500 but less than $1,000;
(3) Class D felony if the amount is $1,000 or more but less than $10,000;
(4) Class C felony if the amount is $10,000 or more but less than $60,000; or
(5) Class B felony if amount is $60,000 or more.

SB 1749: State Employees - As enacted, authorizes certain retired state employees to participate in the dental insurance plan offered to state employees. - Amends TCA Section 8-27-201.

SB 1931: Gas, Petroleum Products, Volatile Oils - As enacted, enacts the "Tennessee Renewable Fuels Blending Act of 2009." - Amends TCA Title 47, Chapter 25.

This bill requires all refiners, suppliers and permissive suppliers in this state to make available to any wholesaler all grades of gasoline, including regular, premium and midgrade, and all grades of diesel available at the terminal in such condition that such wholesaler may blend ethanol or other biological products to create those grades of petroleum products generally available for sale by retailers in this state. In addition, gasoline products must be made available with detergent additives in sufficient concentrations such that after the addition of ethanol, the final product meets or exceeds the Lowest Additive Concentrations as required by the United States environmental protection agency (EPA).

Under this bill, any contract between a wholesaler and a refiner, supplier, or permissive supplier executed or renewed on or after the effective date of this bill that forbids, limits or restricts a wholesaler's ability to blend petroleum products, would be void as against public policy.

A "permissive supplier" is any person who is not subject to the general taxing jurisdiction of this state, but who:

(1) Is a position holder in a federal qualified terminal located outside this state;
(2) Is registered for transactions in taxable motor fuels under federal tax law in the bulk transfer/terminal distribution system; and
(3) Acquires products in such out-of-state terminals from position holders in transactions that otherwise qualify as two-party exchanges.

SB 2279: Banks and Financial Institutions - As enacted, rewrites the Tennessee Residential Lending, Brokerage and Servicing Act of 1988 and renames the chapter as the "Tennessee Residential Lending, Brokerage and Servicing Act"; revises various provisions governing
industrial loan and thrift companies and the department of financial institutions. - Amends TCA Title 45, Chapter 5, Title 45, Chapter 13, and Title 45, Chapter 1.

This bill:

(1) Revises the Industrial Loan and Thrift Company Act;
(2) Revises the Tennessee Residential Lending, Brokerage and Servicing Act by:
(A) Creating a separate license for mortgage loan originators; and
(B) Revising the license requirements for mortgage lenders, mortgage loan brokers, mortgage loan servicers; and
(3) Makes other revisions.

SB 2318: Taxes - As enacted, makes certain revisions concerning assessment and collection of sales, privilege, transfer, and privilege taxes; delays effective date of certain streamlined sales tax provisions until July 1, 2011; revises certain tax credit provisions. - Amends TCA Title 7, Title 54, Title 55, Title 67, Chapter 602 of the Public Acts of 2007, and Chapter 1106 of the Public Acts of 2008.

This bill:

(1) Exempts from the state sales tax any motor vehicle provided to employees of an OEM headquarters company, as defined in this bill;
(2) Requires each taxpayer claiming an exemption from the state excise tax to file an application for exemption;
(3) Revises the procedures in which an extension to the time limit for a personal representative to submit returns of the estate for purposes of the inheritance tax to the commissioner of revenue;
(4) Revises the privilege tax on municipal stadiums;
(5) Extends the effective date of certain streamlined sales tax provisions from July 1, 2009 to July 1, 2011;
(6) Revises the definition of a "qualified data center" in regards to the tax on all electricity sold to or used by a qualified data center; and
(7) Clarifies present law regarding the "municipal street aid fund."
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