2015 Legislative Review

Abortion Restrictions

SB1222 by Beavers / HB977 by M Hill Specifies that the pregnant woman must provide her informed written consent, given freely and without coercion. Specifies that except in a medical emergency that prevents compliance, no abortion shall be performed until a waiting period of 48 hours have elapsed. Enacted as Public Chapter 0473 effective July 1, 2015.

SB1280 by Hensley / HB1368 by Lynn Requires that any facility at which a surgical procedure to terminate a pregnancy is performed be licensed as an ambulatory surgical treatment center (ASTC) and removes the requirement that a facility be licensed as an ASTC if only medical procedures to terminate a pregnancy are performed there. Revises the exemption for physician and dentist offices so that such offices do not have to be licensed as ASTCs unless more than 50 surgical abortions are performed in any calendar years. Enacted as Public Chapter 0419 effective July 1, 2015.

Sex Education Curriculum

SB46 by Haile / HB40 by Lamberth requires the family life curriculum to include the process of adoption and its benefits. Requires the State Board of Education (SBE), in conjunction with the Department of Education (DOE), to develop guidelines for the inclusion of such information, as appropriate, in kindergarten through 12th grade. Enacted as Public Chapter 0083 effective April 9, 2015.

Sex Worker Decriminalization

SB1160 by Massey / HB754 by Moody Authorizes a person on the sex offender registry because of a conviction for aggravated prostitution (knowingly HIV positive) to file a petition with the sentencing court for termination of the registration requirement based on the person's status as a victim of a human trafficking offense, sexual offense, or domestic abuse. Substitutes 10 years of supervised probation. Enacted as Public Chapter 0469 effective July 1, 2015.

Dept of Children's Services

SB74 by Norris / HB64 by McCormick Authorizes the department of children's services to create a system for reporting safety-related information. Establishes that the identities of individuals, participating in the reporting system, be held confidentially and not subject to discovery or entered into evidence in any civil proceeding. Authorizes disclosure, of participating individual's identities, only as necessary to carry out the purposes of the reporting system. Enacted as Public Chapter 0021 effective March 27, 2015.

SB76 by Norris / HB66 by McCormick Annual reports on foster children and child care agencies. Consolidates department of children's services annual reports for commitment data, foster care, and child care agencies into one report. Specifies that report shall be provided to the judiciary committee of the senate and civil justice committee of the house of representatives every year on or before January 31. Removes the requirement that the department report on the shifting responsibility for children moving from one placement to another. Enacted as Public Chapter 0178 effective April 16, 2015.

SB372 by Kyle / HB219 by Jones Requires that all services, not just the focus of the services that are provided by the department of children's services, shall further the best interest of the child. Enacted as Public Chapter 0242 effective April 24, 2015.

SB440 by Haile / HB445 by Faison Removes person's right to revoke surrender of a child for adoption. Enacted as Public Chapter 0113 effective April 10, 2015.

SB681 by Massey / HB811 by Littleton Provides that, in a private custody case, when a child is removed from custody of parent due primarily to parent's drug abuse, the child cannot be returned to the parent until the parent has complied with certain criteria that demonstrates a commitment to responsible parenting.  Enacted as Public Chapter 0236 effective July 1, 2015.

Parental Rights Termination Conditions

SB697 by Stevens / HB308 by Wilburn Provides that parental rights may be terminated if a parent or guardian is convicted of the offense of the sex trafficking of children under federal law or under the law of another state. Specifies that the conviction must take place on or after July 15, 2015. Enacted as Public Chapter 0237 effective July 1, 2015.

SB1089 by Harris / HB218 by Jones Prohibits court from awarding any form of custody to a parent who is charged with or indicted for aggravated child abuse, child sexual abuse, or severe child sexual abuse. Enacted as Public Chapter 0238 effective July 1, 2015.

SB1121 by Yarbro / HB554 by Fitzhugh Prohibits person convicted of rape, aggravated rape, or rape of a child from having custody, visitation, or inheritance rights with respect to child conceived during such crime. Authorizes other parent of child to waive prohibition of rights. Directs court to establish child support obligation against convicted father unless waived by the department of human services and the other parent, if other parent is contributing to support of child. Enacted as Public Chapter 0167 effective July 1, 2015.

Child Support

SB101 by Norris / HB90 by McCormick Forgiving accrued principal and interest on child support. Enacted as Public Chapter 0200 effective July 1, 2015.

Cut Funding for State Government Agencies Focused on Women

SB213 by Bell / HB336 by Faison Terminates the advisory committee on women's health, with no subsequent wind-down year. Enacted as Public Chapter 0030 effective March 27, 2015.

SB256 by Bell / HB387 by Faison Extends the Tennessee economic council on women to June 30, 2019. Failed. The TN Economic Council on Women was dissolved.


SB16 by Ketron / HB275 by Sargent Authorizes TBI to employ four additional special agents for the purpose of training other officers and government officials who are directly involved with human trafficking, including the investigation and intake of human trafficking complaints. Directs TBI to develop and provide a course of instruction to other officers and departments in the recognition, detection, and prosecution of human trafficking cases and requires TBI to have the course implemented by January 1, 2016. Enacted as Public Chapter 0503 effective July 1, 2015.

SB305 by Kelsey / HB270 by Coley Requires a law enforcement officer to provide a minor suspected of prostitution with the telephone number of the Tennessee human trafficking resource center hotline instead of the number to the national hotline. Enacted as Public Chapter 0067 effective July 1, 2015.

Jails/Prison Policies

SB289 by Stevens / HB133 by Lamberth of 2015-2016 Requires that when a plaintiff inmate's action accrued while housed in a facility operated by a private corporation in contract with the state or local government, the action must be brought in the county in which the facility is located. Enacted as Public Chapter 0143 effective July 1, 2015.

SB853/HB880 Requires persons convicted of sexual contact with inmates to register as a sexual offender. Allows such persons to petition for termination of registration as a sexual offender three years after termination of active supervision on probation, parole, or another alternative to incarceration, or three years after discharge from incarceration without supervision. Enacted as Public Chapter 0284 effective July 1, 2015.

Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Offenses

SB373/HB269 Extends statute of limitations for prosecution of certain sexual offenses committed against children to 25 years after the child turns 18 years old for offenses committed after July 1, 2015. Enacted as Public Chapter 0310 effective July 1, 2015.

Reporting on Teenage Pregnancy

SB460/HB1200 Requires only the department of health to report at least once annually to the judiciary committee and the civil justice committee concerning administration of the Tennessee informational clearinghouse on teenage pregnancy. Enacted as Public Chapter 0212 effective April 20, 2015.

Good Samaritan Law

SB871/HB1036 Prohibits arresting, charging, or prosecuting any individual who, in good faith, seeks medical assistance for a drug overdose themselves, or seeks medical assistance for another person experiencing or believed to be experiencing a drug overdose. Enacted as Public Chapter 0396 effective July 1, 2015.

Parental Leave

SB950/HB478 Deletes provision limiting the aggregate sick time that can be used for maternity and paternity leave to 30 days if both parents are state employees. Deletes provision limiting the aggregate sick time that can be used for maternity and paternity leave to 30 days if both parents are state employees. Enacted as Public Chapter 0078 effective April 6, 2015.

Creates Procedures for Sexual Assault Evidence Collection

SB981/HB1239 creates procedure for the collection of sexual assault evidence kits. Enacted as Public Chapter 0253 effective April 24, 2015.

Infant Care

SB44/HB33 Adds lysosomal disorders, including Krabbe, Fabry, Gaucher, Pompe, Hurler Syndrome and Niemann-Pick, to the list of disorders that must be tested for newborns. Enacted as Public Chapter 0436 effective May 18, 2015.

Expansion of Public Adoption Services

SB1393/HB1369 Requires the adoption services provided by the department of children's services to be made available to all families of adopted children and biological families of adopted children, regardless of whether the children were adopted through the department. Enacted as Public Chapter 0919 effective July 1, 2016.



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