New Laws for 2020

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Several new laws go into effect today – January 1, 2020. Here’s a look at a few of them.

Age to Purchase Tobacco Changes from 18 to 21 –  FDA reports that on December 20, the President signed legislation to amend the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21. This includes cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes.

School Transportation – It reduces from 25 to 23, the age required for a person to receive an initial school bus endorsement if the person is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States armed forces, a member of the national guard or reserves, or a licensed teacher employed by an LEA.

State Employees and Health Insurance – A new lawextends continued health coverage to the surviving spouses and children of park rangers who are killed in the line of duty to the same extent as survivors of other first responders who are killed in the line of duty.

Proton Therapy Access Act – Requires state employee insurance to cover proton therapy, an alternative treatment for certain cancers. Proton therapy is a highly advanced form of radiation treatment, which uses protons rather than X-rays to treat cancer. Officials say the advantage of proton therapy is that it can be better controlled and deliver higher doses of radiation to tumors with fewer side effects, reports Associated Press.

Elderly and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act –  Increases the penalties for crimes against the elderly and vulnerable. It will be a Class E felony to knowingly abuse an elderly person, and a Class D felony for a person to knowingly abuse a vulnerable adult.

New Gun Law Change – Beginning in 2020, gun owners can apply for a concealed carry-only permit which can be obtained after a 90-minute online training course. In addition, there will be an enhanced handgun carry permit that requires eight hours of training with a firing test. AP reports only two vendors are currently approved to offer online courses-Clarksville Guns and Archery Tennessee Carry Permit and Tier One Tactics.

Opioid Prescription Must Be Issued Electronically – As of Jan, 1 2020, all prescriptions for opioids must be issued electronically, reports AP. This law was approved by the Tennessee Legislature in 2018, but the state allowed more time for providers and pharmacies to comply.

Grants for Volunteer Fire Departments – This law creates a program managed by the commissioner of commerce and insurance to annually award grants to volunteer fire departments for the purchase of firefighting equipment or to meet local match requirements for federal grants for the purchase of firefighting equipment and training.

See the complete list of new laws for 2020 here.