Summary of Legislation Introduced by Senator Norris and enacted into law during the 106th General Assembly


flag buttonPublic Chapter 949 on May 28, 2010
Senate Bill 555
House Bill 238

Criminal Offenses – This bill will increase public and community safety by taking aim at violent criminals that own dangerous animals.  It prohibits a person who has been convicted of a violent felony to own, possess, or have custody or control of a “vicious dog” or a “potentially vicious dog.”  Violation of this law is a Class A misdemeanor offense.  A “vicious dog” is any dog that, without provocation and off the property of the dog’s owner, has attacked a person. A “potentially vicious dog” is a dog that may reasonably be assumed to pose a threat to public safety.  Additionally, this bill requires that any dog in such a persons possession be spayed or neutered and microchipped for identification.

flagbuttonPublic Chapter 630 on March 16, 2010
Senate Bill 670
House Bill 378

Codes – This bill is a common-sense approach to facilitate the building of schools.  It will allow construction to begin on a school while waiting on final approval from the fire marshal, as long as the codes are the same or more stringent than those enforced by the state fire marshal.

flag buttonPublic Chapter 644 on March 29, 2010
Senate Bill 1122
House Bill 736

Courts – This bill codifies common statewide practice in our courts by requiring court clerks to provide a receipt of payment upon any payment towards a judgment.

flag buttonPublic Chapter 895 on May 18, 2010
Senate Bill 1912
House Bill 1665

Firearms and Ammunition – This legislation adds commissioned reserve deputy sheriffs or commissioned reserve or auxiliary police officers to the list of law enforcement personnel permitted to carry firearms while off-duty.

flag buttonPublic Chapter 1082 on June 28, 2010
Senate Bill 1997
House Bill 1911

Education – Enacts the “Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.”  This is part of a nationwide effort to help reduce the disruption associated with frequent transfers of military children from school to school which may cause a loss of school credit.  It targets specific educational items including school records, enrollment, power of attorney, and course waivers.

flag buttonPublic Chapter 977 on June 7, 2010
Senate Bill 2804
House Bill 2949

Health Care – Current law authorizes health, educational, and housing facility corporations to lease or sell facilities to hospitals, not-for-profit blood banks or blood centers, institutions for higher education, or housing facilities. This legislation extends these same authorizations to clinics and community health centers and is crucial in assisting these facilities in obtaining low-cost financing.  These clinics are not-for-profit, out-patient, non-hospital facilities that provide primary health care, dental care, eye care, and child delivery and birthing services.  This bill provides Tennessee’s not-for-profit community health centers with another tool to assist in providing care to the uninsured, underinsured, and working poor.

flag buttonPublic Chapter 1064 on June 28, 2010
Senate Bill 2810

House Bill 3069

Taxes, Real Property – Current law authorizes Shelby County to gift abandoned and blighted property to not-for-profit community development corporations for the purpose of constructing affordable housing.  This bill expands that authorization to allow the gifting of such property to community development corporations for use on projects other than constructing affordable housing.

flag buttonPublic Chapter 1034 on June 21, 2010
Senate Bill 2943
House Bill 2928

Workers Compensation – Current law allows for a reconsideration of workers compensation benefits after an employee returns to work, but is subsequently terminated during the 400-week period of their return to work.  This legislation would suspend the reconsideration process for an employee who has been terminated or has their hours reduced if, due to harsh economic conditions, the company has enacted reductions in total work force or reductions in hours that impact at least 50% of the employees at that company.

flag buttonPublic Chapter 1007 on June 07, 2010
Senate Bill 2809
House Bill 3259

Tax liens / lenders – This legislation addresses a problem between the rights of purchase money security interest (PMSI) holders and the rights of city and county governments with tax liens on property.  The bill stems from a Tennessee Court of Appeals decision arising out of Williamson County which threatened to have a chilling effect on companies extending credit for equipment purchases to Tennessee businesses.  The legislation requires secured parties to withhold the amount of taxes due when property is repossessed and sold. The bill requires local governments to notify secured parties of their responsibility to pay past-due taxes on the secured equipment. In addition, a secured party’s liability is limited to four tax years. A county official or assessor is required to respond to a secured party’s request for information within 15 days via certified mail. These protections remove uncertainty for lenders so they know their tax liability when a business defaults. 

flag buttonPublic Chapter 376 on June 17, 2009
Senate Bill 547
House Bill 845

Election Laws – After the 2008 elections, the majority party of the legislature shifted from Democrat to Republican, but the make-up of the State Election Commission still retained its Democratic majority.  To offset this imbalance in the law, a provision was added that if there was a change in the majority and minority status within the General Assembly as a result of an election, two members of the new majority party would temporarily be added to the State Election Commission.  This will place the majority party of the State Election Commission in line with the majority party of the General Assembly.  – Amends TCA Title 2, Chapter 11

flagbuttonPublic Chapter 7 on March 31, 2009
Senate Bill 548
House Bill 4196

Attorneys at Law – Prior to the passage of this bill, state programs existed that allowed attorneys the opportunity to volunteer to perform pro bono legal services to Tennesseans that need legal assistance, but can not afford it.  This legislation broadens the category of attorneys that may volunteer for the program that administers these services to include Executive and Judicial branch attorneys (other than judges, chancellors, and justices).
– Amends TCA Title 8; Title 16; Title 23

flag buttonPublic Chapter 462 on July 1, 2009
Senate Bill 549
House Bill 793

Insurance, Health, Accident – Before this bill, the law specified that if an insurance provider pays a claim for a patient, then discovers that that patient’s coverage had been changed prior to the service, the insurance provider could bill the health care provider for repayment of the claim.  This bill changed that law in three ways to improve the doctor and insurance companies’ roles in such cases:

  1. It establishes that a health care provider has a right to bill and be paid for services rendered to a patient when the original insurance provider has been found not to be responsible, but a successor plan was responsible.
  2. It allows an opportunity for the insurance provider and health care provider to jointly agree to extend certain deadlines in order to allow the insurance provider additional time to determine if payment was appropriate.
  3. It establishes a standard of notification whereby employers must notify insurance providers of an employee’s loss or change of health care status, within 60 days of knowledge of such employee’s loss or change.

– Amends TCA Title 56, Chapter 7, Part 1

flag buttonPublic Chapter 47 on April 22, 2009
Senate Bill 550
House Bill 305

Planning, Public – Currently, professional planners, building commissioners, and advisors to planning commissioners or zoning appeal boards, must undergo 8 hours of training and continuing education.  This bill would allow those members who are also members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) to be exempt from this provision.  They are being exempted from this provision because a member of the AICP is required to take 32 hours of continued training every 2 years. – Amends TCA Title 13

flag buttonPublic Chapter 35 on April 22, 2009
Senate Bill 551
House Bill 307

Planning, Public –This bill extends the ways regional planning commissions may insure completions of development by allowing them to directly assess developers the cost of improvements in lieu of requiring a bond or line of credit.  By allowing regional planning commissions to do this, it will help ease the cost local governments must bear when developers abandon their requirements to complete infrastructure within developments. – Amends TCA Title 13, Chapter 3, Part 403(b)

flag buttonPublic Chapter 102 on May 12, 2009
Senate Bill 554
House Bill 254

Firearms and Ammunition – This legislation deletes an unnecessary requirement to purchase a firearm from a gun dealer.  Currently, a dealer must request the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to conduct a background check prior to the sale of a firearm.  According to the TBI, a fingerprint is no longer necessary to perform such a background check.  This bill removes the fingerprint requirement, but retains the requirement that a dealer request TBI to conduct a background check and further provides that the means for requesting a background check will be designated by TBI. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13

flag buttonPublic Chapter 583 on July 16, 2009
Senate Bill 672

House Bill 606

Criminal Offenses – In yet another victory to keep dangerous criminals off the streets, legislation passed this year specifying that if a criminal is in possession of a firearm while committing or attempting a dangerous felony, it would be viewed the same as attempted first degree murder.  This carries the much harsher penalty of a Class A Felony rather than the Class D or Class C Felony (depending on circumstance) that it originally carried.  In Tennessee, the average sentence for attempted first degree murder is over 17 years.

This is the latest step in our battle to keep “crooks with guns” off the streets. – Amends TCA Title 39 and Title 40

flag buttonPublic Chapter 364 on June 17, 2009
Senate Bill 1567
House Bill 1471

Workers Compensation – This legislation will help to insure that employees receiving workers’ compensation will be protected if their employer is sold or acquired by another business.  The legislation specifies that employees are entitled to seek compensation from the new employer if the employee is terminated through no fault of the employee or the employee’s wages are reduced to a level that is lower than what they were making before an injury. – Amends TCA Title 50 and Title 56. 

 flag buttonPublic Chapter 486 on July 1, 2009
Senate Bill 1574
House Bill 1472

Workers Compensation– This bill establishes parameters for obtaining medical records and information from authorized treatment providers.  It is designed to provide clarity for those trying to get treatment for work related injuries by allowing a waiver to be filled out by the employee, given to the employer, and sent to the treating physician.  This will allow the employee and their attorney to communicate directly with the physician to obtain medical records and other information.  Additionally, the bill clarifies that information requested by the employer and given by the physician must be made available to all parties. – Amends TCA Title 50 and Title 56. 

  flag buttonPublic Chapter 581 on July 7, 2009
Senate Bill 1907
House Bill 1545

Medicine, Practice of – Currently, there is a volunteer provision of health care services law that provides immunity for doctors and nurses that serve as volunteers at health care services facilities.  The patients treated by these volunteers are the underinsured and, predominantly, the uninsured.  The current provisions, however, only give immunity to professionals at facilities that provide services at no cost.  This bill provides the same immunity to doctors and nurses that volunteer at facilities that charge a nominal fee based upon a sliding scale.  – Amends TCA Title 63, Chapter 6, Part 7

flag buttonPublic Chapter 407 on June 23, 2009
Senate Bill 1909
House Bill 1500

Workers Compensation – This bill provides security to employers by prohibiting a workers’ compensation award if an employee is injured while engaging in a recreational activity, regardless of whether or not the employer knew of the activity, provided that the activity wasn’t a direct requirement of the employee.  For example, an employee wouldn’t be eligible for compensation if they were injured playing a game of basketball during a break  – Amends TCA Title 50, Section 6, Part 110

flag buttonPublic Chapter 209 on May 29, 2009
Senate Bill 1971
House Bill 2190

Unemployment Compensation – There is a provision that allows Tennessee residents to file an appeal of an unemployment compensation decision in the chancery court of the county where the former employee resides.  There is no such provision for those former employees that worked in Tennessee, but reside in another state.  In order for these individuals to file an appeal, claims must be made in Davidson County.  This bill grants those non-residents the ability to file their appeal in the county where they were employed. – Amends TCA Title 50, Chapter 7

flag buttonPublic Chapter 310 on June 2, 2009
Senate Bill 1973
House Bill 2189

Public Records – This legislation makes certain records regarding an employee’s health savings account, retirement account, and pension account, confidential and extends these protections to include former employees.  It will not, however, restrict access to the financial records of a government employer.     – Amends TCA 10, Chapter7, Part 5

flag buttonPublic Chapter 185 on May 21, 2009
Senate Bill 2037
House Bill 1990

Taxes, Real Property – This bill clarifies statutes governing property sold due to delinquent taxes.  First, it specifies that to redeem a property that has been sold due to delinquent taxes, the redeemer must pay all subsequent taxes, all taxes from the ensuing years after the sale, and any dollars paid to preserve the value of the property.  Second, prior to enforcement of a lien, the county trustee must place a notice in the county newspaper for two consecutive weeks that states that additional penalties and costs may be assessed for non-compliance.  This bill would further create a legal defense if the county trustee neglected to publish notice. – Amends TCA Title 67, Chapter 5 

 flag buttonPublic Chapter 409 on June 23, 2009
Senate Bill 2038
House Bill 1976

Sewage – The Tennessee Local Development Authority provides loans from the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund and the Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund to local government units.  The law, however, is not broad enough to allow water and wastewater authorities and energy authorities to apply for loans from the TLDA.  This bill would extend the definition of a local government unit to include water and wastewater authorities and energy authorities. – Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 31 and Title 68, Chapter 221

flagbuttonPublic Chapter 71 on April 22, 2009
Senate Bill 2039
House Bill 1989

Taxes, Real Property –This bill requires the county trustee to develop a plan that details how partial payments will be accepted and submit that plan to the comptroller.  The plan must detail:

1. A description of the accounting system technology or manual processes to be used to record the partial payments of property taxes.
2. A statement indicating whether the process of collecting property taxes will be implemented within the existing operating resources of the office or an indication of prior approval by the county legislative body if accounting system upgrades or additional operating resources are needed.
3. Documentation of the internal controls that will ensure all property tax payments are being recorded and accounted for as required by law.

– Amends TCA Title 67, Chapter 5
flagbuttonPublic Chapter 603 on July 16, 2009
Senate Bill 2115
House Bill 2193

Sentencing – Current Tennessee law specifies that convictions for multiple felonies committed within the same 24-hour period constitute one conviction for the purpose of determining prior convictions.  So, if a criminal burglarizes a string of four homes in one evening, those robberies would only constitute one conviction.  This bill requires that each of the aggravated burglaries committed in a 24-hour period be counted as separate convictions, which will result in longer, tougher sentences for criminals, and safer homes and neighborhoods for honest citizens. – Amends TCA Title 40, Chapter 35

flag buttonPublic Chapter 338 on June 5, 2009
Senate Bill 2116
House Bill 2177

Zoning – This bill requires municipalities and counties to compile a zoning ordinance and map, and maintain it as public record. The map will be made available to the public through a compilation and will be considered a true and accurate statement of the zoning ordinance and map. Clear and convincing evidence that the ordinance and map is inaccurate will result in an amending of the map. – Amends TCA Title 13, Chapter 7 

flag buttonPublic Chapter 525 on July 7, 2009
Senate Bill 2120
House Bill 2186

Highways, Roads and Bridges – This bill creates the Tennessee Transportation State Infrastructure Fund Act, a mechanism for local governments to make application for funds to perform transportation related construction. 

Local governments may make application for project funding to the Commissioner of Transportation.  The Commissioner has the authority to determine project eligibility and worth.  Upon being deemed an eligible project, the Commissioner may recommend to the Tennessee Local Development Authority that funding for the project be approved from the revolving loan fund established by this act.  Eligible projects may be, but are not limited to:

Streets, highways, bridges, tunnels, and any related roadway facilities; railways and rail facilities; port facilities; mass transit systems or transit capital projects; parking facilities; and pedestrian or bicycle facilities which provide public benefits by enhancing mobility or safety, promoting economic development, or increasing the quality of life and general welfare of the public.

This bill adds the administration of the Tennessee Transportation State Infrastructure Fund to the list of responsibilities of the TLDA. – Amends TCA Title 4; Title 9; Title 12; Title 54; Title 55; Title 65 and Title 67


Comments are closed.