A new year always brings changes, and this year is no different. Part of those changes are a host of new laws that will be going into effect the first part of 2022, most began on January 1. There are new laws at both the state and federal level.

New laws will affect everything from college athletes being allowed to receive monetary compensation for the use of their image to protection against surprise medical costs, and from wages for restaurant workers to COVID-19 vaccine mandates for businesses with more than 100 employees.

Some of the New Federal Laws

On the federal level, one new law will create protections from unexpected medical bills. Called the ‘No Surprises Act,’ it requires insurance companies to cover even out-of-network expenses that can sneak up, especially in emergencies, according to nbcnews.com. The article states that “bills for one-fifth of emergency treatments and one-sixth of in-network hospitalizations include at least one out-of-network charge.”

Littler.com speaks to a new Federal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard that has been issued that will require employers with 100 employees or more to ensure that all employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Although there has been controversy about the new standard, it offers options for compliance. It also requires paid time off to get vaccinated and an option to wear a face covering at all times if not vaccinated. It also requires the removal of all employees from the premises who test positive and they will not be allowed to work until they meet the CDC’s criteria for no longer being contagious. Medical and religious exemptions remain available to those who qualify.

Healthcare providers who participate in Medicare and Medicaid will be required to have their staff fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. Exemptions from vaccination are available based on recognized medical conditions or religious beliefs.

Other bills are supporting those who work in jobs that provide tips as part of their compensation. One law makes it unlawful for employers to retain employee’s tips and another makes employers pay full minimum wage unless it is proven that the work being done is not directly or substantially supported by tips.

New Laws Passed in Tennessee

There are 22 new laws taking effect in Tennessee beginning on January 1.  Here they are broken down into categories.

Education and Career Training

One new law gives teachers the right to discipline in their classroom and to have a student removed who makes it hard for other students to learn. It is a six-step process that involves contacting parents and involving school administration.

Another new law authorizes the dual enrollment program to award the in-state tuition and mandatory fees cost up to a maximum amount for the first four courses taken by a high school student instead of two at a state-run community college or college of applied technology.

To aid in the transition from active duty to the civilian workforce, a new law will allow members of the United States armed forces and honorably discharged veterans who have received certified occupational training during their service to receive equivalent credit toward certain occupational licenses relating to the training they received.

Applicants for a technician certificate of registration, master barber certificate of registration, barber instructor certificate of registration, cosmetologist license, manicuring license, cosmetology instructor license, aesthetician license, or natural hair styling license will be required to obtain up to one hour of online or in-person training by a nonprofit on domestic violence.

Voting

The new Tennessee Election Integrity Act will require absentee ballots to include a watermark. If there is no watermark, then the ballot will be rejected. This does not apply to ballots authorized by state or federal law to be delivered electronically to qualified voters who are entitled to vote by absentee ballot.

Another new election law prohibits the coordinator of elections from approving convenient voting centers for any county election commission that has not used at least one early satellite voting location throughout an early voting period in the most recent regular November election. The new law will also extend authorization for counties that have an approved convenience voting pilot project plan to establish convenient voting centers within the county for federal, state, and local elections held in 2022.

Healthcare

Chiropractic services will be added to Tenncare.

Another law will require a pharmacy benefits managers to permit a person covered under a group medical benefit contract or a pharmacy benefit contract, that provides coverage for prescription drugs to obtain prescription drugs, including specialty drugs, from a physician’s office, hospital outpatient infusion center providing and administering the prescription drug, or pharmacy. This bill requires a pharmacy benefits manager or a covered entity to base the calculation of any coinsurance for a prescription drug or device on the allowed amount of the drug or device.

Personal Legal Matters

To insure those under a conservatorship are not abused, a new law requires that petitions for appointment of a conservator include results of searches of the proposed conservator in the department of health’s registry of persons who have abused, neglected, or misappropriated the property of vulnerable persons and the national sex offender registry.

The new law regarding trusts will govern what is consider “money received in partial liquidation”, changes in administration of trusts, managers of a trust and investment decisions, extending how long a trust created for noncharitable purposes may exist from 90 to 360 years, creditor immunity, trustee reporting duties, record keeping, defining a “passive trust”, and other details regarding the management of a trust.

Compensation for criminal injury has been extended from one year to two in which a victim may file a claim.

Business

Administration of construction service provider registration is being transferred from the Secretary of State to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

With the passing of another new law, consumers to be able to have wine shipped to them. It creates a license for wine fulfillment houses with a $300 application fee, $300 annual renewal fee and a $50 annual fee for each additional location and keeps out-of-state vendors from violating Tennessee’s existing state laws by not paying appropriate state taxes, according to wjhl.com.

Jail Administration, Inmate Education and Recidivism Reduction Programs

Counties are now authorized to develop and operate transition centers in partnership with a nonprofit organization that provides programming designed to reduce recidivism.

The Reentry Success Act of 2021 is, as described by wjhl.com, a multi-pronged approach to help improve public safety and facilitate positive outcomes for those leaving incarceration by establishing mandatory supervision so all individuals exiting state custody will have a minimum of one-year supervised reentry integration, waiving the restricted driver license fee, removing the Parole Board’s ability to deny parole to a person who has not attempted to improve their education or vocational skills due to long wait lists for these programs and granting limited employer liability to businesses which in good faith hire a parolee convicted of a non-violent criminal offense.

Corrections officers may now retire after 25 years of service, and local governments participating in TCRS are allowed to adopt a mandatory age of retirement for correctional officers.

Driver’s Licenses

A hardship license issued to a minor holding a Class P license or instructional permit expires on the date the Class P license or instructional permit expires.

Real Estate

The boundary between Davidson and Wilson counties is being changed in such manner as to detach certain parcels of real property currently located in Davidson County and to attach such parcels to Wilson County.

The maximum homestead exemption will be raised to be $35,000 or $52,500 for certain persons.

Sports

All powers and duties regarding the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act will be transferred to the Sports Wagering Advisory Council.

Also on the sports front, college athletes will be able to profit from the use of their image, but it can only benefit the athlete. It cannot benefit the school or a booster club. The exception is any institution of higher education governed by the board of regents of the state university and community college system.

Precious Cargo Act

This act will establish procedures for certain citizens with intellectual or developmental disability or a medical condition to communicate specific needs to law enforcement officers and/or first responders.

New Tennessee License Plate and Emissions Testing Changes

Emissions testing will end beginning January 14, 2022. The EPA told Davidson and surrounding counties that they may end vehicle emissions testing. Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties will get rid of the requirement on January 14, 2022. The Metro Davidson Council has deferred their vote on the topic until January, so until further notice, those in Davidson County will need to continue getting their car emissions tested before they are allowed to renew their license plate.

Some counties will see a slight fee increase. One of those is Rutherford County, which will be increasing their registration fee for vehicles by $4.00. A resolution passed by the state allows counties that ceased the emissions requirement to increase the county fees. The increase will not affect vehicles that did not previously require emissions testing such as motorcycles, heavyweight vehicles, and those with antique tags.

Also, as of January 4, 2022, Tennessee will have a new license plate. Anyone getting a new car or renewing their car license plate will receive a new plate that will need to replace the old one on their vehicle.