Legislative Issues

The second session of the 108th Tennessee General Assembly began on January 14, 2014.  Below is a current listing of select legislation that impacts the University of Tennessee System.  To check a bill’s status, simply click on the bill number.



SB0514/HB1185–Hensley/DeBerry J
→Education, Higher­ As introduced, prohibits public institutions of higher education from disciplining or discriminating against a student in a counseling, social work, or psychology program because the student refuses to counselor serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the student, if the student refers the client to a counselor who will provide the counseling or services. Amends TCA Title 4 and Title 49.

SB2358/HB2111– Gresham/Brooks H
→Education -As introduced, creates a special joint legislative study committee to consider, evaluate, and make recommendations regarding the state authorization reciprocity agreements (SARA); committee to consist of three house members and three senate members, appointed by their respective speaker. Amends TCA Title 49.

→ Education, Higher‐ As introduced, regulates transfer pathways for transfer between public institutions of higher education. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 7, Part 2.


SB0975/HB1089– McNally/Brooks H
→Education, Higher‐As introduced, requires that, prior to being submitted to the general assembly, all requests for funding certain higher education projects for a board of regents or University of Tennessee member institution be reviewed and acted upon through existing procedures governing such requests. Amends TCA Title 9 and Title 49.

→Tobacco, Tobacco Products – As introduced, clarifies that policies and taxes applicable to tobacco products are not applicable to vapor products; defines “vapor product”. Amends TCA Section 4-4-121; Section 39-17-1802; Section 39-17-1603; Section 49-7-135; Section 62-38-203 and Section 67-4-1001.

→Students – As introduced, prohibits the state board of education, the department of education, LEAs or schools from disclosing personally identifiable student information without parental notice and written consent. – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 1.


SB0133/HB0059–Johnson/Williams R
→ Public Employees‐As introduced, makes job performance evaluations of employees of state level entities that are exempt from the Tennessee Excellence, Accountability and Management Act of 2012 confidential and not a public record to the same extent as job performance evaluations of state service employees are confidential. Amends TCA Title 10, Chapter 7, Part 5.

SB1834/HB2116 — Gresham/Brooks H
→Education, Higher‐ As introduced, limits courses state employees can take free of charge at public institutions of higher education under the state employees’ fee waiver to 4 credit hours or 120 clock hours courses; allows the use of the fee waiver as partial payment for courses of more than 4 credit hours or 120 clock hours. Amends TCA Section 8- 50- 114.

→Lobbying, Lobbyists – As introduced, redefines “lobby” to include communications by certain governmental employees but excludes communications by certain local government officials to their respective members of the general assembly. Amends TCA Title 3, Chapter 6, Part 3.


SB1433/HB1372– Johnson C/Norris
→ Veterans-­As introduced, allows certain veterans, who are classified as out-of-state students, to pay in-state tuition and fees at public institutions of higher education. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 7.

SB1452/ HB1451–Green/Tidwell
→Teachers, Principals and School Personnel- As introduced, extends twenty-five percent tuition discount at state institutions of higher learning currently granted to children of full-time teachers and technology coordinators employed by LEAs to children of all full-time LEA employees. Amends TCA Section 49- 7- 119.

SB1683/ HB2179– Gresham/Rich
→Education, Higher‐ As introduced, establishes a tuition freeze program at public two year and four year institutions of higher education. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 7; Title 49, Chapter 8 and Title 49, Chapter 9.

SB1890/ HB1775 –Campfield/Sparks
→Education, Higher – As introduced, allows part-time employee of state college of applied technology to enroll in one course per semester at state supported higher education institute without paying the tuition charges or maintenance fees. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 7, Part 1.

SB2115/ HB1929–Gardenhire/White M
→Education, Higher‐ As introduced, permits a student at a public institution of higher education to be charged in-state tuition, if the student is a citizen of the United States, has resided in Tennessee for at least one year and has graduated from a Tennessee public secondary school or a private secondary school in this state and approved by the state board of education as a Category 1, 2, or 3 secondary school or earned a Tennessee high school equivalency diploma. Amends TCA Title 49.


SB1597/HB1457 — Green/Lamberth
→ Lottery Scholarships, and Programs- As introduced, creates the Tennessee Come Back for Your Future scholarship program. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 4, Part 9; Title 49, Chapter 7; Title 49, Chapter 8 and Title 49, Chapter 9.

SB1905/ HB1876 –Overbey/Ramsey
→Lottery, Scholarships and Programs ‐ As introduced, allows students who would have qualified for the STEP UP scholarship, if the scholarship had been in effect in 2012-2013, to receive the scholarship as second year students in 2013-2014; provided the students meet the continuation requirements for the scholarship at the end of their first year of study. Amends TCA Section 49- 4- 943.

SB2142/HB2198 –Tate/Turner M
→Lottery, Scholarships and Programs‐ As introduced, permits a Tennessee HOPE scholarship recipient to omit the grades from one semester from the recipient’s HOPE cumulative grade point average without penalty. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 4, Part 9.

→Education, Higher – As introduced, enacts the “Tennessee Promise Scholarship Act of 2014″; revises certain provisions of the Tennessee HOPE scholarship program. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 4, Part 7 and Title 49, Chapter 4, Part 9.


→Education, Higher – As introduced, prohibits use of institutional revenues, including student activity fees, to engage visiting or guest speakers for events at public institutions of higher education. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 7; Title 49, Chapter 8 and Title 49, Chapter 9.

→Education, Higher – As introduced, requires student fees for student organizations’ paid speakers to be distributed proportionally based on membership to student organizations requesting such funding. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 7; Title 49, Chapter 8 and Title 49, Chapter 9.

→University of Tennessee – Directs board of trustees to work with university administration to implement changes to the assessment and allocation of the student activity fees within the University of Tennessee system; requires report to chairs of education committees by January 1, 2015.

→General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position – Condemns administration of University of Tennessee for permitting “Sex Week” to be held on the UT-Knoxville campus.


SB1583/ HB1593–Bell/Matheny
→ Sunset Laws- As introduced, extends the University of Tennessee, board of trustees, June 30, 2015. Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 29, Part 2 and Title 49, Chapter 9, Part 2.


→Appropriations – As introduced, makes appropriations for the purpose of defraying the expenses of certain legislative enactments passed during the 2014 session of the 108th general assembly; earmarks sufficient state funds for the purpose of funding any bill naming a highway in honor of a service member killed in action. (Appropriations Bill)


→Hospitals and Health Care Facilities – As introduced, enacts the “Annual Coverage Assessment of 2014″. Amends TCA Title 71, Chapter 5 and Chapter 250 of the Public Acts of 2013.

SB1286/HB1265—Tracy/Brooks, K.
→ Insurance General–Enacts the “Luke Gleaves Act”. Requires a health insurance policy to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Prohibits insurers from terminating coverage, or refuse to deliver, execute, issue, amend, adjust, or renew coverage to an individual solely because the individual is diagnosed with or has received treatment for an autism spectrum disorder. Creates provisions regarding limiting benefits and coverage. Gives the insurer the right to review treatment plans annually.

SB1502/HB1494—Green/Williams, R.
→ Professions & Licensure–Under present law, in regards to the involuntary admission of an individual to an inpatient mental health facility, the commissioner may designate a person to take any action authorized or duty imposed on a physician if the person is a qualified mental health official, is licensed or certified to practice in the state if required for the profession, and completes a training program on emergency commitment criteria and procedures that is approved and provided by the department. This bill adds a “licensed physician’s assistant with a master’s degree and expertise in psychiatry as determined by training, education or experience” to the persons the commissioner may so designate, if the person meets the other described requirements.

→ Health Care– Includes in the list of persons who may receive patient-specific information from the controlled substance database a prescriber, healthcare practitioner or dispenser who may place a copy of a patient’s report from that database in that patient’s medical records. Provides that upon having been placed in the medical record, the report obtained from the database shall be subject to the same terms and conditions as other medical records under present law. Authorizes committee, board of pharmacy, or department of health personnel and any designee appointed by the committee engaged in analysis of controlled substance prescription information as a part of the duties of their employment to publish, or otherwise make available to prescribers and to the public, aggregate unidentifiable personal data contained in or derived from the database for the purpose of educational outreach.

→ Judiciary– Includes nurse practitioners to the list of persons that are exempt from subpoena to trial but are subject to subpoena to deposition.

→ Professions & Licensure– Creates and authorizes the certification of registered nurse first assistants. Requires such profession to be a licensed registered nurse, to be certified in perioperative nursing, and to have complete an approved registered nurse first assistant education program.

SB1819/HB1713—Bowling/Williams, R.
→ Health Care– Deletes the Intractable Pain Treatment Act, which states that a patient suffering from severe chronic intractable pain has the option to request or reject the use of any or all modalities in order to relieve such patient’s severe chronic intractable pain.

→ Health Care– Establishes that a valid government issued photo identification must be presented to a pharmacist, pharmacy technician, pharmacy intern, or clerk designated by a pharmacist, unless the person is personally known by the pharmacy personnel, to dispense a prescription for more than a seven day supply for any Schedule II-IV opioid, benzodiazepine, barbiturate or carisoprodol, and requires the pharmacy to verify that the person retrieving the dispensed prescription is the same person pictured on the identification presented, but they are not required to be the same person for whom the prescription is written. Requires the pharmacy to maintain a retrievable record of sale which will include: the name, address, identification type and number, prescription number and initials or code of the pharmacist, pharmacy technician, pharmacy intern or designated clerk, and should be readily retrievable within 24 hours.

→ Professions & Licensure– Adds the name of a nurse practitioner’s and physician assistant’s supervising physician to the information each board regulating a provider must collect and provide to the department of health in order for the department to create individual profiles on licensees. Authorizes the supervising physician listed on the profile to notify the department of a change in being a nurse practitioner or physician assistant’s supervising physician, if the nurse or physician assistant fails to do so within 30 days of the change. Requires department of health to notify the nurse practitioner or physician assistant in writing prior to removing the physician’s name from the profile. Gives the person ten calendar days from the date of receipt of notice to dispute the fact the physician is not the supervising physician. If notice goes undelivered, the department may remove the physician’s name and notify the board of nursing or committee on physician assistants of an incorrect address and the failure to update the profile. If the individual does not dispute the physician’s claim then the physician’s name will be removed from the profile. If the department removes the physician’s name from the file: (1) For nurse practitioners, the board of nursing must determine if the individual is currently issuing prescriptions and, if so, who the supervising physician is and why the file has not been updated; and (2) For physician assistants, the committee on physician assistants must determine if the individual is providing services for which supervision is required and, if so, who the supervising physician is and why the profile has not be updated.

→Insurance– Prohibits any state entity from implementing or administering, or assisting in the implementation or administration of, any portion of the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

→ Professions & Licensure– Authorizes a dental hygienists to perform scaling, root planning, periodontal maintenance, and local anesthesia under the following circumstances: the patient is at least 18 years of age; the patient has been examined by a dentist in the state in the past 11 months; there have been no changes in the patient’s medical history since the last examination, and if there have been, the supervising dentist must give approval before administering anesthesia; the patient has been examined by the supervising dentist who must approve of the procedure; and the dental hygienist is licensed and certified to administer local anesthesia. In addition, provides that dental hygienists may provide other hygiene services that are not limited to direct supervision for no more than 15 consecutive business days under certain conditions. Authorizes dental hygienists to prescribe and administer periodontal rinses, fluoride supplements, and topically applied fluorides.

→ Professions & Licensure– Removes procedure for certifying dental specialties and the exemption from educational specialization designations for dental-related education programs.

→ Health Care– As introduced, authorizes a private act metropolitan hospital authority to do all “proper” things in addition to necessary and convenient things to carry out its lawful powers. – Amends TCA Title 7, Chapter 57, Part 5.


SB0546/ HB0969–Bell/Matheny
→Education, Higher‐As introduced, authorizes certain postsecondary education institutions to accept students without a high school degree or its equivalent if such students are pursuing a profession or trade that does not require a certificate or license; requires THEC to study annually fees assessed for regulatory over sight of postsecondary proprietary schools. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 7,Part 20.

SB1737/ HB2071 –Niceley/Farmer
→Death‐ As introduced, requires that any body farm located in this state shall be owned and operated by a state-supported university, community college, or a private college or university. Amends TCA Title 49 and Title 68, Chapter 4.

SB1771/HB1883 –Bell/Dennis
→Weapons‐ As introduced, makes lawful the sale, transfer, ownership, possession and transportation of switchblade knives and knives with a blade length in excess of 4″; increases from $3,000 to $6,000 the maximum fine for possessing a switchblade knife with the intent to employ it during commission of a dangerous felony; creates Class D felony of employing a switchblade knife during commission of dangerous felony. Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13.

SB1963/HB2162 –Bell/Matheny
→Education, Higher‐ As introduced, defines “college” and regulates the use of the word “college” in the name of a postsecondary educational institution. Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 7, Part 20.

SB2064/ HB2124–Finney/Pitts
→Gas, Petroleum Products, Volatile Oils‐ As introduced, prohibits fracturing in Tennessee, effective January 1, 2016. Amends TCA Title 59; Title 60; Title 68 and Title 69.

→Education, Higher – As introduced, creates the student athlete trust fund to provide a source of funding for one-time payments to eligible student athletes who graduate from a public institution of higher education in Tennessee. Amends TCA Title 49.

→ University of Tennessee – As introduced, requires the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the university to perform a study on the economic feasibility of creating and utilizing a statewide comprehensive energy policy. Amends TCA Title 4; Title 11; Title 49; Title 60; Title 64; Title 65 and Title 68.

SB2294/HB2032—Haile/DeBerry, J.
→ Human Rights – As introduced, makes certain discrimination against a student or a student organization by a postsecondary educational institution a discriminatory practice under the human rights statute. Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 21 and Title 49.

SJR0034– Summerville
→Constitutional Amendments‐ Prohibits discrimination and preferences in government.

→Constitutional Amendments‐ Prohibits the State of Tennessee from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.

SB2423/HB2115—Henry/Brooks H
→Education, Higher‐ As introduced, prohibits the board of regents and the University of Tennessee’s board of trustees from adopting policies that substantially burden students’ free exercise of religion. Amends TCA Title 4 and Title 49.


72350_hr_1997 FEDERAL ISSUES
In Washington, the University is focused on two key areas:  Securing new partnerships with federal agencies to generate research opportunities and funding, and building understanding amongst lawmakers and agency officials of UT’s value to current areas of research.  Although overall cuts to funding at the federal level are virtually unavoidable, the University hopes to protect funding for many of its key initiatives and activities.