New Laws Going into Effect July 1 in Tennessee


The Tennessee legislature adjourned in late April after numerous discussions concerning school vouchers, guns, abortions, gender-affirming care and more than 200 laws set to take effect on July 1. The most significant of those laws impacting Tennesseans are listing below:

Back the Blue Act: This law increases the penalty for assaulting an officer from a Class A misdemeanor which carries a 30-day minimum sentence and $5,000 fine to a Class E Felony which carries a 60-day minimum sentence and a $10,000 fine.

The Laken Riley Act: This law is penned after 22-year-old Laken Riley who was a student killed at The University of Georgia while jogging. The law will allow for the possession of a non-lethal weapon on campus including pepper spray, mace or a stun gun. Universities would not be able to prohibit the possession of such weapons, but an amendment to the law states that the possession of non-lethal weapons would be prohibited in buildings where there is already security.

Cyberbullying:  A new cyberbullying law states that bullying and cyberbullying offenses would carry the exact same penalties as harassment and requires officers to report the incident as well as notifying parents if the victim is a minor.

Abortion Car for Minors: Governor Bill Lee signed a bill that would criminalize any person who helps a minor to receive out-of-state abortion care without written and notarized consent from the minor’s parents. Those who doe help minors without consent would face a Class A misdemeanor. The bill also includes criminal and civil suits for adults who help minors obtain abortion drugs or those who hide abortion care from parents, regardless of whether the minor wanted the care or not. The bill does not apply to parents of minors. Tennessee is the second state in the Nation to pass a law like this.

Gender Affirming Care: Tennessee is the first in the Nation to pass this law which would prosecute adults who help minors with gender-affirming care outside of the state without the explicit content of parents. This law follows the same guidelines as the abortion care law does.  Tennessee has enacted more than 20 bills relating to anti-LGBTQ+ than any other state since 2015 according to The Human Rights Campaign.

Death Penalty for Child Rape: This law would enable prosecutors to request the death penalty after an adult receives a conviction for aggravated child rape.

Carolina Squat Ban: Vehicles with ‘Carolina Squat’ modification will be banned across the state. These modifications lift the front end of a vehicle to be higher than the back end which causes the driver of said vehicle to be unable to see over the dashboard properly. Penalties for not following the law would make it a Class B misdemeanor which is punishable by a $250 fine for a first offense and increases in severity for each subsequent offense.

Age-Appropriate Materials Act: changes were made to this act of allowed materials in school which now includes nudity, sexual excitement, sexual conduct or excess violence. This law would result in more books being banned from schools. If books are determined to be not appropriate, they are removed from school library shelves.  

The Debbie and Marie Domestic Violence Protection Act: this law states that courts can require domestic violence offenders to wear GPS devices so victims can see of their offender is nearby via an app they can download. Offenders would be required to pay for the costs.

Juvenile Sex Offender Registry: This law would allow judges to register a juvenile on the sex offender registry if the victim raped was under 4 years of age

Federal Immigration Reporting: This law requires local law enforcement to notify and work with Federal Immigration to report a person illegally in the country by cooperating in identification, detaining and deporting them.

Ben Kredich Act: This law, which was named after the son of UT Swimming and Diving Director Matt Kredich, who was killed by a vehicle while walking in April of 2024. This happened when 44-year-old Shannon Walker was indicted on vehicle homicide for Kredich’s death and also indicted on a DUI charge. Walker was given Narcan at a hospital a few hours prior to the crash. The law requires any first responder to inform those given Narcan about the effects and dangers of the drug in their system while driving.

Be sure to click the link below for the full list of bills filed this session.