New Tennessee laws go into effect July 1

Monday, July 3, 2017

July 1 is the midpoint of the calender year but marks the start of the business year, and as such, Tennessee will see laws passed in the last session of the General Assembly go into effect.

In all, 133 new laws hit the books July 1, covering everything from minor adjustments to funeral director training requirements to gas tax increases, which impact the entire state.

The most widely followed changes stem from the passage this term of Governor Bill Haslamís IMPROVE Act, aimed at increasing funding to reduce the stateís backlog of transportation projects.

Gas prices will increase by four cents per gallon as the higher tax on fuel goes into effect.

The phased-in rate hike will also see an additional penny added to the cost each of the next two years.

Diesel costs will increase by 10 cents per gallon over the next three years as well.

County Clerk Daphne Fagan Girts reminded the County Commission on Monday night that vehicle registration costs are also increasing due to the new law.

Annual automobile registration fees will also go up by $5 for personal vehicles. Commercial and farm vehicle registration costs will go up by $20, while bus and taxi registrations increase $10.

Electric vehicles will see a new $100 fee.

Sales tax on food will drop by one percent on July 1 as well, to offset some of the increase in gas taxes.

Other laws with local impact include:

The state is doubling the amount of funds provided for teachers to purchase classroom supplies to $400 per teacher.

Schools are also now required to conduct an armed intruder drill each school year.

Legislators increased the maximum interest rate that can be charged on credit cards in Tennessee from 21 percent to 30 percent.

Landowners will now have to buy fewer no trespassing signs to mark their property boundaries.

Purple paint can now be used on trees or posts to mark property lines as long as a sign is prominently placed on the boundary stating that the paint is being used for that purpose.

The Tennessee Hearing Protection Act of 2017 removes all limitations on the use of silencers on guns in the state, starting next week. Supporters expressed a desire to protect the hearing of the stateís sportsmen. Federal restrictions on silencer ownership still apply.

Gun owners will also be allowed to carry firearms in boats as well.

A full list of the new legislation is available online at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislation/publications/effective07-01-2017.pdf