New state laws to take effect Jan. 1

Xavier Smith • Dec 22, 2017 at 2:31 PM

Several new laws will take effect Jan. 1 in Tennessee that address school zone safety, handgun permits, school bus drivers and more.

Tennessee drivers could face a $50 fine for talking on a cellphone while driving through a school zone while warning lights are flashing. The new law accompanies a ban on texting while driving.

People who can prove they passed pistol or small-arms training while they served in the U.S. Armed Forces will be exempt from the firing range portion of training required for a handgun permit, starting in 2018.

School bus drivers will be required to complete a training program before they are eligible to transport students. The new law also requires drivers to be at least 25 years old.

The new law accompanies several pieces of legislation passed in 2017 that focus on school bus safety.

Other new laws include:

• Barbers will have the ability to perform haircuts and other services in different homes. Prior to the new law, barbers could only perform “house calls” if the resident was ill. Barbers will need an additional residential barber certificate to perform the service.

• The Alcoholic Beverage Commission will no longer have jurisdiction over enforcement of criminal offenses that involve marijuana.

• The Board of Pharmacy will be authorized to create a voluntary prescription drug donation program, which would allow people to donate prescription drugs and supplies.

• All motor vehicles, excluding emergency vehicles, schools buses, mail carriers and law enforcement, must have white or amber headlights. The law applies to all headlights, regardless if the lights are steady or flashing. 

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