2021 means new laws go into effect in Tennessee and Virginia

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(WJHL) – Several new laws go into effect in both Tennessee and Virginia on January 1, 2021.

In Virginia, you will no longer be able to take online firearm safety courses to obtain a concealed weapons permit.

You also can’t hold a phone while driving without violating the law.

There’s a $125 fine for first offenders and the stricter regulations can mean jail time for those who break the law.

“If you were driving down the road and you swerve and you wreck, run a red light, whatever it might be, that’s technically reckless driving and that’s punished by 12 months in jail or $2500 fine,” explains Commonwealth’s Attorney of Wise County and the City of Norton Chuck Slemp.

In Tennessee, new laws allow private car owners to rent their vehicles to others, similar to an Airbnb.

“Legislation is focused on making sure that folks who do this are fully insured should an accident occur,” said state Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville).

Speaking of rentals, taxes will now be collected on short-term rentals, Hawk explains.

“Air BnB and BRBO industries are huge and have grown exponentially across Tennessee over the last four or five years. So what we want to do is ensure that the local governments that have a hotel-motel tax are being accurately given those taxes.”

Another law changing is that all trained 911 operators can now provide CPR instructions over the phone in an emergency.

“They want to ensure that there’s no additional liability on that operator should something go wrong in the process of CPR, but training for CPR is something that our 911 operators do on a regular basis and it saves lives across Tennessee,” Hawk said.

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