Rise in tobacco legal age, Holly Bobo Act, official state nickname among laws going into effect Jan. 1 across Tennessee

Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Several new laws, including a change to the legal age for tobacco use, requirement that employers provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, and the Holly Bobo Act, will go into effect on Jan. 1.

Here is a look at some of the laws:

  • Legislation raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21. 

Beginning Jan. 1 the legal age to purchase, possess, transport, smoke or consume any tobacco, hemp or vapor products will rise from 18 to 21. The state law aligns Tennessee with the federal law passed in December 2019.

The legal age for vaping and e-cigarette products are included in the law. Any person under 21 years of age who directly or indirectly purchases or attempts to purchase smoking paraphernalia using fake identification can face charges.

  • Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act establishes clear guidelines for employers and pregnant employees. Reasonable accommodations will be provided for pregnant employees with medical conditions, unless it would be a hardship on the business.

Examples of accommodations include extra restroom breaks, temporary limits on lifting, reduced exposure to chemicals, decreased standing requirements and others. Civil actions can be taken if the measures are not met.

  • Holly Bobo Act

The Holly Bobo Act expands Tennessee’s Endangered Alert System to include missing or endangered young adults under the age of 21. Bobo was abducted in 2011 from her Decatur County home. She was never the subject of an AMBER Alert. Her remains were found more than three years after she went missing.

  • Peer-to-peer car sharing regulation

Car sharing allows private car owners to rent out their vehicle, similar to how peer-to-peer home rentals like Airbnb. The legislation sets minimum insurance requirements and specifies which party’s policy is responsible for coverage. 

  • Sales tax remittance for marketplace facilitators

Companies that oversee a virtual marketplace, like Uber, Amazon, Etsy or Walmart, must collect and remit sales tax on behalf of marketplace sellers.

  • Short-term rental property tax remittance

A homeowner who is using their primary residence as a short-term rental will not be subject to commercial property tax. Taxes owed when short-term renting a property will be collected by the facilitator and remitted to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

  • Evading arrest restitution for government agencies

Courts must order a person who damages government property in the act of committing evading arrest to pay restitution to the appropriate government agency for the damaged property.

  • The Volunteer State

“The Volunteer State” will be the official nickname of the state of Tennessee.

A full list of the laws pass during last year’s session of the 111th General Assembly can be found below.

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