Bills of Interest to KBA Members
The KBA Legislative Committee is taking a new approach in 2019 to informing membership as to legislation that may be relevant to their respective practice areas. We have asked Section Chairs and individual members to keep us informed about legislation of interest to the local bar.
Information provided by Brad Burnette
SB307/HB317 Increases split-limit motor vehicle insurance policy.
Sponsors: Sen. Lundberg, Jon , Rep. Baum, Charlie
Summary: Increases from $15,000 to $25,000 the minimum amount of insurance coverage for property damage in any one accident that is required for a split-limit motor vehicle insurance policy to qualify as proof of financial security under the financial responsibility law.
SB663/HB756 Use of a motor carrier safety improvement.
Sponsors: Sen. Watson, Bo , Rep. Marsh, Pat
Summary: Removes the use of a motor carrier safety improvement required by a motor carrier from being considered when evaluating a person's status as an employee or independent contractor.
SB768/HB583 Requires driver of vehicles involved in accidents with bicycles or pedestrians to report the accident.
Sponsors: Sen. Yarbro, Jeff , Rep. Potts, Jason
Summary: Requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident with a pedestrian or bicyclist to stop at scene of accident and to report accident.
SB859/HB571 Evidence of compliance with the financial responsibility law.
Sponsors: Sen. Crowe, Rusty , Rep. Holsclaw, Jr., John
Summary: Requires officers to request evidence of compliance with the financial responsibility law when a driver of a motor vehicle violates a motor vehicle equipment requirement.
SB967/HB1434 Liability for injuries incurred by minors using dockless electric scooters.
Sponsors: Sen. Robinson, Katrina , Rep. Stewart, Mike
Summary: Imposes strict liability on a company doing business in this state for the purpose of providing dockless electric scooter rentals for injuries incurred by minors using the company's electric scooters.
SB1107/HB1220 Establishes requirements for the operation of electric foot scooters.
Sponsors: Sen. Dickerson, Steven , Rep. Potts, Jason
Summary: Defines an electric foot scooter as a device weighing less than 100 pounds, with two or three wheels, a flatboard to ride on, powered by electricity or human movement, with a max speed of 20 mph. Excludes electric foot scooters from the definition of motor vehicle, and from the definition of motor-driven cycle. Clarifies the penalties and requirements of an electric foot scooter in accordance with an electric bicycle. Defines the limitations of use in accordance of weight, transportation, and operation of electric foot scooters. (pp 7),
SB1270/HB549 Solicitation of accident and disaster victims.
Sponsors: Sen. Pody, Mark , Rep. Curcio , Michael
Summary: Increases the maximum fine associated with any person requesting the disclosure of personal information from department of transportation records who misrepresents that person's identity from $1,000 to $5,000. Adds that any person who releases this information is subject to the same penalties. Authorizes disciplinary action of suspension or revocation of a license, certificate, permit, or authorization, of any healthcare prescriber, employee, agent, or independent contractor found to be soliciting accident and disaster victims.
SB1346/HB1107 Disclosure of personal information.
Sponsors: Sen. Massey, Becky , Rep. Powell, Jason
Summary: Specifies that any personally identifying information of a driver, owner, or passenger in a motor vehicle accident contained in any accident report is confidential and not open for public inspection. Authorizes person's agent or legal representative to receive an accident report of persons involved in the accident. Broadly captioned.
SB1492/HB536 Requests a study involving a malfunctioning airbags.
Sponsors: Sen. Bailey, Paul , Rep. Whitson, Sam
Summary: Requests a study from the department of safety on the amount of motor vehicle accidents reported during the previous four calendar years that resulted in serious bodily injury or property damage exceeding $1,000 and involved a malfunctioning airbag or other restraint system component. If the study is conducted, the department of safety must submit its finding by February 1, 2020 to the transportation and safety committee of the senate and the transportation committee of the house of representatives.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 2019
SJR176 Constitutional amendment - limits on damages in civil actions.
Sponsors: Sen. McNally, Randy,
Summary: Proposes an amendment to Article I of the Constitution of Tennessee which would authorize the legislature to limit the amount of non-economic and punitive damages that may be awarded in civil actions and specifies that these limits do not diminish the right to trial by jury.
HJR135 Constitutional amendment - limits on damages in civil actions.
Sponsors: Rep. Casada, Glen
Summary: Proposes an amendment to Article I of the Constitution of Tennessee that would authorize the legislature to limit the amount of non-economic and punitive damages that may be awarded in civil actions and specifies that these limits do not diminish the right to trial by jury.
CONSUMER PROTECTION 2019
SB352/HB352 Consumer protection - claims related to medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
Sponsors: Sen. Briggs, Richard , Rep. Sexton, Cameron
Summary: Prohibits failure to disclose at the beginning of any legal advertisement or display in a conspicuous location that the advertisement is paid advertisement for legal services, presentation of legal advertisements as a "medical alert," "public service announcement," or other similar language, display of federal logos, use the word "recall" to refer to a product that has not been recalled, failure to identify the person, attorney or law firm responsible for the advertisement. Requires legal advertisements soliciting clients alleging injury from an approved prescription drug cleared by the food and drug administration to include warnings and disclose that the drug or medical device remains approved by the United States food and drug administration. Prohibits transfer of protected health information for the purpose of soliciting an legal services without authorization. Creates penalties for violations, authorizes enforcement by the attorney general.
SB804/HB948 Transfers responsibilities - Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977.
Sponsors: Sen. Johnson, Jack , Rep. Lamberth, William
Summary: Transfers responsibilities concerning the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977 from the department of commerce and insurance to the attorney general and reporter.
SB199/HB249 Creates elder abuse task force.
Sponsors: Sen. Briggs, Richard , Rep. Carr, Dale
Summary: Creates elder abuse task force charged with examining the current state of financial elder abuse, determining its economic and human impact, and developing recommendations to address problems associated with financial exploitation of the elderly. The task force will consist of 12 members, appointed by the health and financial commissioners, speakers of the legislative houses, district attorney, and TBI, as well as representatives from health and banking associations. The task force will submit its findings and recommendations to the governor and the general assembly no later than January 15, 2021.
SB1039/HB909 Elderly Abuse and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act of 2019.
Sponsors: Sen. Gardenhire, Todd , Rep. Keisling, Kelly
Summary: Enacts the "Elderly and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act of 2019," which creates a Class E felony offense of abuse of an elderly adult and creates a Class D felony offense of abuse of a vulnerable adult. Also creates a Class A misdemeanor offense for any person to knowingly sexually exploit an elderly adult or vulnerable adult. Revises provisions pertaining to procedure for seeking relief by relative having personal knowledge that an adult has been subject to or threatened with willful abuse, neglect or exploitation. (13 pp.)
EMPLOYMENT LAW 2019
SB466/HB539 Defining an employee and an employee-employer relationship.
Sponsors: Sen. Roberts, Kerry , Rep. Howell, Dan
Summary: Requires the consideration of the 20-factor test IRS Revenue Ruling 87-41 to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor and whether an employer-employee relationship exists in the arrangement.
SB569/HB1087 Revises Public Employee Political Freedom Act of 1980.
Sponsors: Sen. Bowling, Janice , Rep. Bricken, Rush
Summary: Specifies that employers cannot terminate employees for communication with public officials, revises court compensation for employees terminated under these terms from treble damages plus attorney fees to compensatory damages plus attorney fees. Requires court sanction of filers of frivolous lawsuits intended to harass or economically harm employers be fined up to $5,000, and may award attorney fees and costs to the employer.
SB259/HB215 Bleed control kit training for LEA employees.
Sponsors: Sen. Kyle, Sara , Rep. Clemmons, John
Summary: Requires each LEA, beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, to develop and implement a "Stop the Bleed" program in consultation with local law enforcement. Requires the department of education to develop a training program for LEA employees to instruct the employees on how to use the items contained in a bleeding control kit. Specifies requirements for training program.
SB314/HB775 Civil liability - entity that provides access to an automated external defibrillator.
Sponsors: Sen. Watson, Bo , Rep. Ramsey, Bob
Summary: Specifies that the entity responsible for the AED program is not subject to any civil liability for any personal injury that results from an act or omission relative to the use of an AED by any person.
SB553/HB535 Clarifies prohibition on holding teaching schools vicariously responsible for trainee actions.
Sponsors: Sen. Swann, Art , Rep. Whitson, Sam
Summary: Clarifies that prohibition of holding a teaching hospital vicariously liable for any act of an intern, resident, or fellow in the course of a training program of a state owned medical school, under any legal theory of vicarious liability except actual agency, applies regardless of the individual's official title.
SB576/HB192 Immunity for civil liability for local governments for certain software.
Sponsors: Sen. Gardenhire, Todd , Rep. Carter, Mike
Summary: Establishes that a person does not have a cause of action against a local government, officers, employees, or agents of a local government for any defect or malfunction in a software program intended to register a non-communicative person with law enforcement when the program was designed in good faith and without cost to the recipient local government or user of the program. Provides exception to immunity for claims based on gross negligence, willful misconduct, or bad faith.
SB1275/HB409 Civil or criminal immunity for person who uses force in self-defense.
Sponsors: Sen. Pody, Mark , Rep. Griffey, Bruce
Summary: Confers criminal and civil immunity upon a person who uses or threatens to use force in self-defense, defense of another, or defense from a person committing a criminal offense, unless the person against whom the force is used is a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of the officer's official duties and has identified himself or herself as a law enforcement officer.
SB413/HB348 Insurance company determining its obligations under an insurance policy.
Sponsors: Sen. Stevens, John , Rep. Cepicky, Scott
Summary: Declares that an insurance company may determine its obligations under a policy of insurance as to any and all parties or claimants through a declaratory judgment action, an interpleader claim or action, or both, under a good faith clause.
SB704/HB601 Prohibits certain actions under common law against an insurance company.
Sponsors: Sen. Stevens, John , Rep. Marsh, Pat
Summary: Prohibits any remedy, cause of action, right to relief or sanction available under common law against an insurance company.
SB316/HB194 Right of the general assembly to intervene in certain litigation.
Sponsors: Sen. Watson, Bo , Rep. Dunn, Bill
Summary: Allows for the speakers of each chamber, jointly, or a majority of both chambers to intervene on any proceeding of defending the constitutionality of a challenged statute, assert the general assembly’s authority, or advocate for construction of statute different from that advocated by the attorney general.
SB386/HB335 Designates 911 calls and recordings as confidential
Sponsors: Sen. Reeves, Shane , Rep. Tillis , Ric
Summary: Designates 911 calls, transmissions, and recordings of an emergency communications district and emergency communications board as confidential and specifies that they may be used only for public safety purposes, law enforcement, fire, medical, rescue, dispatching, or other emergency services. Permits a 911 call, transmission, or recording to be released to another party with the written consent of the caller whose voice is captured on the call, transmission, or recording.
SB396/HB1422 Copies of appellate records.
Sponsors: Sen. Gilmore, Brenda , Rep. Towns Jr., Joe
Summary: Establishes that at the conclusion of a civil trial in circuit court, any party to the action can upon request receive one, free complete copy of the record as described in Rule 24 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure from the clerk of the court. Broadly captioned.
SB449/HB984 Uniform Power of Attorney Act.
Sponsors: Sen. Bell, Mike , Rep. Travis, Ron
Summary: Enacts the "Uniform Power of Attorney Act." Specifies that a power of attorney created under this chapter is durable unless it expressly provides that it is terminated by the incapacity of the principal. Requires a power of attorney to be signed by the principal or in the principal's conscious presence by another individual directed by the principal to sign the principal's name on the power of attorney. Specifies that a signature on a power of attorney is presumed to be genuine if the principal acknowledges the signature before a notary public or other individual authorized by law to take acknowledgments. Specifies requirements for validity of power of attorney. Permits a principal, in a power of attorney, to nominate a conservator or guardian of the principal's estate or guardian of the principal's person for consideration by the court if protective proceedings for the principal's estate or person are begun after the principal executes the power of attorney. Specifies when power of attorney is effective and establishes other requirements for power of attorney. (50 pp)
SB456/HB393 Specifies the responsibilities of a process server in delivering a civil warrant.
Sponsors: Sen. Stevens, John , Rep. Garrett, Johnny
Summary: Specifies that if the process server for a civil warrant is a sheriff or constable, they must be identified by name and agency on the service return or the affidavit. If service of process is made by a private process server, the process server must be identified by name and must include a mailing or physical address. Failure of the process server to include this information does not invalidate the effectiveness of the service.
SB540/HB995 Civil liability for treatment of mental health disorders by unlicensed persons.
Sponsors: Sen. Lundberg, Jon , Rep. Beck, Bill
Summary: Defines "mental health disorder" to mean a serious psychological condition, including, but not limited to, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Requires an unlicensed person who provides mental health psychotherapy services to provide to the client for the client's review and signature, a statement acknowledging the unlicensed status of the provider. Creates civil liability for an unlicensed person providing mental health psychotherapy services for treatment of a mental health disorder.
SB667/HB729 Court reporter compensation.
Sponsors: Sen. Haile, Ferrell , Rep. Lamberth, William
Summary: Sets minimum compensation payable to officially designated and auxiliary court reporters at the rates of $350 per full-day appearance and $175 per half-day appearance.
SB824/HB413 Open records - video taken by a law enforcement body camera.
Sponsors: Sen. Akbari, Raumesh , Rep. Lamar, London
Summary: Specifies that video taken by a law enforcement body camera is a public record open to public inspection. Deletes language regarding termination date on exceptions. Establishes a process for an attorney to obtain a copy of law enforcement body camera recording held confidential for use in civil litigation by attorney.
SB1097/HB777 Protection of persons exercising their constitutional rights of expression on matters of public concern.
Sponsors: Sen. Dickerson, Steven , Rep. Ramsey, Bob
Summary: Allows a party to petition the court to dismiss a legal action if the legal action is filed in response to a party's exercise of the right of free speech, right to petition, or right of association within 60 calendar days from the date of service of the action. A response to the petition may be filed no less than five days before the hearing. The petitioning party has the burden of making a prima facie case that a legal action against the petitioning party is based on, relates to, or is in response to that party's exercise of the right to free speech, right to petition, or right of association.
SB1262/HB594 Settlement agreements - claim of sexual harassment.
Sponsors: Sen. Gresham, Dolores , Rep. Beck, Bill
Summary: Declares settlement agreement provisions that have purpose or effect of concealing details relating to claim of sexual harassment or sexual assault as void and unenforceable and contrary to public policy of this state if settlement agreement is entered into by governmental entity. Specifies that identifying information concerning a person who is a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault is confidential until such person authorizes the disclosure of the information.
SB1274/HB1237 Excusing a physician from jury service.
Sponsors: Sen. Pody, Mark , Rep. Griffey, Bruce
Summary: Requires a judge or jury coordinator upon request to excuse any practicing physician from jury service upon request. A physician making a request to be excused from jury service must provide the court with documentation verifying that the person is a physician licensed to practice medicine.
SB1424/HB1411 Establishes requirements for providers operating websites.
Sponsors: Sen. Akbari, Raumesh , Rep. Farmer, Andrew
Summary: Specifies that the practice of law, including the giving of legal advice, does not include the operation of a website by a provider that offers consumers access to interactive software that generates a legal document based on the consumer's answers to questions presented by the software as long as certain criteria are met. Requires a website provider to register with the board of law examiners prior to commencing operation in the state and must renew its registration with the board annually. The board of law examiners must not refuse registration. Orders each website provider to pay an initial registration fee not exceeding $100 and an annual renewal fee no more than $50.00.
HJR146 Committee to study justice system reforms.
Sponsors: Rep. Calfee, Kent
Summary: Establishes a special committee to study Tennessee's justice system and identify possible reforms that would improve the fiscal health of the state and increase productivity and access to justice.
SB368/HB286 Statute of limitations - sexual offenses against children.
Sponsors: Sen. Massey, Becky , Rep. Coley, Jim
Summary: Deletes the statute of limitations for prosecution of certain Class A or Class B felony sexual offenses committed against a child on or after July 1, 2019. Also deletes a provision that sets a lower statute of limitations for aggravated rape, rape of a child, rape, and aggravated rape of a child if notice of the offense is not given to law enforcement within three years of the offense.
SB545/HB660 Statutes of limitation for certain acts involving children.
Sponsors: Sen. Robinson, Katrina , Rep. Thompson , Dwayne
Summary: Removes the civil statute of limitation on child sexual abuse and the statutes of limitation on sexual offenses committed against children on or after July 1, 2019.
SB954/HB1035 Statutes of limitation for actions based on child sexual abuse.
Sponsors: Sen. Yarbro, Jeff , Rep. Shaw, Johnny
Summary: Extends the statute of limitations for civil actions based on child sexual abuse to five years from discovery of the abuse.
SB1252/HB565 Statute of limitations for certain acts of abuse against minors.
Sponsors: Sen. Gresham, Dolores , Rep. Dunn, Bill
Summary: Extends civil and criminal statute of limitations for certain acts of abuse against minors. Increases the penalty for intentional reporting failures regarding child abuse or child sexual abuse.
TTLA BILLS 2019
SB427/HB1287 Requirements for loss coverage when applying uninsured motorist coverage.
Sponsors: Sen. Gardenhire, Todd , Rep. Farmer, Andrew
Summary: Removes limitation in number of accidents that uninsured motorist coverage can be applied to. Allows limits of insurance for covered vehicles to be stacked and allows limits of multiple policies or endorsements for uninsured motorist coverage to be stacked and applied to one accident to provide full coverage for the insured's loss. Prohibits the amount of coverage to be reduced by a setoff from other coverage. Increases time for any party to offer evidence in a trial resulting from injury of accident before trial from 45 to 50 days.
SB1034/HB1114 Passive investors in healthcare liability actions.
Sponsors: Sen. Gardenhire, Todd , Rep. Coley, Jim
Summary: Redefines "passive investor" as an individual or entity with an ownership interest of under five percent in a licensee.
WORK COMP 2019
SB200/HB780 Creates presumption that firefighters with PTSD are eligible for workers' compensation.
Sponsors: Sen. Briggs, Richard , Rep. Ramsey, Bob
Summary: Creates presumption that, for purposes of workers' compensation, firefighter or emergency medical services personnel diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sustained the injury in the line of duty in the absence of evidence that the PTSD was caused by other risk factors or exposure.
SB271/HB208 Changes the time period considered the base period concerning unemployment compensation.
Sponsors:Sen. Kelsey, Brian , Rep. Leatherwood, Tom
Summary: Redefines "base period" to mean the last two calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day of an individual's benefit year. Excludes temporary total disability from the base period and determines the base period from the last two completed quarters of work before any such disability.
SB693/HB1145 Report on employers that failed to provide workers' compensation coverage.
Sponsors: Sen. Roberts, Kerry , Rep. Ragan, John
Summary: Adjusts the time period that the bureau of workers' compensation has to report regarding the number of employers that failed, during the preceding fiscal year, to provide workers' compensation coverage or qualify as a self-insured employer from December 30 to December 1. Broadly captioned.
SB1027/HB1102 Report on employers that failed to obtain coverage or self-insure during the previous fiscal year.
Sponsors: Sen. Yarbro, Jeff , Rep. Shaw, Johnny
Summary: Changes the date from December 31 to December 15 of each year by which the bureau of workers' compensation must report to the advisory council on workers' compensation, the chair of the commerce and labor committee of the senate, and the chair of the consumer and human resources committee of the house regarding all of the covered employers that failed to obtain coverage or self-insure during the previous fiscal year. Broadly captioned.
SB1232/HB1234 Appointing requirements - Advisory Council on Workers' Compensation.
Sponsors: Sen. Jackson, Ed , Rep. Casada, Glen
Summary: Modifies the appointing authority of the governor and the speakers of both legislative houses to the Advisory Council on Workers' Compensation by requiring the governor's employee appointment be from organized labor instead of at least one of the three employee appointments of the governor, the speaker of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives be from organized labor. Broadly captioned.
SB1426/HB1499 Annual report - advisory council on workers' compensation.
Sponsors: Sen. Akbari, Raumesh , Rep. Camper, Karen
Summary: Changes from January 15 to February 1 the date by which the advisory council on workers' compensation must issue an annual report regarding significant supreme court decisions relating to workers' compensation to the governor and the general assembly. Broadly captioned.
SB1439/HB374 Report on employers that failed to obtain coverage.
Sponsors: Sen. Bailey, Paul , Rep. Boyd, Clark
Summary: Changes the date by which the bureau of workers' compensation must produce its report of all the employers that failed to obtain coverage or self-insure during the previous fiscal year from December 31 to December 15. Broadly captioned.
WRONGFUL DEATH 2019
SB381/HB596 Wrongful death settlement or judgement.
Sponsors: Sen. Yarbro, Jeff , Rep. Beck, Bill
Summary: Prohibits the person who intentionally killed the decedent from filing a wrongful death action or sharing any portion of a wrongful death settlement or judgement based on death of the decedent.
SB695/HB834 Recovery in wrongful death action.
Sponsors: Sen. Lundberg, Jon , Rep. Lamberth, William
Summary: Revises recovery in death action for the benefit of the decedent's survivors and estate to no longer pass onto the wrongdoer's surviving spouse, children, or kin, instead to a personal representative. States that a defense that would bar or reduce a survivor's recovery may be asserted against that survivor but shall not affect the recovery of other survivors.