Among more than two dozen new laws which took effect in Tennessee on Jan. 1 2015 is a measure that protects employees' private information on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts from nosy bosses.
Tennessee joined more than 20 other states in passing an Employee Online Privacy Act last year. The new law dictates that employers cannot force an employee or job applicant to provide access to private information.
The social media password protection law stops employers from requesting or requiring any of your personal passwords or sharing your list of contacts. It even restricts employers from looking at your personal Facebook or Twitter account, even over your shoulder.
Meanwhile, the state legislature and Gov. Bill Haslam will appoint a school textbook review team that will pick and choose which textbooks come to Tennessee schools.
A new law changes the way members of the state's textbook selection panel are selected. The panel makes recommendations to the State Board of Education, and local school systems then choose which textbooks to adopt. Criticism of the content of some books led to calls for a stronger public review process.
Under the new law, the House and Senate speakers and the governor would each make three appointments to the panel after Jan. 1. Currently, all but one of the 10 panelists is appointed by the governor. The legislation also requires that history and fundamental documents be taught.
For parents on welfare, their children’s behavior at school and the parent's benefits are now related. Parents can lose benefits if they do not attend at least two parent-teacher conferences.
Diabetic children who require insulin may now have the drug administered by trained school personnel in emergency situations. The law was supported by parent’s organizations, but resisted by medical groups citing an already critical shortage of school nurses. DeKalb County has a nurse on staff at every school.
Marinas are now required to have ground fault protection on electric lines, as well as yearly inspections to prevent swimmers near the docks from being electrocuted. Called the Noah Dean and Nate Act, the law is named after children who died in Grainger County in 2012.
Tennessee will not allow police to use drones to gather evidence against residents. It is considered a Fourth Amendment protection.
Other new legislation will give employers extra protection, a certificate of employment ability, which will make it difficult to sue companies in negligent hiring lawsuits. The legislation is designed to give criminal re-offenders a true second chance. An ex-felon who has turned his or her life around will receive a certificate of employability, which gives businesses that hire the person protection from negligent hiring lawsuits.