Tennessee’s New Laws Taking Effect in 2021


The Volunteer State gained a set of new laws that took effect on the first day of the new year.

These laws impacted tobacco purchasing, emergency alert systems, pregnant employees and their employers, 911 operators, Department of Veterans Services staff, correctional officers and emergency medical personnel, animal owners, and those who rent out their homes or cars.

The age limit to purchase or consume any tobacco, hemp, or vapor products increased from 18 to 21 years old. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously increased the federal minimum age from 18 to 21 at the end of 2019, as part of a $1.4 trillion spending bill.

Tennessee’s Endangered Alert System, similar to the America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert system, expanded to include qualifying individuals under 21 years old through the Holly Bobo Act. The woman the legislation was named after, Holly Bobo, went missing at 18 years old in 2011.

Employers must provide more accommodations for expectant mothers, per the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. These include: increased provisions of breaks, modified or increased seating, temporary transfer to a vacant position, and modified work schedules.

911 operators from every county may now provide CPR instructions over the phone. Previously, not every county allowed its operators to issue CPR instructions. The legislation also protects operators from liability in the event that they issue those instructions or a caller declines the CPR guidance.

The Department of Veterans Services will mandate suicide prevention training for their employees that work with veterans.

Correctional officers and emergency medical personnel may opt to retire after 25 years instead of 30, with some reduced benefits.

Homeowners won’t be subject to commercial property taxes for using their residence for short-term rentals. However, if any marketplaces advertise these units then they must collect and remit local occupancy taxes.

Expanded regulations will be imposed on peer-to-peer car sharing, a trend that allows motor vehicle owners to rent their car to drivers. The regulations include insurance requirements, keeping rental records, and drivers license requirements.

The new laws went into effect on Friday.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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2 Thoughts to “Tennessee’s New Laws Taking Effect in 2021”

  1. JohnR

    We’d all be better off if, instead of ADDING laws every year, the Legislature would concentrate on REPEALING laws every year. I can see the Democrat influence in our Legislature with the passage of pregnancy/employer laws, etc.

    1. Fernando

      Why can’t it be that the legislature remove a law when they add a law that is rather similar or amended