The Student News Site of Hillsboro High School

The Hillsboro Globe

The Student News Site of Hillsboro High School

The Hillsboro Globe

The Student News Site of Hillsboro High School

The Hillsboro Globe

Legislative Logs: A guide to current TN proposed legislation | Week of 2/19

Legislative Logs: A guide to current TN proposed legislation | Week of 2/19

Here is this week’s update on the Tennessee State Legislature. This week we are seeing bills increase penalties for blocking roads during a protest and a proposed bill that would ban phones in classrooms.

The increased penalties for blocking roads are very similar to many bills that were passed in the wake of widespread protests against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd. Most notably was Flordia’s “anti-riot bill” which was widely criticized for being vague and could have been used to stop peaceful protests. Ultimately, a judge blocked the bill. These bills including HB2031/SB2570 are dangerous in the wrong hands and absolutely be abused to stop valid peaceful protests.

There are several questions regarding the phone ban which would affect its impact on students. The bill defines instructional time as “any period of time during the school day that is designated for academic instruction, including classroom sessions, examinations, and other educational activities”. It is unclear whether an entire block would be considered instructional time or just when students are just doing an activity/the teacher is actively teaching. Additionally, it’s impact would likely depend on how school districts choose to enforce it.


Increased Penalites for Disruptive Protests

By Rep. Jody Barrett and Sen. Brent Taylor

This bill would raise the penalty for blocking a highway or road from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony. A class A misdemeanor can be punishable by up to 11 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. This bill would make these crimes a class D felony which is punishable by up to 4 years in jail.

Current Status: Waiting to be heard by the house Criminal Justice Committee at an unknown time. Expected to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/27/2024.



Phone Ban in Schools

By Rep. Rebecca Alexander and Sen. Jon Lundberg

This bill would ban students from accessing devices during instructional time unless the device was being used for educational purposes. It would be the duty of local school boards to create plans to enforce this new policy.

Current Status: Scheduled to be heard by the House Education Administration Commitee on 2/28/2024 and the Senate Education Committee at an unknown date.


Updates on Previous Bills

Finally, here are some updates on a few bills we covered in previous weeks.


Flag Ban Bill

By Rep. Gino Bulso and Sen. Joey Hensley

This bill has been completely rewritten via an amendment to include a wide range of exceptions such as school flags, country flags, and other historically significant flags. The bill would still ban pride flags within schools, something that has been heavily criticized by opponents. It is currently expected to be heard by the House Calander & Rules Committee on 2/22/2024 and the Senate Calander Committee at an unknown date.

See our previous analysis here.


Elimination of School Voucher Program

by Rep Bo Mitchell (D) and Sen. Heidi Campbell (D)

This bill failed in the house K-12 Subcommittee due to a lack of a second. In order for a bill to be heard a motion must be made by one of the members and that motion must be “seconded”. This means that the bill was not debated on or heard whatsoever before it was failed. It is still scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee at an unknown date although it will likely be taken off notice or not placed on the docket meaning it will not be heard.

You can see our previous analysis on this bill here.

Be sure to check in next week for more updates on bills that have major impact on your daily life. If you have comments on these bills, be sure to contact your local representatives.

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