More than 140 new laws to take effect July 1 in Tennessee

June 28, 2019
FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2011 file photo, a driver uses a cellphone while driving in Los Angeles. Drivers in Tennessee could face fines if they're caught using handheld cellphones behind the wheel starting Monday, July 1, 2019, when that law and more than 140 others take effect. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — More than 140 Tennessee laws are set to kick in Monday, including measures to crack down on drivers using hand-held cellphones on the roads; strip one court’s review of death sentences; and bar ministers ordained online from administering marriages.

July 1 also marks the start of a new fiscal year, with this year’s spending plan nearing $38.6 billion.

Here is a look at some laws that will begin Monday.

AMMUNITION TAX BREAK: Removes $435,400 worth of annual taxes on ammunition.

CHILD RAPE PENALTIES: Increases punishment for aggravated rape of a child to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Previously it was from 15 to 60 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.

CHILD SEX DOLLS: Bans possessing, selling or distributing a child-like sex doll.

CIVICS TEST: Requires students to pass a civics test to receive a high school diploma.

DEATH PENALTY REVIEW: Removes one state court’s review before executing inmates and provides automatic state Supreme Court death penalty reviews.

DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS: Makes destroying or altering government records a Class E felony, increased from a Class A misdemeanor.

EXPUNCTION: Eliminates $180 fee for petitioning the court to expunge someone’s record of certain criminal offenses.

GOVERNOR’S FAITH-BASED OFFICE: Establishes the governor’s office of faith-based and community initiatives.

GYM TAX REPEAL: Repeal a $10 million amusement tax on gym memberships.

HAND-HELD PHONE BAN WHILE DRIVING: Bans the use of hand-held cellphones while driving.

MARCH MADNESS POOLS: Makes clear that March Madness college basketball bracket pools with an entry fee of $25 or less with a total pool of $1,000 or less are legally allowed.

ONLINE-ORDAINED MARRIAGE MINISTER BAN: Bans ministers ordained online from performing marriages.

SEX OFFENDERS: Bars people convicted of a sex offense against a child younger than 12 years old from living with, visiting overnight or being alone with their own minor children. Law has been temporarily blocked by court order.

SPORTS BETTING: Allows regulated statewide mobile and interactive sports gambling for people 21 years old and up. Betting will not begin until regulations are crafted and a new board is appointed.

WATERED-DOWN BATHROOM BILL: Spells out that Tennessee’s public indecency law applies to single-sex, multiperson bathrooms and changing rooms.

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