Legislative Updates will be posted on a regular basis and they are submitted.  Each will include a bold header indicating LOCAL, STATE or FEDERAL.  

1/10/22 - STATE

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

PREVIEW OF THE 2022 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The General Assembly will convene on January 11, 2022, and one of the primary issues of the 112th General Assembly will be dealing with the state budget. The budget is always a top issue and the most important constitutional duty of the Tennessee General Assembly.  This year it will be especially important due to strong tax collections, excess revenues and the flow of federal stimulus funds into Tennessee.  The state is in the best financial condition in recent history. Even after the approval of $884 million in appropriations to incentivize and complete the West Tennessee Megasite during the Special Session in October, Tennessee will have $1.2 billion in excess revenues from the 2020-2021 fiscal year.  The four months of the 2021-2022 fiscal year also looks very promising with the state’s general fund receiving approximately $1.112 billion in revenues over budgeted estimates. 

In addition, Tennessee has received around $14.8 billion in federal COVID-19 aid, including all assistance to individuals, businesses, counties, cities and the state.  This does not count the latest American Rescue Plan or Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds.  The state’s Financial Accountability Group has worked diligently to strategically invest one-time federal COVID-19 stimulus funds to maximize the positive effects on Tennesseans without creating risky recurring obligations. 

In November, the state’s Funding Board upwardly adjusted the current fiscal year which ends July 1 to a projected growth rate to a range of 7.75 to 8.5 percent in general fund revenues.  Funding Board members, however, estimated Tennessee’s general fund tax revenues will grow 1.75 to 2.25 percent during the 2022-2023 fiscal year.  Governor Lee will build his budget for the upcoming fiscal year utilizing these estimates. 

The conservative estimates for next year reflect the strong caution expressed by the state’s top economic advisors that one-time stimulus funds and changing spending patterns have resulted in higher than expected tax revenues which could cause them to wane in the next fiscal year.  There were concerns regarding how and when shifting spending patterns might level out.  Economic advisors have also expressed future uncertainty regarding the impact of inflation on the economy.  In December, the U.S. inflation rate hit 6.8 percent, the highest increase since 1982.  In addition, prices at the wholesale level hit a record 9.6 percent in November from a year earlier. 

Tennessee has a proud tradition of being a fiscally conservative state which is well managed with the lowest possible tax burden to residents.  The AAA-rated Volunteer State is among the five least indebted states in the nation per capita, ranks third for best-funded pension plans and is one of only five states without road debt.  The high ranking is also boosted by the state’s low unemployment, rising educational achievement, and robust job growth.  Expect the legislature to be very thoughtful in how state dollars are budgeted by possibly even taking a multi-year approach in spending to ensure Tennessee’s continued strong financial stability.

One way to ensure the state’s financial stability in an economic downturn is by maintaining adequate savings through Tennessee’s Rainy Day Fund.  The fund is currently at a historic level of $1.55 billion.  Expect the General Assembly to consider adding to the fund in the 2022-2023 fiscal year to assure adequate reserves are maintained given the future uncertainty of the economy.

The budget is usually presented to the General Assembly around the first week of February.

Tax relief -- There will also be discussion in the 2022 legislative session regarding returning some of the excess revenues to taxpayers in the form of tax relief.  During the 2019 legislative session, the General Assembly cut the professional privilege tax for 15 of 22 professions covered.  Expect budget discussions to include further tax relief efforts for the remaining professions which are attorneys, security agents, broker-dealers, investment advisors, lobbyists, osteopathic physicians and physicians. 

The legislature could also revisit fees paid by farmers and small businesses organized as Limited Liability Companies (LLCs).  The fees at $3,000 maximum are substantially greater than the $100 paid by businesses to file as a C Corporation.  

Other forms of tax relief will also be discussed as legislators look for ways to put more hard-earned money back in the pockets of Tennesseans in a way that affects the most people.

Tennesseans enjoy the lowest state and local tax burden per capita in the nation. 


                                                                                               You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov



12/31/21 - STATE

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

PREVIEW OF THE 2022 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

BUDGET -- The budget is always a top issue but it will be especially important due to strong tax collections, excess revenues and the flow of federal stimulus funds into Tennessee.  The state is in the best financial condition in recent history.  Economic advisors, however, have cautioned that one-time stimulus funds, changing spending patterns and high inflation could cause revenues to wane in the next fiscal year.  Expect the legislature to be very thoughtful in how state dollars are budgeted by possibly even taking a multi-year approach in spending to ensure Tennessee’s continued strong financial stability which has gained the state the status of being the best financially managed state in the nation.

TAX RELIEF -- There will also be discussion in the 2022 legislative session regarding returning some of the excess revenues to taxpayers in the form of tax relief.  Expect budget discussions to include further tax relief for the remaining 7 professions subject to the professional privilege tax.  Other forms of tax relief (LLCs) will also be discussed as legislators look for ways to ensure tax fairness and to put more hard-earned money back in the pockets of Tennesseans in a way that affects the most people.

BEP -- Like the state budget, education is always a top issue for the Tennessee General Assembly.  In October, Governor Bill Lee announced he is tackling the state’s education funding formula for K-12 schools.  He believes the 30-year-old formula should be modernized and revised to be more transparent, effective and student-centered. In order to identify the BEP’s strengths and weaknesses, the Department of Education formed a central steering committee and 18 subcommittees who rigorously reviewed the formula.  The steering committee’s recommendations could come before the General Assembly in the 2022 legislative session. 

REDISTRICTING -- One of the top issues on the 2022 legislative agenda will be redistricting Tennessee’s Senate, House and Congressional districts.  Lt. Governor Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton formed bipartisan committees to take on the task of redistricting in an open and transparent redistricting process.  They also offered the public and interested groups an opportunity to use state-of-the-art software to construct and submit a plan to the committee for consideration.  Tennessee’s population increase of 8.9% has not grown evenly across the state with a rapid growth in the ring around Middle Tennessee counties surrounding Davidson.  Expect changes to accommodate this fact and for redistricting legislation to be completed very early in the session to give candidates plenty of time to consider their candidacy before the qualifying deadline in April.

HEALTH CARE -- Health care will continue to be a top priority in 2022 with a variety of important issues on tap for discussion by the General Assembly.  Legislators will look for ways to continue to support healthcare systems, lower costs, increase access, and improve quality of care for all Tennesseans. This includes mental health services with many persons impacted by the pandemic.

JOBS -- The General Assembly will continue to focus on providing an environment that will boost Tennessee’s economy in the 2022 legislative session.  In 2021, despite the pandemic Tennessee secured 130 economic projects representing nearly 35,000 job commitments and nearly $13 billion in capital investment.  The state’s employment rebounded faster than the national average, reaching the pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 4 percent in November.  The General Assembly will look at measures to bolster the state’s workforce and eliminate hurdles that are keeping workers from returning to it.  This includes education and efforts to provide them with the skills to get a great job.

LABOR SHORTAGES – While Tennessee’s economy has showed great progress in recuperating from the pandemic, recovery of the state’s labor force has been disappointing.  Many Tennessee businesses have reported an insufficient supply of willing or qualified workers with 55,000 fewer workers on Tennessee payrolls than before the pandemic.  This includes health care workers, teachers and bus drivers.  Workplace shortages also exists in certain departments of state government like the Department of Corrections.  These shortages will likely be on the list of issues discussed during the 2022 legislative session. 


                                                                                    You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


12/15/21 - STATE

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

The Essence of Christmas is Captured in the Spirit of Giving

Christmas is a most joyful time of year.  It means gatherings with friends, beautiful lights, holiday food, and spending time with loved ones.  It is a marvelous time of celebration.  But most of all, it is the season during which Christians everywhere give thanks to God for the gift of His Son.

The story of Christmas is as relevant today as it was over 2,000 years ago.  It is the story of a family desperately searching for a place to rest and find shelter.  And then the Baby was born in the humblest of settings. 

There was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph, but they found shelter where they could.   The story is a reminder that we can rest firm in the knowledge that God comes to us in the most desperate of situations and sometimes in the most unlikely places.

While we celebrate the joys of Christmas, it is important to remember those among us who are struggling.  Some of our neighbors in Northwest Tennessee suffered great loss last week due to the deadly tornado which ripped a path of destruction through six states.  Many of our Humphreys County neighbors also suffered great loss recently due to the horrific floods in August.  We have all seen the images of these victims who are in the most desperate of situations and in need of shelter. 

Tennessee is truly the volunteer state.  Many of our citizens know that the greatest way to bring hope to the hearts of the brokenhearted during this special season is by serving those around you.  We see that by the way volunteers rushed to help Humphreys County flood victims and are now on the ground to assist those ravaged by last week’s tornadoes. 

The very essence of Christmas is captured in the kind spirit of giving.  These acts of kindness are not just found in the most tragic of circumstances, they are also found every day throughout our communities in so many ways, both simple and great.  I want to particularly thank all of our local volunteers and service organizations that helped our fellow citizens in need throughout the year.

While we are remembering those in need, don’t forget our fellow citizens who are suffering the loss of a loved one.  Christmas can be very difficult for them, especially when the loss is due to a violent crime.  Each year at our State Capitol, families gather to place ornaments on memorial wreaths in honor of the victims of homicide.  The wreaths are displayed throughout the holiday season.  The event, called “Tennessee Season to Remember, is a chilling reminder of the heartbreak many Tennessee families suffer due to violent crime.

I certainly stand with these victims.  That is why I am supporting a new Constitutional Amendment titled “Marsy’s Law” which proposes amending the Tennessee Constitution to ensure rights of victims are observed throughout the criminal justice system.  I appreciate the work of all the volunteers in Tennessee who are bringing this nationwide movement for victim’s rights to our state.

We also cannot forget our soldiers and their families during this holiday season.  Our state and nation are strengthened by the bravery, sacrifice, and giving spirit of those serving overseas during this Christmas season. Our prayers continue to go out to them for their service to our nation. 

Finally, I want to thank the citizens of this senatorial district for the opportunity to represent the people of Perry, Lewis, Wayne, Lawrence, Maury and Giles Counties and for the prayers of so many constituents who sustain our service in the General Assembly.  

May you have a blessed Christmas and keep focused on Christ as the head of our government, as well as our lives. 

                                                                                                             You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


12/10/21 - STATE

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering one of the most important decisions on abortion made in decades – what does that mean for Tennessee?

U.S. Supreme Court justices are preparing to make one of the most important decisions the nation’s high court has made in decades in the Mississippi Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.  The landmark case could decide whether states can protect the lives of unborn babies before viability. 

Technically, the court is hearing three abortion cases, but this is the one which has the potential to overturn the 48-year old Roe v. Wade decision.

One of the key provisions of Roe v. Wade is that state and federal governments can’t ban abortion before viability.  The Mississippi law, which was blocked by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, falls short of the viability threshold which is why the case has the potential to be a landmark decision on abortion. 

So what would such a decision mean for Tennessee and other states?  It is not clear yet whether the Supreme Court will restrict themselves to the question of fetal viability or will completely overturn Roe v. Wade.  If it is overturned, the decision could mean that states will be responsible for their laws on abortion, including the right to ban it within their borders.

Tennessee is prepared should the court decide to overturn the Roe decision with a law I co-sponsored in 2019 called the Human Protection Act.  This Act is the next step towards restoring constitutional protections for the unborn.  It proactively triggers the restoration of Tennessee’s abortion laws prior to the Roe v. Wade ruling when the power to regulate it is returned to the states.  That is why it is commonly referred to as a “trigger law.”

The Human Protection Act requires the Attorney General and Reporter to notify the Tennessee Code Commission in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned or a U.S. constitutional amendment is adopted.  Then thirty days following either event, Tennessee’s abortion law would be restored to its 1972 statute.  Twelve states, including Tennessee, have trigger laws. 

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Roe decision, it rendered Tennessee’s strong abortion laws null and void, which prohibited abortion except when the life of the mother was at risk. Since then, Pro-Life Tennesseans have worked diligently to prevent abortion through the passage of numerous laws.  This includes initiating a constitutional amendment adopted by Tennessee voters that allowed the General Assembly to enact a 48-hour waiting period.  It also included action to defund Planned Parenthood.

If the U.S. Supreme Court decision does not overturn Roe v. Wade, the Human Protection Act has one other vehicle to restore state power over abortion laws.  This is through the constitutional process.   For this to occur, an amendment would have to be adopted to the U.S. Constitution that returns the authority to regulate abortion back to the states.  The amendment process is very long and tedious.

The Supreme Court will likely deliver an opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case in June.  We are praying that the decision will be to overturn Roe v. Wade and restore the rights of states on this critically important matter of life.

I agree with Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart who said during his oral arguments that "the Constitution places trust in the people, on hard issue after hard issue, the people make this country where abortion is a hard issue. "It demands the best from all of us, not a judgment by just a few of us."

The Court should let the democratic process work.  If Roe is overturned, states will be free to reflect the values of their people in protecting the rights of the unborn.  In Tennessee, it means that the constitutional rights of the unborn will be protected.

                                                                                     You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


11/27/21 - STATE

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

Tennessee continues efforts to combat human trafficking

For the past decade, the Tennessee General Assembly has worked diligently to combat human trafficking.  This includes enactment of the new laws passed this year to provide greater protections for crime victims and support to help them recover. 

This past week, Shared Hope International released their latest report.  Shared Hope International is a premier organization which is dedicated to bringing an end to sex trafficking through a three-pronged approach – prevent, restore and bring justice.  Their report said, “Tennessee, which had previously held the #1 spot under the Protected Innocence Challenge Framework, remained in Tier 1, largely due to aggressive efforts in the 2021 session to enact laws that directly addressed the Advanced Legislative Framework.”  

The human trafficking laws which passed this year include:

  • Legislation adding those convicted of one or more predatory sex trafficking offenses to the category of sexual predators who are ineligible for early parole or release before completion of their full sentence;
  • Legislation removing the statute of limitations for any commercial sex trafficking offense committed against a child on or after July 1, 2021 to give victims which are often traumatized or suffer fear of retaliation more time to report;
  • Legislation requiring law enforcement officers to alert the Department of Children’s Services when they take a minor into custody on charges of prostitution so the child can be placed in a safe home and receive any professional assistance they may need to recover;
  • Legislation establishing certain considerations regarding the use of deadly force by victims of human trafficking, even if the victims are engaged in illegal activity or in a location they are not legally allowed to be, if they are forced into the situation as a result of their status as a human trafficking victim;
  • Legislation authorizing law enforcement officers or the district attorney to require the disclosure of wire and electronic communications for evidentiary purposes to crack down on human trafficking offenses organized through social media platforms; and
  • The 2021-2022 budget legislation which provided over $5 million in funding for key groups fighting human trafficking and supporting victims. 

Shared Hope’s report shows we still have room for progress and be assured that we will continue to work on improving our laws in the upcoming 2022 legislative session.  For example, our General Assembly has held hearings over the summer and fall months to evaluate the number of migrant children being permanently relocated to Tennessee by the federal government.  One of the goals is to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect victims and keep these children from being trafficked in Tennessee. 

The committee was charged with looking at the number of migrant children being flown into Tennessee and then relocated to other states by the federal government, how to increase transparency from the federal government regarding its relocation of unaccompanied migrant children to and through Tennessee, and the impact, financial and beyond, on Tennesseans, as it relates to the federal government's migrant relocation program. 

We’ve all seen the many news reports this year regarding unaccompanied minors, including those flying into Tennessee in the dead of night. This includes reports of sexual abuse at a non-profit shelter in Southeast Tennessee.  The General Assembly’s special committee’s final report is still being constructed but will show an apparent lack of transparency and openness about the process by the federal government.  I will keep you updated when the report is filed.  There could also be recommendations for legislation next year as our General Assembly will continue to pass new laws to protect those who are at risk of exploitation and trafficking and to provide help for victims as they recover.

                                                                                                            You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


STATE - 11/11/21

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

General Assembly stands up to condemn Biden Administration’s federal overreach during Special Session on COVID-19 issues

The Tennessee General Assembly adjourned the Third Extraordinary (Special) Session of the 2021 legislative year on October 30 after tackling a number of important issues regarding state and federal response to COVID-19.   Last week we looked at the comprehensive legislation addressing mask, vaccine and quarantine mandates.  In the second part of this two-part series, we will look at other bills passed before adjournment, including a resolution calling on the Tennessee Attorney General to fight unconstitutional mandates coming from the federal government.

On September 9th President Biden made an announcement regarding his executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccines for federal employees and contractors and instruction to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to likewise develop a rule applying the mandate to employers with more than 100 employees. On November 4th, OSHA issued those federal  rules which are expected to affect more than 100 million Americans. 

The resolution passed by our General Assembly during the Special Session asserts that “it is the right of the Tennessee General Assembly to enact such legislation as it deems necessary to nullify actions taken by the federal government regarding COVID-19 when those actions violate the United States Constitution.”  I am very pleased to report that the lawsuit has been filed by Tennessee and six other states contending that the mandate prohibits the rights of sovereign states.

In other action taken during the special session, the General Assembly passed legislation which allows the Tennessee Attorney General and Reporter (AG) to petition the court to appoint a district attorney pro tem in cases where the elected district attorney general preemptively and categorically refuses to prosecute all instances of a criminal offense without regard to the facts and circumstances of the case.  The State Constitution already provides for the court to appoint a pro tem in such cases.  Senate Bill 9008 allows the AG to have a role in that process to better ensure the State Constitution and the laws of Tennessee are followed. 

Unfortunately, Tennessee has seen some cases where a local district attorney who disagrees with the merits of the law feel they have the authority to decide whether or not to execute their duties without regard to the facts.    This legislation aims to ensure that in these cases it is very clear that it is not up to a district attorney general to decide which laws are valid and which are not. 

The General Assembly also voted during the Special Session to allow local political parties to call for primary elections for school board members to provide greater transparency regarding a candidate’s political philosophy.  Currently, partisan elections of school board members are prohibited by law.  Senate Bill 9009 is permissive, leaving the decision up to local party officials. 

The vast majority of elected offices in Tennessee are primary-based partisan elections.  Under the Special Session legislation, school board members would have the freedom to identify as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or any other political party they may choose in the case the local party has petitioned for a primary election. 

The General Assembly acted during the Special Session to bring more transparency and accountability to the process of the Governor issuing executive orders. Senate Bill 9012 shortens the length of time a Governor’s executive order can be in effect from 60 to 45 days. Under this legislation, if the Governor sees a need for an executive order to extend longer than 45 days, he/she can reexamine the order and reissue it. The change will require the Governor to more frequently justify why the order is needed.

Finally, legislation was passed before adjournment of the Special Session setting statewide standards for local health departments’ authority.  Upon declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the bill gives the governor exclusive jurisdiction to direct local health departments until he/she declares it no longer significantly impacts the state.  Senate Bill 9013 prohibits state and local health officials from superseding, vacating, or refusing to comply with the governor’s executive orders or directives.

                                                                                                         You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


STATE - 11/4/2021

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

General Assembly passes legislation protecting the constitutional rights of Tennesseans regarding COVID-19 mandates.

 The General Assembly passed significant legislation during the recent Special Legislative Session protecting the constitutional rights of Tennesseans regarding COVID-19 mandates and federal overreach.  The most comprehensive bill approved during the session addresses COVID-19 vaccine, mask and quarantine mandates.  Senate Bill 9014, which I co-sponsored, aims to provide clarity regarding actions that can be taken by state and local governments, businesses and schools. 

 Vaccines – The bill makes clear that no person, private business, governmental entity or school can take an adverse action against a person or otherwise compel a person to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccine for any reason.  This includes adverse employment action due to a vaccine requirement. 

 Generally, health care facilities and health care providers enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid are exempt from the legislation Also, there is a mechanism that allows any entity contracting with the federal government or receiving federal funds to request an exemption through the State Comptroller’s office.

 The legislation provides that an employee who is separated from employment because their employer required them to be vaccinated is eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.  This provision is retroactive for employees who have had an unemployment claim previously denied as a result of a vaccine mandate by their employer, provided they were otherwise eligible.

 In addition, the bill provides that health care providers must receive written consent from a minor’s parent or legal guardian before administering the COVID -19 vaccine.  There was some confusion and consternation about this among parents across Tennessee at the prospects that a vaccine might be administered to their minor child without their consent.  This legislation makes it clear that parents or guardians must consent.

 Mask Mandates / General Public – Relative to masks, the bill sets statewide standards for how and when a local or state government can put a mask mandate in place for the general public.  The legislation creates a new term regarding severe COVID-19 conditions with two triggers.  The governor must declare a state of emergency specific to COVID-19 and then a county where the mandate is being contemplated must have a case rate of at least 1,000 per 100,000 population.  If those conditions are met and the government decides to implement a mask mandate, it can last for 14 days.  At the end of that period, the mandate will expire unless the severe conditions are still occurring at which point it can be renewed for another 14-day period of time.   Under the legislation, private businesses can require a mask for their employees and customers, as long as it is a consistent policy, but they cannot mandate a vaccine. 

 Mask mandates for public K-12 and post-secondary schools mirror the requirements laid out in the bill for the general public, but adds a process which must be followed before implementation.  

The principal or president of a school must evaluate all written requests for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations.  Upon approval, the school must place that person in an in-person educational setting where anyone who cannot socially distance must be masked with an N95 or equivalent mask.   Private schools are not affected by the legislation.

 Health Care Standards / Quarantine Mandates – The legislation clarifies confusing and conflicting quarantine requirements by giving only the Commissioner of Health power to quarantine, close or restrict the operation of a business as a result of COVID-19.  Quarantines would only apply to cases where a person tests positive for COVID-19. 

 The bill also allows health care providers to exercise their independent professional judgement to determine whether to prescribe, offer or administer monoclonal antibodies to a patient as a treatment or prophylaxis against COVID-19.  The government cannot prioritize these antibodies to any group of people.  In addition, any disciplinary process that is implemented by a health-related board regarding the dispensing or prescribing of medication for COVID-19 must be promulgated as a rule.  This process involves approval of that rule by the General Assembly’s Government Operations Committee.

 Finally, the bill would allow a loved one to be present during the hospitalization of a COVID-19 patient to prevent people from dying alone.

 Next week:  More on actions taken during the Special Session, including county health officers, district attorneys general, school boards, the governor’s emergency powers and federal mandates.

 

                                                                                                           You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


STATE - 10/28/2021

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

 General Assembly meets to consider legislation regarding vaccine and mask mandates and other matters related to COVID-19

State lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill this past week for the Third Extraordinary Session of the 112th General Assembly to consider legislation regarding vaccines and mask mandates, and other matters relative to COVID-19. 

As you may remember, the First Extraordinary Session held in January addressed COVID-19 learning losses by focusing on intensive education interventions which will boost student achievement and improve reading skills.  The second, which concluded October 20, was called to cement the major jobs investment by Ford Motor Company at the Megasite in Tennessee. 

The current and Third Extraordinary Session of 2021 is almost unique among a total of 64 extraordinary sessions which have been called since we became a state.  This is only the third time in Tennessee history that the legislature, rather than the Governor, has called itself into an extraordinary session. 

The General Assembly is working to ensure no stone is left unturned to protect the rights of Tennesseans against President Biden’s unconstitutional vaccines mandates.  Negative effects of the mandates have been seen nationwide.  For example, law enforcement officers and emergency personnel who have served faithfully throughout the pandemic are now losing their jobs in some localities if they do not comply with this mandate.  No consideration is being provided to workers who have immunities after contracting the virus, with some of them being infected while on the job.  We should not stand for it in Tennessee and must explore every avenue, both in the legislature and through the courts, to fight back against this excessive federal overreach.

I look forward to updating you on the progress of our actions next week after the General Assembly has completed their business.  I also invite you to view this legislative action live or through the recorded meetings of this historic session of the General Assembly.  You can visit capitol.tn.gov to access all Senate actions and view the legislation.

In other news, the state’s latest revenue report indicates Tennessee is in the best financial condition in recent history.  Revenues in September, which is the second month of the current 2021-2022 fiscal year, exceeded budgeted estimates by $610 million.  Tennessee has approximately $1.2 billion in excess revenues from the previous fiscal year.  So, when the legislature returns in January for our 2022 session, we will be looking at options to invest these dollars in a way that will benefit many Tennesseans.  I hope to see some of these monies returned to taxpayers in the form of tax relief. 

We must, however, continue to be very thoughtful and prudent in the way we spend taxpayer dollars.  Tennessee is among the best managed states in the nation due to the fiscally conservative practices observed by our legislature over the past few decades.  As we face unprecedented inflation due to the reckless actions now being taken at the federal level, we must plan carefully for a possible downturn in the economy. 

This week’s news also included a report from the Tennessee Department of Labor that our unemployment rate has decreased from 4.6 percent in August 2021 to 4.4 percent in September 2021.  We will continue to look for ways to bring new and better paying job opportunities to the people of Tennessee as we work to keep our state’s economy growing.

Finally, as we move into November, let’s remember our veterans as we approach Veteran’s Day.  The very freedoms we are working to protect in this Extraordinary Session come from the sacrifices of those who have served this nation in our armed forces.  May God bless them and their families.

 

                You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


STATE - 10/14/2021

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

Review of State’s Education Funding Formula is important to local students, teachers, parents and schools

Senator Hensley invites input from local residents

 Governor Bill Lee announced last week that he is tackling one of the most important issues affecting education in Tennessee -- our state’s funding formula for K-12 schools.  The current formula is complex and confusing.  It leaves few people who understand how it works and many to disagree on how it should work. 

 One thing that everyone can agree on is that it is very important to students, teachers, parents and schools in our district and statewide.

 Created in 1992, the Basic Education Program (BEP) is the main source of K-12 education funding in Tennessee.  The funding formula will distribute approximately $5.6 billion to public school districts during the 2021-2022 fiscal year.  It has two parts: a state share, and a local match contributed by local school districts.

The formula’s state and local shares are currently based on each county’s fiscal capacity, which is their ability to raise local revenue.  This portion of the BEP was put into place after the Tennessee Small Schools Systems filed a lawsuit in 1988 charging that the former funding formula resulted in a constitutionally inequitable distribution of state money to local school systems.  The Small School Systems won their lawsuit in 1993, but the court concluded that the legislature’s adoption of the BEP had resolved the inequities.  Under the formula, counties with less ability to fund education – referred to as a lower fiscal capacity – receive more state funding and have a lower match than counties with more capacity to raise revenues.

In addition, the BEP is split into four main categories, (instruction, benefits, classroom and non-classroom), each made up of separate components related to the basic needs of students, teachers, and administrators within a school system.  Altogether, there are 46 different components that generate funding, most of which are based on student enrollment (average daily membership). 

Some districts question whether the BEP, which was adjusted in 2007 and 2016, represents a fair and equitable distribution of funds.  Others maintain that it has been almost 30 years since there has been a meaningful update in the funding formula during a time in which many reforms have occurred in Tennessee’s education system.  Governor Lee has stated he wants the formula to reflect a more student-centered approach.  These are a few of the reasons in which a review has been called.

In a nutshell, we need to take a fresh look at the formula, identify strengths and weaknesses and determine any changes which are needed.  In order to accomplish this task, the Department of Education has announced a central steering committee and 18 subcommittees will rigorously review the BEP over the next several months.  District and school leaders, elected officials, families, education stakeholders and members of the public have been invited to become engaged in this process through these committees, survey opportunities, and local meetings throughout the state. 

 I invite you to weigh in with your thoughts on how we can improve education though a fair funding system that meets the 21st century needs of our students.  Visit this webpage for more information and learn how to get involved: https://www.tn.gov/education/tnedufunding.  Also, please feel free to contact me with your thoughts and ideas on how we can improve education with a more efficient, effective and transparent education funding plan that gives our students the best opportunity to succeed.  I look forward to hearing from you.

                                                    You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


State - 10/7/21

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

Scammers prey on unsuspecting or vulnerable victims

Too many people in Tennessee have fallen prey to scammers  And with the increasing sophistication of digital technology, scammers are more devious than ever.  That is why I have worked to pass legislation during my legislative tenure to protect Tennesseans from a number of schemes to defraud consumers in our state. 

Unfortunately, many of these criminals prey on the good faith and humanity of some of our most vulnerable citizens - our elderly.  The Government Accountability Office has estimated that seniors lose an estimated $2.9 billion annually nationwide to an ever-growing array of financial exploitation schemes and scams.  These modern-day snake oil salesmen now have technology to aid them as they glean information to make consumers feel like they have knowledge that only a legitimate source could secure. 

These scams come in many forms:  For example, the “grandparent scam” has been around for a while, but has recently gotten bolder according to the Federal Trade Commission.  This scam starts with a telephone call from someone pretending to be the attorney of the targeted victim’s grandchild, who they call by name.  The deceitful caller says the grandchild is in jail and asks for money to be wired immediately to get them out and clear their name.  Many panicked seniors have fallen victims to this scam believing they are saving their grandchild from a perilous fate.  More recently, scammers have appeared at the door to pick up cash from the victim. 

Seniors are also targeted for fraudulent investment scams.  Many elderly citizens are polite and have difficulty saying “no” or feel indebted to someone who has provided unsolicited investment advice.  Knowing that seniors worry about the adequacy of their retirement savings, these fraudsters pitch schemes that appeal to the need to be financially secure by offering unrealistically high rates of returns.  Whereas in the past, scammers had to cast a wide net to catch a fish, the Internet and social media has made that search much easier.  Our General Assembly has passed several bills over the past few years to help protect our seniors from financial exploitation.

Then there are phishing emails and fake websites that resemble legitimate companies that frighten or entice a person into clicking on a link that delivers the victim to a counterfeit web page.  Industry experts estimate that 500 million phishing emails appear in user inboxes every day.  Identity theft is a common scam which Tennesseans of all ages have suffered.  Once identity thieves have the victim’s personal information, they can tap into bank accounts, run up charges on credit cards, open new utility accounts, or even get medical treatment utilizing the victim’s health insurance.  These complex identity fraud schemes are leaving record numbers of Tennessee victims in their wake.

Our General Assembly passed a new law this year to protect consumers from phishing schemes by clarifying that text messages sent and received on smart phone or devices are subject to the state’s Anti-Phishing Act regarding Internet scams.  This is the act which makes representing oneself as another person while online a crime.  The new law ensures these same offenses apply when a person uses text messages to defraud Tennesseans.

Yet another common scam capitalizes on a victim’s respect for our government institutions - the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the U.S. Treasury.  Scammers call victims claiming to be from the IRS or law enforcement threatening arrest unless payment is made immediately through a wire transfer or gift card.  In other cases, victims are told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. 

Not to let any opportunity pass by, scammers are even taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to conduct phishing and imposter scams offering COVID relief funds.  Typically, they will ask for your bank account information or a registration fee that the victims might provide through a prepaid debit card or gift card. Legitimate government grants do not require a fee and are not offered to individuals to cover personal expenses.

Other common scams include an auto decal scam where consumers are told they will get paid to advertise a well-known company, a home repair scam which starts with a fake contractor knocking on the victims door, and a Medicare brace scheme which promises a “free” back, neck or knee brace to entice those who need such devices.  A list of schemes are enumerated on the Tennessee Consumer Affairs Division website.

We will continue to do everything in the General Assembly to ensure swift punishment for these scammers but consumers must stay vigilant.  Certainly one major tip is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  To file a claim or to receive consumer tips and resources, please visit the state’s Consumer Affairs Division in the State Attorney General’s Office at www.tn.gov/consumer.             

           

                                                                                                            You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


State - 9/30/21

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD 

 

Join me in saying “YES ON 1” to enshrine Tennessee’s Right-to-Work Law in our State Constitution

Despite obstacles presented by COVID-19, Tennessee has found much success over the past year in moving our state’s economy forward.  Tennessee’s right-to-work status has played a key role in enhancing the state’s business-friendly environment, bringing in record new jobs and capital investment.  That is why I am honored to help lead the “Yes on 1” proposed amendment to our State Constitution by promoting its passage in Giles, Lawrence, Lewis, Maury, Perry and Wayne Counties. 

This amendment, which will be on the ballot in November 2022, will ensure that Tennesseans cannot be forced to join a union and pay dues in order to get or keep their jobs.  The proposed amendment is very simple.  It says, “It is unlawful for any person, corporation, association, or this state or its political subdivisions to deny or attempt to deny employment to any person by reason of the person's membership in, affiliation with, resignation from, or refusal to join or affiliate with any labor union or employee organization.” 

The state’s right-to-work law was established in 1947.  Since that time, it has protected the freedom of Tennesseans in the workplace to choose whether or not to join a union.  Future generations should also be afforded that right.  That is why it should be enshrined and protected in our State Constitution.

In recent years, right-to-work policies have been under attack.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is among those leading the charge to upend our laws.  She is not the only one.  For example, in our neighboring state, Virginia, Democrats have fought hard to overturn their state’s right-to-work law.  We don’t want to see it overturned in the Volunteer State.

Currently, 27 states have given workers a choice when it comes to union membership.  Labor unions can still operate in those states, but workers cannot be compelled to become members as a requirement of their job.  Research shows that these right-to-work states have a higher real income growth and employment growth than their counterparts.  Tennessee is certainly a prime example of this fact with a robust economy and growing income level. 

In fact, our right-to-work law has been critical to producing the economic growth our state has experienced over the last decade.  Enshrining it in our State Constitution will send a strong message that we are and always will be pro-economic growth and business friendly.

That is why I am proud to join former Governor Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton and others in shepherding this amendment through the legislative process to put it on the ballot. 

We must preserve the rights of Tennesseans in the workplace.  I hope you will join me in this effort.  Please say “Yes on 1” and back it up with your vote next November.

                                                                                                            You May Contact Senator Hensley at

425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742

Nashville TN 37243

615-741-3100

Toll Free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100

Fax 615-253-0231

855 Summertown Highway

Hohenwald TN 38462

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


STATE - 9-23-21

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

Reapportionment of state’s congressional and state legislative districts to be top issue in 2022 

Hensley invites citizens to weigh in on the drawing of district maps 

When the General Assembly meets in January, one of the top issues on the agenda will be reapportionment of the state’s House, Senate and congressional districts.  It is an arduous task done every 10 years after the U.S. Census is completed.  The census figures were released last month, prompting the speakers of both the House and Senate in the Tennessee General Assembly to appoint special redistricting committees to begin the process of drawing new maps. 

The purpose of redistricting is to ensure citizens in Tennessee have equal representation.  This right is rooted in both the federal and state constitutions and has been ruled upon by the courts numerous times.  The most famous case is the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Tennessee’s Baker v. Carr, which set the "one man - one vote” standard used in redistricting nationwide.  The plaintiff in the 1962 lawsuit, Charles Baker, was a Republican from Shelby County, Tennessee. The lawsuit maintained that the Democrat majority in the Tennessee General Assembly failed to reapportion the state’s districts for over 60 years. This resulted in denying representation to African Americans, Republicans and citizens in Tennessee’s urban and suburban centers as the state’s population went through tremendous changes. 

Another court decision, in accordance with the State Constitution, requires the General Assembly to keep counties as whole as possible while redistricting the Tennessee Senate, using minimal variances in population to ensure equal representation requirements are still met.  In addition, there are court requirements in accordance with the Voting Rights Act to preserve majority minority districts.  This is a district in which the majority of the constituents are of a racial or ethnic minority.

The 2020 census saw Tennessee grow 8.9 percent over the past ten years.  Comparatively, the U.S. resident population grew at 7.4%.  The ideal population for the 33 State Senate districts in Tennessee is now 209,419; while the 99-member House of Representative districts should number 69,806 residents each.  Tennessee’s nine-member congressional districts should be reapportioned to the ideal population of 767,871 for each district.  

The Tennessee population growth, however, has not grown evenly across the state.  The most dramatic change has been the rapid growth in the ring of counties surrounding Davidson county, including Maury County in our Senate District.  Some counties in the most western and eastern portions of our state have seen little to no growth.  This means the General Assembly will have to make needed adjustments to district maps to accommodate this shift in population in accordance with constitutional and court requirements. 

Lt. Governor Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton have set up bipartisan committees to take on the task of redistricting.  Both committees are committed to an open and transparent redistricting process.  They have also offered the public an opportunity to use state-of-the-art software to construct their plan. Via the Senate redistricting website, members of the public will be able to access the Senate’s ESRI GIS software to create a map using the new census data. Maps created using other software solutions can be imported into ESRI for the purpose of submission. 

Plans must include the whole state, comply with the Tennessee Constitution and the Voting Rights Act and stay within certain ideal population ranges. The full list of submission guidelines and training materials are available on the Senate’s redistricting page. Maps by members of the general public must be submitted by Monday, November 22, 2021. 

You can find the links to the Senate redistricting sites at:

https://capitol.tn.gov/senate/committees/redistricting.html

https://tnsen-redistricting.esriemcs.com/redistricting/

Redistricting is about providing the equal representation in which Charles Baker so rightfully took action.  We will endeavor to make him proud with a fair and constitutional plan that ensures that each vote counts equally.  I invite all interested parties to weigh in as we consider this important issue in the coming months. 

                                                                                        You May Contact Senator Hensley at

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

STATE - 7-1-21

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

2021 Legislative Session

July Enactments 

Children / Severe Child Abuse / Exposure to Dangerous Drugs – A new law was passed this year to protect children from being exposed to dangerous illegal drugs.  It expands the definition of “severe child abuse” to involve a child’s exposure to certain extremely dangerous or illegal drugs.  It also provides an individual that knowingly allows a child to be in the presence of and have accessibility to such drugs as cocaine, methamphetamine or fentanyl will be guilty of severe child abuse.  

Safe Home for Trafficked Children – A new law was approved to help prevent minors who are victims of human trafficking from being prosecuted for prostitution and ensure they are given the care they need to recover.  It requires law enforcement officers to alert the Department of Children’s Services when they take a minor into custody on charges of prostitution so the child can appropriately be placed in a safe home.  This helps ensure the child can receive any professional assistance they may need and can be removed from a life dictated by abusive traffickers. 

Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking Victims / Self Defense – A new law was enacted to establish certain considerations regarding the use of force by victims of human trafficking.  It authorizes victims to use force that could result in serious bodily injury or death, even if the victims are engaged in illegal activity or in a location they are not legally allowed to be, if they are in the situation as a result of their status as a human trafficking victim. Under the new law, the victim must prove in court they are a victim of human trafficking in order to use deadly force.  Previously, Tennessee law allowed victims to respond in kind to a reasonable belief of a threat of death or serious bodily injury by using force as self-defense or defense of a third party.  However, force was not lawful when used by persons engaged in criminal activity in a location they were not allowed to be or in a location that furthered criminal activity.  Often times, victims of human trafficking can be engaged in criminal activity that is largely forced on them by a trafficker, such as manufacturing or selling drugs. 

Sex Trafficking / Full Sentence – Another bill passed this year adds those convicted of sex trafficking to the category of sexual predators who are ineligible for early parole or release before completion of their full sentence.  The new law applies to offenders who have been convicted of one or more predatory offenses.  

Human Trafficking / Evidence / Social Media Platforms – Legislation was passed during the 2021 session to help prosecute crimes involving human trafficking in cases where a social media platform was used.  In human trafficking cases, it is common for defendants to use their cellphones to communicate through social media or chats to negotiate over a price of a victim.   The legislation authorizes a law enforcement officer, district attorney or designee, or the attorney general or designee to require the disclosure of wire and electronic communications for evidentiary purposes to crack down on human trafficking offenses organized through social media platforms.  The conversation or data from these platforms is needed to corroborate the victim’s story of what happened.  Companies or providers that refuse to comply with the legislation can be punished for contempt of the court. 

Truth in Sentencing – The 112th General Assembly passed major “Truth in Sentencing” legislation strengthening protections for victims and their families.  It ensures certain violent or sexual offenders serve 100 percent of the sentence imposed by a judge or jury.  The new law affects offenses that historically target women and children such as rape, sexual battery, continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual battery by an authority figure, incest, promoting prostitution, aggravated child abuse, domestic assault, aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and trafficking for a commercial sex act.  While the legislation does not remove judicial discretion, it ensures that parole and probation are not options for those found guilty of crimes that fall into these categories.  

Counselors / Sexual Misconduct -- Legislation designed to protect victims from an unscrupulous counselor or clergy member was approved on final consideration this year.  The new law adds a victim is incapable of defense if sexual contact occurs during the course of a consultation, examination, treatment, therapy or other professional service that are provided by a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, social worker, nurse, chemical dependency counselor or a member of the clergy.  

Animal Cruelty – Aggravated animal cruelty is a grave crime that includes intentionally killing or causing serious physical harm to a companion animal such as a dog or a cat. State lawmakers approved legislation in 2021 to remove barriers to prosecute aggravated animal cruelty cases in Tennessee.  Before, to convict a person of aggravated animal cruelty a prosecutor must prove the act was done in a ‘depraved or sadistic manner.’  The new law removes the language ‘depraved or sadistic’ from the law, which is a difficult intent to prove.   It provides that a person commits aggravated cruelty to animals when, with no justifiable purpose, the person intentionally or knowingly kills, maims, tortures, crushes, burns, drowns, suffocates, mutilates, starves, or otherwise causes serious physical injury, a substantial risk of death, or death to a companion animal. 

        You May Contact Senator Hensley at

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov

STATE - 6-21-21

Legislative Update from

Senator Joey Hensley, MD

2021 Legislative Session

July Enactments 

The first session of the 112th General Assembly came to an end in May and marked the close of a very productive year for the Tennessee General Assembly. Legislation was passed involving a wide variety of topics that are all aimed at bettering the lives of Tennesseans across the state. Below is a list of legislation that will take effect in July of 2021. 

Tax Cut / Sales Tax Holiday – Legislation was approved cutting $50 million in taxes by providing an additional sales tax holiday on the sale of food and food ingredients from July 30, 2021 – August 4, 2021.  It also cuts the taxes on the retail sale of prepared food for restaurants during the same time period.  This is in addition to Tennessee’s annual sales tax holiday which allows consumers to purchase clothing, school supplies and computers tax-free.  

Special Session / Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act --

Among other measures in this comprehensive legislation addressing learning losses, this legislation strengthens the state’s 3rd grade reading retention policy by ensuring that students are on grade-level before being promoted to the 4th grade. 

Teachers / Endorsement Pathways – A new law which seeks to increase retention of high-quality educators by providing an alternative endorsement pathway has passed the General Assembly.  The measure provides additional flexibility at the local level. The Board of Education will create a process by which school districts may administer training programs for endorsements without having to enroll in higher education. Individuals will still be expected to pass an assessment to ensure they are qualified.  

Textbook Transparency Act -- The Textbook Transparency Act was adopted in 2021 to ensure that all textbooks in the hands of Tennessee students are accessible to the public to view. It makes available online textbooks that are adopted by the state of Tennessee and used by public schools. Compared to the 90-day timeframe textbooks are currently required to be available to the public.  This new statute requires publishers to make these materials available so long as they are actively being used in the classroom.  

Students / Threat of Mass Violence -- Legislation seeking to address mass violence on school property was approved before lawmakers adjourned the 2021 session.  It creates a Class A misdemeanor offense for communicating a threat to commit an act of mass violence on school property or at a school-related activity and a Class B misdemeanor if a person with knowledge fails to report it.  A sentencing court may require a person sentenced for either offense to pay restitution for the destruction of normal activities.  It also allows a court to order a child held for threatening mass violence on a school to undergo a mental health evaluation.  

Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act – The Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act has been approved.  It requires a public school to provide a reasonable accommodation to a student who has conveyed through a written request that they are unwilling or unable to use multi-occupancy restrooms or changing facilities designated for the person’s sex.  The goal of the bill is to be respectful and protect every child’s right to privacy, as well as to remove any uncertainty about making accommodations for all children.  

Student’s Right to Know Act – The General Assembly enacted legislation to provide critical information to Tennesseans seeking to pursue higher education.  The Student’s Right to Know Act requires the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) to publish a web-based dashboard for high school students considering their college and career options.  It will give students more information regarding higher education cost options, in addition to expected wages in occupations they are considering.  

HOPE Scholarship / Homeschoolers -- Before the General Assembly wrapped up the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers also dealt with inequities in the HOPE Scholarship Grant for homeschool students.  Under previous law, homeschool students could not qualify for HOPE Scholarships through their GPA score, unlike their public and accredited private school counterparts. Instead, they solely relied on their ACT scores for eligibility.  The new law solves this discrepancy by extending aid to homeschool students who both complete six credit hours of dual-enrollment and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in those courses.  Additionally, the legislation removes the requirement that a student must have been enrolled in a home school for one year immediately preceding the completion of their high school level education. 

Confucius Institutes / Foreign Influence on Higher Education -- State lawmakers voted this year to pass a bill that I sponsored to provide greater transparency regarding foreign influences on state college and university campuses.  The new statute prohibits the establishment of Confucius Institutes which have ties to communist regimes and requires state institutions to disclose gifts received from and contracts initiated with a foreign source in excess of $10,000.  

You May Contact Senator Hensley at

Phone 931-796-2018

Cell Phone 931-212-8823

E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


LOCAL - 6-1-21 

May 2021 County Commission Report

Items of interest:

Health and Environment Committee had lots of praise for Animal Shelter Director Jack Cooper. He announced that TN has approved the 3 yr. rabies vaccine.

Funds were approved for an addition to the current solid waste transfer station.

There was further discussion concerning the county acquiring McDowell Elementary School, since the school board has declared it surplus property. No action was taken.

Since April 12th, Budget Committee has met for more than 23 hours in regular and special-called meetings, discussing the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget, with input from various department heads and the school board. There will be one more meeting in June. It appears that property taxes will be increasing. (Note: Most of the Commissioners have been a part of these meetings, even though they are not on the Budget Committee.)

Representative Scott Cepicky spoke at the full Commission meeting, reviewing the accomplishments of the General Assembly this year. Here are just a few of them.

  • Budget of $42.6B was approved.
  • As of 7 months into this fiscal year TN has a $1.9B budget surplus.
  • Sales Tax holiday is scheduled for July 30th through August 5th.
  • $100M in city and county grants have been funded, with no strings attached.
  • $250M mental health trust fund was established for children returning to classrooms
  • $100M was added to the “rainy day fund”, bringing the total to $1.55B

Unfortunately, TVA and TWRA are still passing the buck back and forth between each other concerning the Agricultural Center.


Republican Women of Maury County


Republican National Committee


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