This year, state lawmakers could determine if some sex offenders can be chemically castrated, on which team (boys or girls) transgender student-athletes must play, and if refugees can be resettled here.
Below is a roundup of some of the new bills filed since the first session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly adjourned last year.
Chemical castration — House Bill 1585 would require anyone convicted of a sexual offense involving a person under 13 years of age to undergo chemical castration as a condition of parole.
- One bill would force student-athletes to play on teams (boys or girls) based on the gender listed on their birth certificate.
The treatment would include medroxyprogesterone acetate or a similar drug that would, basically, block the production of testosterone and other hormones. The treatment would begin within a month of release. The convicted person would pay for the treatment, unless they can prove indigence.
The person "shall not be forced to receive the treatment," according to the bill. If they don't, though, it would be a violation of their parole. They'd, then, be sent back to prison for the remainder of their sentence.
Special license plates — House Bill 1584 would create a new, special license plate to identify vehicles operated by those with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, or medical conditions that may impact their encounters with first responders.
Sex offenders — House Bill 1583 would restrict sex offenders from staying overnight in a house with a minor present. But sex offenders could stay in homes with minors if the offender is the minor's parent. This part of the law only stands if the parent has custody rights and their child was not also their victim.
Refugees — Senate Bill 1567 would bar any new refugees from entering the state for the purpose of resettlement. The bill says the move jibes with President Donald Trump's executive order in September that required state and local governments to get written consent from the federal government before resettling refugees into their communities.
The Tennessee bill would allow local governments to resettle refugees but only after jumping through many hoops. Locals would have to pass a law allowing the move by a two-thirds vote, specify the number of refugees, get state approval, and more.
Transgender sports — House Bill 1572 would mandate schools that get public funding to require student-athletes to play and compete against "other athletes based on the athlete's biological sex as indicated on the athlete's original birth certificate issued at the time of birth." Schools could not take any certificate that has been "revised or amended with respect to the sex of an athlete."
Break this rule and schools would be "immediately ineligible to continue to receive public funds of any type from this state or a local government." If a school were to break the rule on purpose, it would be sued for up to $10,000.
Carrying guns — House Bill 1553 would allow any gun owner the same rights to carry the weapon as those with a handgun carry permit. Gun owners would only have to own the gun legally and be legally allowed to buy guns here.