Saturday, March 09, 2024

General Assembly Week 8 Recap

 From Rep. Susan Lynn, March 8, 2024-

Rep. Susan Lynn

General Assembly Passes ELVIS Act

Tennessee first in the nation to protect ‘voice’ from AI misuse

The General Assembly this week unanimously passed first-of-its-kind legislation protecting artists’ identity and work from misuse of artificial intelligence (AI). 

The Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act, sponsored by House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, now heads to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for his signature. 

“As technology advances, we must ensure intellectual property and humanity is protected. Consumers should be fully informed when they encounter artificial content,” Lamberth said. “The ability of artificial intelligence to replicate someone else’s legitimate voice and likeness should deeply concern us all. The ELVIS Act sets critical safeguards that protect creators against harm, exploitation and theft.” 

While Tennessee’s existing law protects name, image and likeness, it does not address new, personalized generative AI cloning models and services that enable human impersonation and allow users to make unauthorized fake reproductions in the image and voice of others. 

The emergence of artificial intelligence threatens the careers of artists whose image, likeness, and voice are replicated, as well as the future of the music industry and the jobs it supports. 

Tennessee is home to more than 68,000 songwriters. The state ranks No. 1 in the nation for music industry employment, with jobs growing by 21 percent over the last five years. Overall, Tennessee’s music industry supports nearly 62,000 jobs across the state, contributes $5.8 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) and fills more than 4,500 music establishments. 

The ELVIS Act is the first legislation of its kind in the nation to build upon existing state rule protecting against the unauthorized use of someone’s likeness by adding “voice” to the realm it protects. Once signed by the governor, the legislation takes effect July 1.

Republicans Fight to Combat Illegal Immigration in Tennessee 

The House State Government Committee this week advanced Republican legislation that seeks to combat illegal immigration in Tennessee.

House Bill 2124, sponsored by State Rep. Rusty Grills, R-Newbern, would ensure all law enforcement in the state notify the appropriate federal authorities if an individual they come into contact with is found to be in the country illegally. Notification is currently not required under state law.

“The federal government continues to put the safety of every Tennessean at risk by not properly securing our nation’s borders,” Grills said. “We are either a nation of laws or we are a lawless nation. Until this crisis is over, we must ensure the proper authorities know about individuals who are found to be in this country illegally. This legislation will better protect our communities and make sure those wishing to come here do so the right way.”

There were more than 2.4 million encounters at the nation’s southwest border during the 2023 fiscal year, according to the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. Since 2021, there have been at least 1.7 million individuals who illegally entered the country and successfully evaded authorities.

House Bill 2124 is scheduled to be heard in the House chamber on March 11. The companion version of the legislation is still advancing through the Senate. If approved, the new law would take effect July 1.

Additional Protections from Child

Gender-Disfiguring Procedures Advances

Legislation to further protect children in Tennessee from gender-disfiguring procedures advanced out of the House Civil Justice Subcommittee this week.

House Bill 2310, sponsored by State Rep. Bryan Richey, R-Maryville, seeks to stop anyone from knowingly taking a minor across state lines without parental consent in order to receive a prohibited medical procedure like the removal of the child’s healthy body parts in order for them to identify as a gender that is different from their biological sex. 

“This is just to prevent bad actors from coming in and taking our children to go somewhere else without that child’s parent or guardian giving them permission to do that,” Richey said. 

Any adult who recruits, harbors or transports a minor for a restricted medical procedure could be charged with a Class C felony and held civilly liable by the child’s parent or legal guardian under the proposed legislation. 

The General Assembly last year passed the Protecting Children from Gender Mutilation Act. The legislation provided the nation’s strongest protections against disfiguring gender mutilation surgeries and treatments on minors.

House Bill 2310 is scheduled to be heard in the Civil Justice Committee on March 13.

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