Sunday, March 31, 2024

Rep. Susan Lynn, Week 11 Recap

 From Rep. Susan Lynn, March 31, 2024- 

Rep. Susan Lynn

Open Meetings Act Bill is Set to be heard in the Finance Subcommittee Next Week

Rep. Lynn is pleased to inform you that HB2176 is up in committee on Wednesday, April 3. This office will update you as the bill moves through the committee process. To watch the stream, please click here.

State Rep. Susan Lynn Passes Textbook Accommodations in Tennessee Schools

House Bill 2177 advanced out of the House and now becomes a part of the Public Chapter.

House Bill 2177 requires schools that provide electronic textbooks and instructional materials to provide a student reasonable access to a printed version of the material if the student or their parent requests it. The request must be written and submitted to the student’s principal for the accommodations.

“Every child is unique in their learning style. While most students are used to technology in the classroom, some students struggle reading on a computer or tablet. This legislation ensures that they have the option for a printed version if they need it,” Lynn said.

This will not burden school districts with additional costs as most electronic textbook and instructional material subscriptions cost the same as the physical textbooks.

“At the beginning of the year, school districts can estimate how many physical textbooks they may need and purchase those for these select students and the rest can go towards the subscriptions,” Lynn said.  

House Approves Protecting Children from Social Media Act

The Tennessee House of Representatives this week approved legislation that restores parental authority online by requiring social media companies to verify the ages of account holders.

The Protecting Children from Social Media Act requires parental consent before a minor creates an account on a social media platform. It also gives parents a high level of access to supervise their child’s online interactions as well as the ability to revoke consent if necessary. The legislation was filed by State Rep. Jake McCalmon, R-Franklin, in partnership with Gov. Bill Lee’s administration.

“(This bill) does not apply to commerce platforms such as Amazon, Ebay or online auctions,” McCalmon said Monday. “It is simply putting the choice in the hands of parents (to decide) whether or not they want their kids on social media.”

Social media use has a “profound risk of harm” on young people, according to an advisory warning from the U.S. Surgeon General last year. Similar legislation requiring age verification on social media sites has already been approved in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Utah. 

The companion version of House Bill 1891 is still advancing through the Senate.

Republicans Simplify Franchise Tax and Return Money to Taxpayers

The House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee this week advanced legislation to cut $400 million in taxes by simplifying the state’s franchise tax, which is a tax on a business's net worth. This adjustment will offer relief to taxpayers, modernize the way the tax is calculated, and manage newly discovered legal risks. 

“Smart, conservative budgeting over the last decade has put our state in a strong fiscal position to offer equitable relief for businesses and modernize the way our tax structure is calculated,” said bill sponsor House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland. “This legislation will align Tennessee’s franchise tax with surrounding states. This amendment respects and upholds the public’s right to know by adding transparency about any rebates that may occur.”

House Bill 1893 will restructure Tennessee’s franchise tax to remove the property measure and authorize the Department of Revenue to issue refunds to taxpayers who have paid the franchise tax based on property located in the state.

A House amendment adds a requirement for any refunds distributed in accordance with this bill to be made public. It also allows companies who wish to stay under the current tax structure for the tax period ending before Dec. 31, 2023 to do so. If a business applying for a refund has also received economic credits or incentives from the Tennessee Department of Community Development, the credit amount would be applied to the refund first.

The refund eligibility window is now for tax periods that ended on or after March 31, 2022 and refund claims must be filed by Feb 3, 2025. For a business that received economic incentives or credits from the state through the Tennessee Department of Community Development, the credit received would apply toward the refund. 

House Bill 1893 is expected to be heard for consideration in the full House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee on April 2. 

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