Monday, April 15, 2024

Rep. Susan Lynn, Week 13 Recap

From Rep. Susan Lynn, April 12, 2024- 

Rep. Susan Lynn
House Republicans Protect Parents’ Vaccine Decisions

Legislation further protecting medical freedom for parents in Tennessee was approved in the House chamber this week. 

House Bill 2861, sponsored by State Rep. Michele Carringer, R-Knoxville, prohibits health care providers from coercing a person who has legal authority to make healthcare decisions for a child to consent to a vaccination. It also prohibits health care providers from misleading or misrepresenting that a vaccination or newborn screening is required by state law. 

The legislation defines coercion as compelling a person to act by force, intimidation or threat. Any health care provider found to violate the act could have their license suspended, revoked or not renewed by their licensing authority. 

If approved by the General Assembly, House Bill 2861 would take effect July 1

General Assembly Votes to Expedite Evidence Collection in DUI Cases 

The General Assembly this week passed legislation allowing for faster and more effective collection of blood samples involving individuals suspected of driving under the influence in Tennessee.

House Bill 2386, sponsored by State Rep. Ron Gant, R-Piperton, allows an officer to execute a search warrant anywhere in the state for medical records or test to determine the alcohol or drug content of a person’s blood. The legislation also gives magistrates increased authority to issue warrants to recover evidence if at least one element of the crime occurred within their jurisdiction.

“Because evidence of alcohol and drugs metabolizes and dissipates from the bloodstream quickly, this bill… will provide for a timely or more efficient collection of blood evidence to support the effective prosecution of DUI, vehicular assault, and vehicular homicide offenses,” Gant said Monday.

Additionally, the bill encourages hospitals and health care providers to take a blood sample as soon as possible when a warrant is issued. The sample should also be provided to law enforcement expeditiously. 

There were 7,774 wrecks in Tennessee that involved impaired drivers in 2022, according to the most recent data from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. There were 575 fatalities and 4,964 injuries as a result.

House Bill 2386 will now head to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk to be signed into law.

General Assembly Expands Newborn Safe Haven Program

The General Assembly recently approved legislation expanding Tennessee’s newborn Safe Haven program. 

House Bill 1922, sponsored by State Rep. Ed Butler, R-Rickman, adds participating emergency communications centers and nursing homes in counties without hospitals to the list of approved locations for safe haven baby boxes and drop-off locations.  

“This is an important step in ensuring rural communities have access to newborn safe haven boxes,” Butler said. “This program allows suffering mothers to safely surrender their child in a place where proper care can be given. Tennessee is a pro-life state and I encourage mothers to take the necessary steps to keep their children, born and unborn, safe and healthy in times of crisis. I thank my colleagues for supporting this life-saving legislation.”

House Bill 1922 would ensure emergency communications centers and nursing homes are subject to the same policies other facilities are bound by under Tennessee’s Safe Haven law. 

Tennessee currently has three Safe Haven baby boxes, located at fire stations in Jackson, Knoxville, and Kingston. Baby boxes allow mothers to securely and anonymously surrender their child in a continuously monitored safety device that allows medical staff members to care for the baby quickly. 

Current law allows mothers to surrender their newborn up to 14 days after birth without fear of prosecution at hospitals, birthing centers, community health clinics, walk-in clinics, EMS facilities, and 24-hour fire and law enforcement facilities. 

More than 130 newborn babies have been safely surrendered in the state since the Safe Haven law was enacted in 2001, according to Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee. House Bill 1922 now heads to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk to be signed into law.

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