New State Laws Take Effect This Week - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

New State Laws Take Effect This Week

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- State employees and teachers will be getting a 1.6 percent salary increase on Friday. Governor Haslam said he knows it's not much, but it's the best he can do. Also, brand new laws will focus on fighting Tennessee's growing meth problem.

Those busted for making meth in front of children will face stiffer penalties.  That's not the only new law that centers on meth that the governor has signed into law. Starting Friday, customers also won't be able to buy more than 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine a day. That won't impact the typical user because that equals around 30 to 120 doses, but it sets the stage for what happens in January. Legislators have given the green light for a new, state-wide electronic tracking system that will monitor, and block illegal purchases of over-the-counter cold medicine that contains pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient used to make meth.

Drug felons will find it more difficult to get welfare benefits.  Under the new law, the felon wouldn't be able to get welfare benefits for three years, unless they go through a drug treatment program.

State lawmakers also passed a bill that limits the pre-trial diversion program. Criminals could face charges like Reckless Homicide, Statutory Rape, or Child Abuse. Through pre-trial diversion, they could avoid a trial, and eventually get their record wiped clean. A new law changes that.

"What we have got in the system is a glitch, where if an individual has enough money, and real good attorneys, they don't even go to trial. They get it expunged, and they basically get away with…with basically a slap on the hand," said Rep. John DeBerry, (D) Memphis.

Another new piece of legislation impacts teachers and their tenure. In Tennessee, teachers were eligible for tenure after three years. But now, it will take five years to get it. The Tennessee Education Association, the state's largest union representing educators, didn't like this bill.

Another new piece of legislation is designed to end social promotion in schools. The bill requires third graders to know basic skills before being promoted to the fourth grade. It's estimated 45,000 Tennessee students are socially promoted in grades K-12.

Click here for a complete list of Key bills and July 1, 2011 Enactments.

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