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New Year, new resolutions, and new laws

This time of year is bursting with all things new. We are embracing a New Year, new resolutions, and new laws. Every year, with the start of a new year, new laws go in to effect and it is critical to be conscious of these new laws. Several new laws went in to effect beginning January 1, 2017 in the state of Tennessee. Some laws impose harsher penalties while some relax previous laws.

One law that took effect at the beginning of this year was much appreciated by the craft beer breweries, markets, and cicerones in the state. Previously, Tennessee was one of the most restrictive states regarding the cap on alcohol by volume. While some surrounding states have caps between 13% and 15%, other states have no cap at all. Before the law was revised in 2014, the cap on alcohol by volume for beer in the state of Tennessee was 6.2%. Of course, restaurants and bars holding a liquor license could sell high-gravity beers, but with the passage of this new law, grocery stores, local breweries, and restaurants can now sell high-gravity craft brews up to 10.1% alcohol by volume without a specialty or liquor license. As this new law goes in to effect, local breweries can thrive as most of the high-gravity beers consumed in Tennessee were previously imported from other states as the former brewing cap in Tennessee was 6.2%.

A word of caution; however, with the consumption of these high-gravity beers. Never get behind the wheel after tossing back a few of these beers - or any alcohol, for that matter. On top of the legal and sometimes fatal consequences of drinking and driving, another new law went in to effect at the beginning of this month which provides that anyone convicted of vehicular homicide where alcohol or drugs were involved will be ineligible for parole. This means that anyone convicted of vehicular homicide as a result of driving under the influence will serve their entire sentence behind bars.

Many other new laws also went in to effective such as: sentencing enhancement for robbing a pharmacy, requirement that high school students pass a civics test in order to graduate, lower costs of a lifetime handgun carry permit, the Maternal Mortality Review and Prevention Act of 2016 which requires hospital administrators to "report... deaths of women in hospitals after delivery from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy...", and many others can be found at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislation/publications/effective%2001-01-2017.pdf.

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