Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners


The complete text of the following Public Acts is available on the following website:


Noteworthy Health-Related Legislation

·         The Department of Health’s administration bill successfully extended current opioid prescription protections that were put into place in 2018 under the Tennessee Together Act.

·         The Department of Health was extended to June 30, 2027, following an audit and subsequent sunset hearings.

·         Multiple boards administratively attached to the Department of Health were extended by the legislature following audits and subsequent sunset hearings. 

Non-Health Related Legislative Activity of Note

·         June 19th is now designated as a state holiday for Juneteenth.

·         State employees are authorized to use sick leave from a sick leave bank to care for a sick minor child of the employee.

·         State employees must be provided six paid weeks of leave for the birth of the employee’s child or because of the employee’s adoption of a child.

·         “Send Me” is now an additional state motto.

·         The legislature passed an extensive transportation modernization act.

·         The legislature passed a teacher paycheck protection act that, among other things, raises the minimum teacher salary to $50,000 by 2026.

·         Law enforcement officers and the district attorney general’s office may extend criminal immunity to persons who are experiencing a drug overdose and who are seeking medical assistance.

Pertinent Public Chapters

*All Public Chapters are hyperlinked to the actual document on the Secretary of State’s website.

Public Chapter No. 1—SB1/HB1—Johnson/Lamberth

This law prohibits a healthcare provider from knowingly performing or offering to perform on a minor, or administer or offer to administer to a minor, a medical procedure if the performance or administration of the procedure is for the purpose of enabling a minor to identify with or live as an identity inconsistent with the minor’s sex. This bill does not prohibit such medical procedure if the performance or administration is to treat a minor’s congenital defect, precocious puberty, disease, or physical injury or the medical procedure began prior to the effective date of this act and concludes on or before March 31, 2024. This law also prohibits a person from knowingly providing a

hormone or puberty blocker by any means to a minor if the provision of the hormone or puberty blocker is not in compliance with this bill. This bill is effective on July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 48—SB11/HB2—Johnson/Zachary

This law extends certain provisions within the code regarding Covid-19 established during the 2021 Special Session. This bill was effective on March 21, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 49—SB94/HB50—Johnson/Lamberth

This law codifies the Acts of the 2022 legislative session. This law was effective on March 21, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 55—SB680/HB895—Reeves/Hurt

This law clarifies that the Medical Assistance Act of 1968 does not require a vendor, healthcare provider, or telehealth provider group that provides healthcare services exclusively via telehealth to have a physical address or site in this state in order to eb eligible to enroll as a vendor, provider, or provider group for that program. This law defines telehealth provider as two or more healthcare providers that share a common employer and provide healthcare services exclusively via telehealth. This law was effective on March 21, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 94—SB679/HB803—Reeves/Marsh

This law authorizes certified medical assistants, pursuant to a physician’s or nurses’ delegation, to administer or prepare only medications that have been ordered by authorized healthcare provider and that are consistent with policies and procedures of the applicable licensed facility. This law also amends the current list of authorized medications by requiring intramuscular or subcutaneous medications to continue to be in a single dose and adds rectal medications and medications prepared by the certified medical assistant for administration by the provider. This law also prohibits certified medical assistants from preparing the current list of drugs prohibited from delegation by a physician or nurse. This law was effective on March 31, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 99—SB925/HB1429—Lundberg/Hicks

This law removes the requirement that a provider of home medical equipment services that has a principal placed of business outside this state maintain an office or place of business within this state. This law also requires the board for licensing health care facilities to promulgate rules to identifying contacts for state surveyors and state surveys. This law was effective on March 31, 2023.

Public Chapter No.103—SB1225/HB0556—White/Littleton

This law requires that court clerks notify the health facilities commission, instead of the department of health, when an offender is placed on the registry of persons who have been determined to have abused, neglected, misappropriated, or exploited the property of vulnerable individuals. This law also requires that notice must be provided within 90 days of conviction of the offense. This law became effective on March 31, 2021.

Public Chapter No.114—SB255/HB74—Johnson/Lamberth

This law changes the terms "general education development credential," "high school equivalency test," and variations of the terms to "high school equivalency credential” as referenced throughout the code. This law also replaces any references in code from GED(R) or HiSET(R) classes, coursework, testing, or services with the phrase “adult education programming to include preparation and testing toward obtaining a high school equivalency credential” throughout the code. This law is effective on July 1, 2023.This was a Department of Labor and Workforce Development legislative initiative.


Public Chapter No.156—SB40/HB206—Roberts/Ragan

This law extends the Department of Health to June 30, 2027. This law was effective on April 17, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 168—SB600/HB90—Hensley/Moody

This law prohibits counties, municipalities, and metropolitan governments from expending funds for the purpose of assisting a person in obtaining a criminal abortion. This prohibition includes using funds as part of a health benefit plan or for travel to another state for the purpose of obtaining an abortion. This law was effective on April 17, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 188—SB277/HB325—Johnson/Lamberth

This law extends legislation enacted in 2018 to preserve opioid prescription limitations for acute care. In addition, this law exempts individuals who had recent cancer treatment from this prescription limitation. “Recent cancer treatment” is defined as six months following the end of an active cancer treatment. This law creates an exception for informed consent where a healthcare practitioner who issued the initial prescription does not have to obtain and document informed consent, if the subsequent prescription is for the same opioid and for the same episode of treatment. Outside of this exception, informed consent must be updated periodically. This law also requires the Commissioner of the Department of Health to provide a letter, in consultation with the health-related boards, no to certain elected officials that includes information on the impact and the effects of this legislation in each even-numbered year. This law was effective on April 24, 2023. This law was a Department of Health legislative initiative.

Public Chapter No. 194—SB451/HB165—Lowe/Butler

This law authorizes employees of a public accommodation to ask for certain information about a guide dog in training. A person who utilizes a guide dog is subject to the same liability for damages as a person whose pet causes damage to a place of public accommodation. Fraudulently representing that an animal is a service animal or service animal in training to an employee of a public accommodation is a Class B misdemeanor. A misrepresentation of service animal is a Class B misdemeanor and requires 100 community service hours to be served. This law is effective on July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 200—SB675/HB667—Reeves/Hicks

This law re-writes the prescription drug donation repository program act. This law creates prescription drug donation repository program where pharmacies may donate prescription drugs that meet certain qualifications. Donation and facilitation of a donation are not considered wholesale distribution, and a person donating or facilitating a donation does not require licensure as a wholesaler. Drugs will be dispensed based on a property system where indigent persons, a person whose income is below 600% of the federal poverty level, are the first to receive them. This law does not authorize the resale of prescription drugs. This law takes effect January 1, 2024.

Public Chapter No. 256—SB292/HB275—Briggs/Hazlewood

This law makes expands the needle exchange program statewide. Specifically, this law prohibits a needle exchange program from conducting an exchange within 1,000 feet of a school or public park. If a program established pursuant to this section is in a municipality that has a population of no less than 55,440 nor more than 55,450 according to the 2020 federal census or a subsequent federal census, then it shall not conduct an exchange within 2,000 feet of a school or public park. This law takes effect July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 285—SB1237/HB306—Hensley/Bulso

This law requires, in connection with an interscholastic athletic activity or event where membership in the TSSAA (Tennessee Secondary Athletic Association) is required, a student enrolled in a private school in this state to participate in an athletic activity or event only in accordance with the student’s sex as defined in code. This does not prohibit a student whose sex is female from participating on a team designated for male students if the school does not offer a separate team for female students in that sport. This law was effective on April 28, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 300—SB551/HB448—Lowe/Davis

This law requires governmental entities to provide a period of public comment for public meetings but authorizes the governmental entities to place reasonable restrictions on the period for public comment. This does not apply to a meeting of a governing body, or a portion thereof, where the governing body is conducting a disciplinary hearing or a

meeting for which there are no actionable items on the agenda. This takes effect July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter 313—SB745/HB883—Helton-Haynes/Briggs

This law specifies that terminating an ectopic or molar pregnancy does not constitute a criminal abortion. This law removes the current affirmative defense in law and instead provides that it is not an offense of criminal abortion if the abortion is performed or attempted by a licensed physician in a licensed hospital or ambulatory surgical treatment center and certain conditions are met. This law also requires the Department of Health to collect reports submitted under this law and report quarterly the number of abortions performed in this state to certain individuals in the executive and legislative branches no later than January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 of each year. This law is effective April 28, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 316—SB1426/HB1004—Roberts/Darby

This law requires an appointed member of a governing body for a state entity to serve in such capacity until the member's successor is duly appointed and qualified. Under this, an appointed member of a board, commission, or other governing body for a state governmental entity may be removed by the member's appointing authority with or without cause. A vacancy created by the removal of a member must be filled by the appointing authority in the same manner as the original appointment. This law also creates an advisory council on state procurement. This law was effective on April 28, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 332—SB0068/HB0234—Roberts/Ragan

This law makes permanent rules filed with the Secretary of State on or after January 1, 2022, which are set to expire on June 30, 2023, remain in effect until repealed, amended or superseded by legislative enactment. This law was effective on May 5, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 335—SB3195/HB472—Lundberg/Crawford

This law establishes standards for shelters that must be provided specifically to dogs under animal cruelty laws. This law takes effect on July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 337—SB269/HB317—Johnson/Lamberth

This law designates June 19th as as a new official state holiday for Juneteenth. This law was effective on May 5, 2023, and applies to June 19, 2023. This was one of Governor Lee’s legislative initiatives.


Public Chapter 386—SB193/HB702—Lundberg/Doggett

This law adds fentanyl, carfentanil, remifentanil, alfentanil, and thiafentanil to what constitutes a qualifying controlled substance for purposes of certain felony offenses. This law is on July 1, 2023, and applies to offenses after that date.

Public Chapter No. 412—SB1398/HB1242—Reeves/Powers

This law makes it a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly possess xylazine and makes it a Class C felony to knowingly manufacture, deliver, or sell xylazine, or to knowingly possess xylazine with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell xylazine. This law exempts veterinarians. This law is effective July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 426—SB0458/HB0496—Watson/Martin

This law requires certain health related boards to either render a decision on the application or inform the applicant of the need to appear before such board within 60 days from the date the respective board receives a completed application for licensure from either an initial applicant or an applicant who is licensed in another state or territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia. This law was effective on May 11, 2023, and applies to applications submitted on or after that date.

Public Chapter No. 466—SB858/HB952—Reeves/Boyd

This law makes several changes concerning the powers and authorities of the Health Facilities Commission, including but not limited to authorizing the Commission to license facilities also licensed by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for the purpose of provide acute care services, authorizes the licensing and regulating of assisted-care facility administrators, amends the duties and responsibilities of the board for licensing health care facilities, authorizes the recovery and collection of civil monetary penalties under certain circumstances, and cleans up references to the Department of Health. This law has multiple effective dates. However, the law in its entirety will become effective on July 1, 2024.

Public Chapter No. 477—SB1111/HB1380—Bowling/Ragan

This law creates the “Mature Minor Doctrine Clarification Act.” This act prohibits a healthcare provider from providing a vaccination to a minor unless the healthcare provider first receives informed consent from a parent or legal guardian of the minor. The healthcare provider must document receipt of and include in the minor's medical record proof of prior parental or guardian informed consent. This law also requires written consent from a parent or legal guardian before providing a minor with a COVID- 19 vaccine. Additionally, this law prohibits an employee or agent of the state to provide, request, or facilitate the vaccination of a minor child in state custody except when certain situations apply. This law was effective May 17, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 486—SB1440/HB239—Roberts/Bulso

This law defines “sex” in code to mean a person's immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth and evidence of a person's biological sex. “Evidence of a person’s biological sex” includes, but is not limited to, a government-issued identification document that accurately reflects a person's sex listed on the person's original birth certificate. This law takes effect on July 1, 2023.


Please note that these are high-level overviews of each public chapter. They do not include every detail or provide all bill information. Please review the text of the bill in its entirety at your own discretion. If you have any questions or need further clarity, please reach out to your attorney.

Non-Health Related Legislative Activity of Note

•      The legislature addressed legislative and Congressional redistricting.

•      The “Truth in Sentencing” Act made mandatory sentences for certain criminal offenses.

•      The “Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) Act” reformed the school funding approach.

Highlights and Noteworthy Health-Related Legislation

•      The Department had two successful legislative initiatives that became law relating to local county health departments and the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database, respectively.

•      Healthcare Facilities will move to the Health Services and Development Agency (HSDA)/Health Facility Commission on July 1, 2022.

•      Healthcare providers can continue to utilize telehealth and receive reimbursement for telehealth services.

•      The Board of Pharmacy and the Board of Nursing will now hire and fire the Executive Director of the Board.

•      A registry within the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability was created to combat the operation of unlicensed facilities.


Pertinent Public Chapters

*All Public Chapters are Hyperlinked to the Document on the Secretary of State’s Website*

Public Chapter 644SB1823/HB1867Johnson/Zachary

Re: Covid-19 Vaccine Exemptions. This public chapter requires that an employer grant certain exemptions to requirements of proof/receipt of vaccinations if the request for exemption is either (1) supported by signed/date statement by a licensed physician that the staff member has a condition recognized under generally accepted medical standards as a basis for the medical exemption or (2) the staff member attests in writing (including electronic means) that the staff member has a sincerely held religious believe that prevents the staff member from complying the requirement in accordance with guidance from Medicare and Medicaid services. This public chapter creates a civil penalty of $10,000 for violation of this statute.  Effective as of March 11, 2022.

Public Chapter 680SB1909/HB1904Johnson/Faison

Re Autoclave Requirements. This public chapter exempts autoclaves from the clearance requirements of the Board of Boilers Rules if the autoclave sterilizes reusable medical or dental equipment used by an individual licensed under title 68 or 63, is installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, contains a boiler, and is regulated by the FDA.  Effective as of March 28, 2022. The Governor did not sign this public chapter.

Public Chapter 749SB2572/HB2465Crowe/Leatherwood


Re Naloxone Standing Order. This public chapter allows licensed healthcare workers to prescribe, directly or through standing order, naloxone or other similarly acting and equally safe drugs approved by the FDA to an organization or municipal or county entity, including but not limited to a recovery organization, hospital, school, or county jail. This public chapter also allows an individual or entity under a standing order to receive and store an opioid antagonist and provide an opioid antagonist directly or indirectly to an individual. Additionally, this public chapter authorizes a first responder acting under a standing order to receive and store an opioid antagonist and to provide an opioid antagonist to an individual at risk of experiencing a drug-related overdose or to a family member friend or other individual in a position to assist an at-risk individual. This public chapter includes “unresponsiveness, decreased level of consciousness, and respiratory depression” to be included within the definition of drug related overdose.   Effective on July 1, 2022.

Public Chapter 756SB1789/HB2858Briggs/Kumar


Re Conditions of Participation. This public chapter removes the requirement that a healthcare provider enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid be subject to conditions of participation to be exempt from the definition of “private business” or “governmental entity” for purposes of the Title 14/Covid-19 state laws.

Effective as of March 31, 2022.

Public Chapter 764SB2427/HB2177Johnson/Lamberth


Drug Paraphernalia. This public chapter excludes narcotic testing equipment used to determine whether a controlled substance contains a synthetic opioid from the definition of “drug paraphernalia” as used within the criminal code unless the narcotic testing equipment is possessed for purposes of the defendant’s commission of certain drug related offenses. This public chapter will be repealed on July 1, 2025.

Effective as of March 31, 2022.

Public Chapter 766SB2453/HB2655Yager/Hawk


Re Telehealth. This public chapter extends the ability for healthcare providers to receive reimbursement for healthcare services provided during a telehealth encounter. This public chapter also clarifies that a healthcare provider acting within the scope of a valid license is not prohibited from delivering services through telehealth. Lastly, this public chapter adds that the requirement of an in-person encounter between the healthcare services provider, the provider’s practice group, or the healthcare system and patient within sixteen months prior to the interactive visit is tolled for the duration of a state of emergency declared by the Governor provided that healthcare services provider or patient, or both, are located in the geographical area covered by the state of emergency.

Effective as of April 1, 2022 and applies to insurance policies or contracts issued, entered into, renewed, or amended on or after that date.


Public Chapter 769SB568/HB702Johnson/Lamberth

Re Anatomical Gifts. This public chapter prohibits a healthcare provider, a hospital, an ambulatory surgical treatment center, a home care organization or any other entity responsible for matching anatomical gifts or organ donors to potential recipients from, solely on the basis of whether an individual has received or will receive a Covid-19 vaccine, (1) consider an individual ineligible for transplant or receipt of an anatomical gift, (2) deny medical or other services related to transplantation, (3) refuse to refer an individual to a transplant center or specialist, (4) refuse to place an individual on an organ or tissue waiting list, or (5) place an individual at a position on an organ or tissue waiting list lower than the position the person at which the individual would have been placed if not for the individual’s vaccine status.  Effective as of April 8, 2022.

Public Chapter 804SB1802/HB1763Reeves/Lamberth


Re Drug Paraphernalia. This public chapter includes pill press devices and pieces of pill press devices to the definition of drug paraphernalia for the purposes of drug offenses. Pill devices or pieces of pill press devices are not included within this definition if used by a person or entity that lawfully possesses drug products in the course of legitimate business activities, such as a pharmacy or pharmacist.

Effective on July 1, 2022 and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

Public Chapter 825HB2171/SB2421Lamberth (Terry)/Johnson (Reeves)


Re CSMD. Creates data protection and pathways through the CSMD for reporting of Part 2 data and methadone. Expands data sharing within the CSMD committee process but requires that the commissioner enter into agreements in order to disseminate such data. Health’s Administration


Effective as of April 14, 2022.

ACTION ITEM: CSMD rule-making.

Public Chapter 833HB1997/SB1936Cochran/Jackson


Re UAPA.  Clarifies that the ALJ shall decide a procedural questions of law.  Allows the director of the administrative procedures division of the secretary of state’s office to issue subpoenas.  Allows electronic participation in hearings, by agreement of the parties.  The hearing officer may allow electronic testimony if the absence of the witness would otherwise cause of delay of the hearing.  Requires that a final orders be issued within 90 days.  Allows that a petition for reconsideration be filed within 15 days of the entry of the final order or initial order. Effective as of April 19, 2022.

Public Chapter 854HB2733/SB2879Windle/Bailey


Re Veteran’s Day Holiday. Requires that private businesses provide a veteran with Veteran’s Day as a non-paid holiday if the veteran provides proof of status, notice to the employer and the employee’s absence will not cause the employer significant issue. Effective as of April 20, 2022.

Public Chapter 881SB2240/HB2335Haile/Vaughn


Re Buprenorphine. Prohibits prescribing of buprenorphine via telehealth unless the healthcare provider is employed by a licensed non-residential opioid treatment facility, a community mental health center, an FQHC, a hospital, or through TennCare. Effective as of April 14, 2022.

Public Chapter 883SB2285/HB1749Bell/Ragan


Re UAPA and Judicial Review Standards. Requires that a judge over a contested case not defer to an agency’s interpretation of the statue or rule and shall interpret it de novo. Remaining ambiguity shall be resolved against the agency.

Effective as of April 14, 2022.

Public Chapter 896SB896/HB1960Bowling/Hulsey


Re Title 14. Eliminates the sunset provisions in Title 14 for the definitions section and for the section that prohibits government entities from mandating vaccinations. Deletes a variety of definitions from the Title.

For the deletion of definitions, effective July 1, 2022 at 12:01 AM. For all other purposes, effective as of April 19, 2022.

Public Chapter 908SB2188/HB2746Niceley/Lynn


Re Ivermectin. Permits a pharmacist to enter into a collaborative practice agreement with a physician in order to provide ivermectin.  Requires that the Board of Pharmacy adopt rules to establish standard procedures for the provision of ivermectin by pharmacists, including a risk assessment tool and a standardized fact sheet.  Provides civil liability protection against pharmacists who dispense ivermectin pursuant to this statute except under gross negligence circumstances.

Effective as of April 22, 2022.

Mandatory rulemaking.

ACTION ITEM: Board of Pharmacy rule-making.

Public Chapter 911HB2309/SB2464Freeman/Reeves


Re Professional License Requirements. Mandates that a person seeking a professional license have US citizenship or be authorized under federal law to work in the US as verified by the SAVE Program (allows DACA children who are now adults to obtain professional licensure if not otherwise prevented by the license).  

Effective July 1, 2022.

Public Chapter 926HB213/SB257Halford/Haile


Re Veterinary Board appointments and Vet Facilities. Allows for a successive appointment to the Board of Veterinarians. Updates veterinary facilities to allow for mobile units. Effective on July 1, 2022.

Public Chapter 930HB1871/SB1982Hulsey/Hensley


Re Covid Vaccinations and Acquired Immunity. Amends Title 14 to mandate that acquired immunity from a previous Covid-19 infection be treated the same as a Covid-19 vaccination by a governmental entity, school, or local education authority. Mandates that private businesses who require vaccinations also include recognition for acquired immunity for Covid-19. Effective as of April 11, 2022—This was not signed by Governor.

Public Chapter 1001HB2416/SB2281Moody/Bell


Re “Tennessee Abortion-Inducing Drug Risk Protocol Act.” Mandates that any abortion-inducing drug must be provided in-person. A qualified physician must examine a patient and determine that there is not an ectopic pregnancy, provide RhoGAM medication if needed, and schedule a followup visit with the patient. The physician is required to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the patient appears at that visit and shall document those efforts.  It is a E Felony for failure to comply with this law. Failure to comply is also the basis for disciplinary action against the licensee. For rulemaking purposes, effective as of May 5, 2022. For all other purposes, effective January 1, 2023.

Public Chapter 1054HB1747/SB1877Jernigan/Yarbro


Re Cannabanoid Oil and Quadriplegia. Adds quadriplegia to one of the qualifying ailments that can be in legal possession of cannabanoid oil.  

Effective as of May 25, 2022.

Public Chapter 1061HB2228/S2465Ramsey/Reeves


Re Opioid Antagonists. Requires that a prescriber offer a prescription for an opioid antagonist when issuing a prescription for an opioid if the prescription is for longer than 3 days and there is a history of or suspicion of abuse. This does not apply in palliative care or veterinarian settings.

Penalties are included for failure to comply.

Effective on July 1, 2022 and applies to opioid prescriptions issued after that date.

Public Chapter 1073HB2665/SB2449Sexton, McNally


Re Covid Visitation Policies and Limitations on Covid Treatment Exemptions. Clarifies that a prescriber can be disciplined for prescribing controlled substances and/or narcotics for treatment of Covid, if appropriate. In addition, creates a patient advocate process that hospitals must follow during times of covid concern. Allows that person to enter a facility if they agree to follow procedures but provides certain exceptions to access to locations within the hospital. Effective as of May 25, 2022.

Public Chapter 1094SB1891/HB1905Hulsey/Doggett


Re Mandatory Reporting of Fatal Drug Overdoses. Requires that a fatal overdose be reported to law enforcement, including by doctors and nurses.

Effective July 1, 2022.

Public Chapter 1117SB2448/HB2671White/Farmer


Re: Extended Liability Protection Against Covid Claims. Extends the liability protection against claims based on Covid exposure until July 1, 2023.

Effective as of June 1, 2022.

Public Chapter 1123SB2574/HB2535Crowe/Alexander


Re: End-of-Life Visitation at Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities. Requires that nursing homes and assisted living facilities allow for visitation during a disaster, emergency, or public health emergency for Covid-19. Provides an exemption if the visitation would violate federal or state law.

Effective July 1, 2022.

Public Chapter 1135SB1997/HB2043Bell/Cochran


Re Tianeptine as Controlled Substance. Classifies Tianeptine and all derivatives thereof as Schedule II controlled substances.  

Effective July 1, 2022.

** Please note that these are high-level overviews of each public chapter. Speak with the Board

Attorney for any specific questions or concerns. **



Public Chapter 10

This act extends the board of veterinary medical examiners to June 30, 2026. This act took effect March 23, 2021.

Public Chapter 37

This act prohibits agencies subject to sunset review from promulgating rules or adopting policies to exempt members solely by virtue of their status as members.

This act took effect March 23, 2021.

Public Chapter 136

This act was one of the Department of Health’s legislative initiatives, relative to the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database (CSMD). First, the act authorizes the state’s chief medical examiner, or county medical examiner, to allow designees to approve death investigations. Next, this act allows deidentified CSMD data, rather than only aggregate, to be shared, with the intent of improving information access. Additionally, this act allows for CSMD data to be shared with additional state, county, or federal agencies outside of Tennessee. Lastly, this act decreases the quorum requirements of the CSMD committee by one member, but still have a majority of members present to conduct regular committee business (6).

This act took effect April 13, 2021.

Public Chapter 153

This act creates a new definition of “store-and-forward telemedicine services” to include the use of asynchronous computer-based communications between the healthcare provider and the patient for the purpose of diagnoses, consultation, or treatment of a patient at a distant site where there may be no in-person exchange.

This act took effect April 13, 2021.

Public Chapter 179


This act authorizes unlicensed graduates of certain medical training programs to provide telehealth services, provided they maintain the same existing standards for telehealth that licensed providers must meet.

This act took effect April 20, 2021.

Public Chapter 230

This act revises the definition of marijuana to clarify that it does not include a product approved as a prescription by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This act took effect April 22, 2021.

Public Chapter 242

This act authorizes records custodians to petition a court for injunctive relief from individuals making frequent public records requests with the intent of disrupting

government operations, following a fifth (5th) public records request. A records custodian can only petition a court if they notify the person in writing stating the specific conduct may constitute intent to disrupt government operations, and that the person continues to do so. The individual upon a court enjoinment would not be able to make public requests at the agency for up to one (1) year.

This chapter took effect April 28th, 2021 and will sunset July 1, 2025.

Public Chapter 291

This act requires the attorney general and reporter to not approve an emergency rule if the emergency rule does not meet the statutory criteria for adoption of the rule.

This act took effect July 1, 2021.

Public Chapter 328

This act requires that starting December 1, 2023, state agencies submit a report of their effective rules to the chairs of the government operations committee every eight (8) years. The report is required to include a brief description of the department’s operations that each chapter affects, as well as each rule and its administrative history, which would include the original promulgated date and the dates the rule was last amended, if applicable. Additionally, the report would include a determination of each rule on whether it is adheres to current state or federal law or court rulings, should be amended or repealed, reviewed further, or continue in effect without amendment. Lastly, if there are any intentionally false statements in the report, the government operations committee would have the ability to vote to request the general assembly to remove a rule or suspend the department’s rulemaking authority for any reasonable period of time.

This act took effect July 1, 2021.

Public Chapter 453

This act requires public or private entities or businesses that operate a building open to the general public to post signage regarding public restroom access in certain situations. Specifically, this applies to entities or businesses that have restroom policies allowing either biological sex to use any public restroom within their building. The act includes requirements for language, size, location, and even color for the signage. The act excludes unisex, single occupant restrooms or family restrooms intended for use by either sex.

This act took effect July 1, 2021.

Public Chapter 461


This act requires TDH licensing authorities, upon learning a healthcare prescriber was indicted of certain criminal offenses (controlled substance violations or sexual offenses), to automatically restrict the prescriber’s ability to prescribe Schedule II controlled substances until the case reaches a final disposition. The restriction shall be removed upon sufficient proof of acquittal or dismissal/nolle prosequi. The act further requires licensing authorities to automatically revoke the license of a practitioner that is convicted of those same criminal offenses. A new license shall be granted if the conviction is overturned or reversed (but shall be restricted related to prescribing if the case has not reached final disposition). In addition, the act requires the licensing authority to suspend the license of midlevel practitioner (APRN/PA) upon finding the healthcare professional failed to comply with physician collaboration requirements. Finally, this act requires facility administrators to report certain disciplinary actions concerning licensed personnel to the professionals’ respective boards.

This act took effect May 18, 2021.

Public Chapter 513

This act prohibits the Governor from issuing an executive order and a state agency, department or political subdivision from promulgating, adopting, or enforcing an ordinance or resolution that requires a person to receive an immunization, vaccination, or injection for the SARS-CoV-2 virus or any variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It also deletes the previous override during an epidemic or immediate threat of an epidemic of an objection against vaccination that was made on the basis of religious tenets. The law prohibits requiring the COVID-19 vaccine to attend k-12 schools. The prohibition against requiring vaccines does not apply to governmental entities subject to federal or state statute or rule that prohibits the entity from requiring medical treatment for those who object on religious grounds or right of conscience.

The law also does not apply to students of a public institution of higher education delivering healthcare services when the student is participating in/fulfilling requirements of a program in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, or another healthcare profession.

This act took effect May 25, 2021.

Public Chapter 531

This act limits an agency’s authority to promulgate rules without a public hearing. There are exceptions to the public hearing requirement. These exceptions include emergency rules, rules that are nonsubstantive modifications to existing rules (like clerical updates), rules that repeal existing rule, or rules that eliminate or reduce a fee described by an existing rule.

This act took effect July 1, 2021.

Public Chapter 532

This act authorizes the joint government operations committee to stay an agency’s rule from going into effect for a period of time not to exceed ninety (90) days. If the government operations committee determines that subsequent stays are necessary, then the joint committee may issue consecutive stays, each for an additional ninety (90) day period, so long as such stays do not extend beyond the fifth legislative day of the year following the year in which the rule is filed with the secretary of state. The initial stay may be done by either the house or senate government operations committee, but subsequent stays must be by agreement by the committees of both chambers. A stay is effective when the respective committee files written notice with the secretary of state, and the respective committee shall specify the length of effectiveness of the stay.

This act took effect May 25, 2021.

Public Chapter 577

This public chapter establishes the medical cannabis commission which is administratively attached to the department of health for purposes of budgeting, audit, use of IT systems, HR support, clerical assistance and administrative support. The commission is composed of 9 members. The Governor appoints 3 members (1 from each grand division), the Lt. Governor appoints 3 members (1 must be a physician and 1 a pharmacist), and the Speaker of the House appoints 3 members (1 must be a physician and 1 a pharmacist). The commission must be impaneled and hold its first meeting by October 1, 2021. The commission is required to meet at least once every two months prior to March 2023. The commission shall appoint an executive director.

The commission is to examine federal laws and other states’ laws regarding medical use of cannabis, including issues relating to patient qualification, patient

registration, role of practitioners in recommending/prescribing, establishing guidelines for acceptable medical uses, development of a standard of care, etc.

This act took effect May 27, 2021.

**These are general summaries of legislation. For more detailed information and all specifics/requirements, please review the links to each public chapter**

Public Chapter 594

This act was the Department of Health’s Licensure Accountability Act.  The bill allows all health related boards to take action against a licensee that has been disciplined by another state for any acts or omissions that would constitute grounds for discipline in Tennessee.  The law also expands available emergency actions, allowing actions beyond simply a summary suspension.  Finally, the act establishes that the notification of law changes to health practitioners can be satisfied by the online posting of law changes by the respective boards.  Notice must be maintained online for at least 2 years following the change. 

This act took effect March 20, 2020.


Public Chapter 738

This act prohibits a governmental entity from authorizing destruction of public records if the governmental entity knows the records are subject to a pending public record request.  Prior to authorizing destruction of public records an entity must contact the public record request coordinator to ensure the records are not subject to any pending public record requests.  Records may still be disposed of in accordance with an established records retention schedule/policy as part of an ordinary course of business as long as the records custodian is without knowledge the records are subject to a pending request. 

This act took effect on June 22, 2020.


Legislative Update 2019: Veterinary Medical Examiners Board


Public Chapter 61

This act states that an entity responsible for an AED program is immune from civil liability for personal injury caused by maintenance or use of an AED if such conduct does not rise to the level of willful or wanton misconduct or gross negligence. 

This act took effect on March 28, 2019. 


Public Chapter 69

This act removes the requirement that a certified animal massage therapist or a registered animal massage therapist post a surety bond.

This act takes effect July 1, 2019. 


Public Chapter 229

This act allows healthcare professionals to accept goods or services as payment in direct exchange of barter for healthcare services. Bartering is only permissible if the patient to whom services are provided is not covered by health insurance. All barters accepted by a healthcare professional must be submitted to the IRS annually. This act does not apply to healthcare services provided at a pain management clinic.

This act took effect April 30, 2019. 


Public Chapter 243

This act mandates that an agency that requires a person applying for a license to engage in an occupation, trade, or profession in this state to take an examination must provide appropriate accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Any state agency that administers a required examination for licensure (except for examinations required by federal law) shall promulgate rules in regard to eligibility criteria. This legislation was introduced to assist individuals with dyslexia. 

 This act took effect May 2, 2019 for the purpose of promulgating rules, and for all other purposes, takes effect July 1, 2020. 



Public Chapter 245

This act prohibits any person who is not licensed or certified by the Board of Nursing from using the title “nurse” or any other title that implies that the person is a practicing nurse. The Board is empowered to petition any circuit or chancery court having jurisdiction to enjoin: (1) a person attempting to practice or practicing nursing without a valid license; (2) a licensee found guilty of any of the acts listed in 63-7-115; or (3) any person using the title “nurse” who does not possess valid license or certificate from the Board.  

This act took effect May 2, 2019. 


Public Chapter 447

This act permits law enforcement agencies to subpoena materials and documents pertaining to an investigation conducted by the Department of Health prior to formal disciplinary charges being filed against the provider. This bill was brought by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. 

This act went into effect May 22, 2019. 




Veterinary Board Legislative Update - 2018



Public Chapter 611

This law requires an agency holding a public hearing as part of its rulemaking process, to make copies of the rule available in “redline form” to people attending the hearing.  

This takes effect July 1, 2018.


Public Chapter 675

This act requires the department of health to accept allegations of opioid abuse or diversion and for the department to publicize a means of reporting allegations.  

Any entity that prescribes, dispenses, OR handles opioids is required to provide information to employees about reporting suspected opioid abuse/diversion.  That notice is to either be provided individually to the employee in writing and documented by the employer OR by posting a sign in a conspicuous, non-public area of minimum height and width stating: “NOTICE: PLEASE REPORT ANY SUSPECTED ABUSE OR DIVERSION OF OPIOIDS, OR ANY OTHER IMPROPER



Whistleblower protections are also established.  An individual who makes a report in good faith may not be terminated or suffer adverse licensure action solely based on the report.  The individual also is immune from any civil liability related to a good faith report.  

This act takes effect January 1, 2019.


Public Chapter 679

This chapter defines “Animal massage therapy,” and excludes its practice from veterinary medicine.  The act defines “certified animal massage therapist” and “registered animal massage therapist” and creates a cause of action under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act for those holding themselves out as such without complying with the requirements of the act.  

This takes effect July 1, 2018.


Public Chapter 744

This statute allows a licensing entity the discretion to not suspend/deny/revoke a license in cases where the licensee has defaulted or become delinquent on student loans IF a medical hardship significantly contributed to the default or delinquency.

This act took effect January 1, 2019.



Public Chapter 745 and Public Chapter 793

These public chapters work together to create and implement the “Fresh Start Act.”  Licensing authorities are prohibited from denying an application or renewal for a license/certificate/registration due to a prior criminal conviction that does not directly relate to the applicable occupation.  Lays out the requirements on the licensing authorities as well as the exceptions to the law (ex: rebuttable presumption regarding A and B level felonies).  

These acts take effect July 1, 2018.


Public Chapter 754

This chapter prevents any board, commission, committee, etc. created by statute from promulgating rules, issuing statements, or issuing intra-agency memoranda that infringe on an entity member’s freedom of speech.  

Freedom of speech includes, but is not limited to, a member’s freedom to express an opinion concerning any matter relating to that governmental entity, excluding matters deemed to be confidential under TCA 10-7-504.

Violations as determined by a joint evaluation committee may result in recommendations to the general assembly concerning the entity’s sunset status, rulemaking authority and funding.

This act took effect April 18, 2018.


Public Chapter 929

This act redefines policy and rule and requires each agency to submit a list of all policies, with certain exceptions, that have been adopted or changed in the previous year to the chairs of the government operations committees on July 1 of each year.  The submission shall include a summary of the policy and the justification for adopting a policy instead of a rule.

This act also prohibits any policy or rule by any agency that infringes upon an agency member’s freedom of speech.  

Finally, this act establishes that an agency’s appointing authority shall have the sole power to remove a member from a board, committee, etc.

This act takes effect July 1, 2018 and applies to policies adopted on or after that date.


Public Chapter 954

This legislation requires the initial licensure fee for low-income persons to be waived.  Low income individuals per the statute are defined as persons who are enrolled in a state or federal public assistance program including but not limited to TANF, Medicaid, and SNAP.  All licensing authorities are required to promulgate rules to effectuate the purposes of this act.  

This act takes effect January 1, 2019.

Public Chapter 1021

This act allows for appeals of contested case hearings to be in the chancery court nearest the residence of the person contesting the agency action or at that person’s discretion, in the chancery court nearest the place the action arose, or in the chancery court of Davidson County.  Petitions seeking review must be filed within 60 days after entry of the agency’s final order.  

This act takes effect July 1, 2018.


Public Chapter 1040

This act revises various provisions of the law regarding controlled substances and their analogues and derivatives, including updating identifications of drugs categorized in Schedules I - V.  The act also creates an offense for the sale or offer to sell Kratom, unless it is labeled and in its natural form.  It is also an offense to distribute, sell, or offer for sale, kratom to a person under 21 years of age.  It is also an offense to purchase or possess kratom if under 21 years of age.   

This act takes effect July 1, 2018.