New Tennessee laws go into effect in 2017 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New Tennessee laws go into effect in 2017

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A new year means new laws in Tennessee.

Here’s a look at the laws that take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.   

People convicted of vehicular homicide where alcohol or drugs were involved will be ineligible for parole starting in the New Year.

Sentencing will also be harsher for those convicted of robbing a pharmacy to get a controlled substance. The new sentence enhancement includes charges or robbery, aggravated robbery and especially aggravated robbery.

Handgun permit laws go into effect

Starting Sunday, those who are 18 to 20 years old who are active duty, retired or honorably discharged from the military will be allowed to apply for handgun permits. Currently, Tennessee residents must be at least 21 years old to get a carry permit for handguns.

Some lawmakers believe the law will help protect people by allowing people who know how to use weapons to carry them. The ”terrorist inspired” fatal shootings of five Chattanooga service members at a naval facility in July 2015 motivated the change.

Lifetime handgun permit costs will decrease in 2017 from $500 to $200. Go to the state of Tennessee’s website for more information on handgun carry permits.

Stronger beer coming to Tennessee stores, breweries

Another law taking effect in 2017 allows Tennessee brewers to make higher alcohol content beers without a specialty license under a law that raises the alcohol by weight (ABW) limit to 8 percent from 5 percent. The law allows Tennessee grocery and convenience stores to sell high-gravity beers.

The new law increases the alcohol by volume (ABV) limit from about 6.2 percent to about 10.1 percent. The bill redefining beer passed in 2014 and takes effect January 1.

It’s a major step forward for the state’s flourishing craft beer industry.

Penalty increases for drivers without insurance

The penalty for drivers without insurance increases in 2017. Authorities will start using an online tool to find out which drivers are covered.

The maximum general fine will be $300 compared to $100 now. Drivers who can’t show proof of insurance could also face a Class C misdemeanor.

Tennessee high school seniors will have to take U.S. civics test to graduate

Most Tennessee students will also be required to take a U.S. civics test before graduating high school.

The test will include between 25-50 questions taken from the test given to those seeking citizenship in the country.

Seniors can take the test as many times as necessary to pass. Students must answer 70 percent of the questions correctly to pass. Some students in individualized education programs won’t be required to take the test.

Go to the state of Tennessee’s website for high school graduation requirements.

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