2024 State Legislative Session Takeaways: Tennessee

Written by Matt Wallack

The Tennessee General Assembly adjourned the 2023-2024 legislative biennium on April 25.

Here is what you may have missed:

Right to Voice

Lawmakers passed the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act (HB 2091/SB 2096), which defines a person’s voice as a personal right and extends the same protections as a person’s name, photograph, and likeness. These bills were introduced to account for the rapid changes that artificial intelligence has brought to the music industry. The measure defines voice as “a sound in a medium that is readily identifiable and attributable to a particular individual, regardless of whether the sound contains the actual voice or a simulation of the voice of the individual.”

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R) celebrated the March 21 signing of the ELVIS ACT by stating that “Once again, Tennessee is leading the nation. Today, the ELVIS Act becomes the first-of-its-kind law to protect musicians from AI-generated synthetic media. The rapid advancement of AI is exciting in many ways, but it also presents new challenges – especially for singers, songwriters, and other music professionals.”

Similar legislation was introduced in four other states and bills in California and Illinois are still pending in their respective legislatures.


The legislature passed the budget on April 18, which has yet to be signed into law. The budget includes $52.8 billion in funding. Some of the notable provisions in this year’s budget are:

  • $1.5 billion in non-recurring funding to simplify state franchise tax.
  • $15 million in funding for charter school facility improvements.
  • $10 million in funding to recruit companies to expand nuclear development and manufacturing.

Additional Legislative Highlights

SB 869/HB 282 was signed by Governor Bill Lee (R) and took effect on May 1. The bill revises the definition of practice of pharmacy to include specified actions under the scope. These actions include prescribing antivirals for influenza and COVID-19, active immunization agents for individuals who are susceptible to disease and 18 years old or older, and naloxone.

SB 2801/HB 2921 was signed by Lee on May 6 and takes effect on July 1. The bill requires any TennCare health benefit plan issued by a health insurance carrier to provide coverage and reimbursement for mental health services and treatment to the same extent that the TennCare health benefit plan provides coverage and reimbursement for the treatment of alcoholism and drug dependence.

SB 1894/HB 1832 was signed on May 1 and takes effect on July 1. The bill provides that a business that makes an automatic renewal offer or continuous service offer to a consumer in Tennessee must obtain the consumer's affirmative consent to the agreement containing the automatic renewal offer terms or continuous service offer terms, including the terms of an automatic renewal offer or continuous service offer that is made at a promotional or discounted price for a limited period of time, before charging the consumer's credit or debit card, or the consumer's account through a third party, for an automatic renewal offer or continuous service offer.

Looking Ahead to 2025

Universal school choice vouchers are likely to emerge as a significant topic in 2025. Governor Lee has made these a top priority for his administration despite continued differences between state house and state senate leadership on the scope and cost of such a program. Upon adjournment of the legislature and failure of the 2024 proposal, Lee vowed to bring forward a plan in 2025. In addition, the 2024 budget appropriated $144 million for universal vouchers, which reverted to the General Fund.

Legislative primaries will be held on August 1, 2024, with the General Election scheduled for November 5. 16 of 33 state senate seats and all state house seats will be up for grabs. The 2025 legislative session is expected to convene on January 14, 2025.

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