With the new year, several new state laws went into effect in Tennessee.
One of those new laws will cost consumers more when shopping at one online store. Another law is designed to keep children safe when playing sports.
Amazon online customers in Tennessee will see an increase in charges for 2014. A law that’s expected to boost state revenue took effect Jan. 1, the date Amazon.com began collecting sales tax in Tennessee.
Under a deal struck with the administration of former Gov. Phil Bredesen, Amazon was absolved from collecting Tennessee state sales tax for several years. Customers were responsible for paying taxes on their own to the state Department of Revenue.
However, brick-and-mortar competitors argued that arrangement wasn’t fair.
Gov. Bill Haslam reached an agreement with Amazon that required it to begin collecting sales tax in Tennessee on Jan. 1, 2014. As part of the agreement, the company also agreed to build two distribution centers in Hamilton and Bradley counties, creating about 3,500 jobs.
Amazon’s sales tax collection is estimated to generate about $17 million in recurring state revenue, and about $7 million in local revenue, according to the state legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee.
Former state Rep. Charlie Curtiss said, “There is no question it is going to bring revenue into the state. It should bring quite a bit of money into Tennessee.”
Curtiss said most of the laws which went into effect Jan. 1 were approved in May.
“We gave time for rule making. Many times when a rule is voted in, the people it affects do not have time for a rule-making process. This gave them time to be able to enforce the rule.”
Also beginning Jan. 1, schools are now required to adopt guidelines to educate coaches, school administrators, athletes, and their parents about the symptoms and dangers of concussions.
Over 250,000 youth athletes suffered concussions in 2009, according to a study released in October by the National Academy of Sciences. According to the study, high school athletes are more likely to suffer concussions than their older counterparts. One of the main problems in youth sports, the study suggested, is athletes, parents, and coaches do not have proper education about how to report and deal with concussions.
With the new legislation, coaches and athletic director are now required to undergo training about concussions and how to spot symptoms. Under the law, injured students will not be allowed to resume a sport until a medical professional clears their return.
The new law also addresses concerns raised by recent research showing how head injuries can cause dire consequences several years later.
“We now know some professional football players are affected by previous concussions 10 years after getting out of football,” said Curtiss. “Some have symptoms of Alzheimer’s years after having a concussion. I think this law is very good for high school athletes.”
The law includes provisions requiring students to be removed from an event if they show concussion symptoms like headaches, dilated eyes or vomiting.
Another new law creates the Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP) which allows students at the state’s technology centers and community colleges to combine occupational training in a high-skill or high-technology industry with academic credit and apply that experience toward a degree.