Session Picks Up Speed As Lawmakers Contend With State Technology Regulation


Legislative Update

Session Picks Up Speed As Lawmakers Contend With State Technology Regulation


The Tennessee state legislative session picked up speed this week as lawmakers attempted to move key legislation through the committee process. However, several highly anticipated proposals announced earlier this year, such as bills to expand the school voucher program statewide and make significant changes to the state franchise tax, have yet to be heard in the House or the Senate.


State regulation of artificial intelligence and technology has emerged as a significant legislative priority this session, with over 20 bills on the subject filed for consideration. The House Banking and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee engaged in robust discussion regarding two bills sponsored by legislative leadership which aim to protect select individuals from the perils of technology misuse. The Protecting Children from Social Media Act (SB2097/HB1891), carried by House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin), would require social media companies to verify the age of all users in the state and obtain express parental consent to allow users under the age of eighteen to become an account holder. Social media companies would also be required to provide a minor account holder's parent with means for the parent to supervise the minor's account, and would be civilly liable for any violations resulting from under age user access. HB1891 was rolled two weeks in committee due to concerns raised regarding the practical implementation of the age verification and supervision policy. 


In addition, the Subcommittee considered the Ensuring Likeness, Voice, and Image Security Act of 2024 (SB2096/HB2091), also known as the ELVIS Act, which aims to protect singers and songwriters from unlawful use by artificial intelligence. The legislation provides that any person who knowingly uses or infringes upon the use of an individual's voice for purposes of advertising products, merchandise, goods, or services, or for purposes of fundraising, solicitation of donations, purchases of products, merchandise, goods, or services, without such individual's prior consent, is liable to a civil action, among other restrictions. While the legislation intends to ensure that artists are compensated if their likeness is used for commercial purposes, opponents have voiced concerns about unconstitutional speech restrictions posed by the bill in its current form. HB2091 passed the House Banking and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee on a voice vote and will be heard in the House Commerce Committee later this month. 


On the federal level, U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to his fourth term in 2024. Green won reelection in 2022 in a newly drawn district after state redistricting efforts divided Tennessee's 5th Congressional District, previously represented by U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville). Congressman Green now represents downtown Nashville, North Nashville and northwest Davidson County, as well as parts of west Williamson County and surrounding rural counties to the north and west. Main population centers include Nashville, which made up 23% of the total vote during the 2022 general election, Montgomery County (22%), Williamson County (16%) and Robertson County (10%). Former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry announced in December that she would seek the Democratic nomination in the 7th Congressional District and challenge Green for the seat. It has been widely speculated that Green is planning to run for Tennessee governor in 2026. Potential Republican candidates considering a run for Green’s seat include state Sen. Bill Powers (R-Clarksville), state Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield), and former state Rep. Brandon Ogles (R-Franklin), a cousin of freshman U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles.


We will continue to monitor state legislative activity, and provide updates accordingly.


If you have any questions, please let us know.

The H&K Tennessee Government Relations Team


Catie Lane Bailey

Partner  |  Nashville


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James Weaver

Partner  |  Nashville


Nicole Watson

Partner and Senior Policy Advisor  |  Chattanooga

Annie Beckstrom

Counsel and Senior Public Affairs Advisor  |  Nashville

Mack Cooper

Senior Public Affairs Advisor  |  Nashville

Maxwell Johnson
Public Affairs Advisor  |  Nashville