New State Laws for 2007

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Knoxville (WVLT) - They're hardly the ten commandments, or even the 10 amendments, but Tennessee lawmakers have made ten major changes to the state codes, that take effect New Year's Day.

From the millions for Interstate 40's Downtown Knoxville Smart Fix, to the thousands or so dollar for other state projects, many Tennesseans believe whom ever is getting their tax dollar should have to prove their workers are legal.

Mike Newcomb says, "I believe they should pay their taxes like the rest of us."

Come next year, a new law will prevent the State of Tennessee from hiring anyone who knowingly uses illegal immigrants. Contractors must swear in writing, not to hire them. Any subcontractor who does get caught loses state contracts for a year!

State Senator Tim Burchett of Knoxville says, "The reality is it's not gonna do much because of the enforcement, and you have to prove intent, and you get a contractor of a contractor of a contractor, who's gonna know. "

Marv Weninger who lives in Knoxville says, "The answer has to be a bigger answer that looks at a problem from a more global perspective. You have to fix some problems in Mexico first."

Senator Tim Burchett calls the bill part of election year hijinks.

And speaking of elections, write-in candidates will have a tougher time getting on the general election ballot. Instead of needing only 5 percent of the votes cast in the primary, they'll need 5 percent of the total number of voters registered in their district.

Another law aims to bury a tradition almost as old as elections themselves.

Coordinators must update records with social security data
so that county election commissioners can purge dead voters from the rolls.

Kay Weninger figures that could be gravely important. "I'm quite sure there are folks who manage to use that to get a few extra votes in."

Lawmakers also want to make sure cemetery owners don't double-sell lots or hide certain fees.

Tenncare contractors must draft rules for re-reimbursing doctors who work for federally-qualified health centers.

Ex-wives or husbands, will get more notice when they're losing insurance due to divorce.

And back to state contracts and immigration, individual agencies won't have to police this. Finance and adminstration gets that duty. Some contractors may face surprise inspections.