The Latest: Online sales tax requirement restored in House

NASHVILLE, Tenn./May 10, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — The Latest on Tennessee lawmakers taking up their remaining bills (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

A proposal to require large online retailers to collect sales taxes on items bought in Tennessee has been restored in the state House, but it includes a provision that bans the state from collecting the money until the issue has worked its way through the courts.

Tuesday’s move came a day after the chamber voted to remove the rule sought by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration to have retailers with sales of more than $500,000 per year remit the sales tax to state revenue collectors.

Under current law, consumers are responsible for paying the state any sales taxes owed for online purchases, but few people actually do. Retailers must only collect sales taxes if they have a physical presence in the state.

The move to restore the Haslam administration’s rule was designed to ensure that Tennessee would be able to maintain legal standing in court challenges.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

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4 p.m.

Tennesseans under age 21 would be issued driver’s licenses printed in a vertical format under a bill headed for Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk.

The House voted 83-1 on Tuesday to give final approval to the bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Dunn and Sen. Becky Massey. Both are Knoxville Republicans.

Supporters say the change will help prevent underage drinking. Current licenses for minors have a red bar across the edge.

The Senate approved the bill unanimously in March.

An unrelated effort to require the words “alien” or “visa” of Tennessee driver’s licenses held by people without permanent residency status died earlier in the session.

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3:30 p.m.

The Tennessee House has approved a Democratic framework for a block grant program for K-12 schools, though the measure included no funding.

The chamber passed the bill sponsored by House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh on a 56-30 vote on Tuesday.

The Ripley Democrat said the measure is modeled after the Tennessee Promise to pay for community college tuition program and that is funded through proceeds from an endowment.

Many Republicans voiced concerns that the proposed block grant program had been a bargaining chip to get Democrats to vote for the governor’s road funding bill that included the state’s first gas tax hike since 1989. That claim was denied by Fitzhugh and GOP leadership.

The Senate version of the bill was withdrawn from consideration on Tuesday, meaning it likely won’t come up again until next year.

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11:30 a.m.

Tennessee lawmakers are working to clear the decks of their last lingering legislative priorities before adjourning for the year.

The House and Senate are slated for afternoon sessions Tuesday to take up a laundry list of bills on issues including gun rights, online sales tax and free community college for adults.

Lawmakers had hoped to adjourn early this week, but disagreements over various bills make it more likely they will conclude their business on Wednesday or later.

On Monday, the Senate gave final approval to the $37 billion annual state spending plan, which was the biggest hurdle to finish months of legislative work.

The session began in January.

Kathy Bratkowski
About Kathy Bratkowski 113 Articles
Kathy Bratkowski is an award-winning writer and multimedia producer. Her television work has been recognized with eleven regional Emmy® awards and multiple Telly awards. Her documentaries and programs have screened at film festivals (St. Louis International Film Festival and New York Television Festival). She writes and produces videos and web content for dozens of national corporations. In a previous life, she was a television news producer and worked in the corporate world. She is a published feature and short story writer and has an M.A. in Marketing and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. She teaches Multimedia Storytelling (aka Convergence Media Production) at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park.