2021 Law Changes

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Chattanooga, Tenn. (WDEF)- Both the Volunteer and Peach states are updating the rulebooks in the year 2021.

In Tennessee, lawmakers have expanded the Amber Alert system to be issued for missing or endangered young adults under 21.

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9-1-1 operators can now provide C.P.R. instructions to callers in emergency situations.

The Tennessee Pregnant Workers and Fairness Act provides accommodations for pregenant employees in the worklplace for the health and safety of the woman and her child.

In the state of Georgia, ‘surpise billing’ is coming to a halt as health insurance companies are now required cover the emergency service costs for patients.

Another bill passed in the house protects first responders from biased and hate related crimes.

At the federal level, employees at the Department of Veteran Services who directly interact with veterans must be trained in suicide prevention.

“The military teaches us that we are repsonsible for our own careers but when when you get out the military, you seem to forget that” says Kevin Baker who specializes in veteran outreach at the Department of Veteran Services.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs website, 181 veterans in the state of Tennessee died by suicide in 2018.

Baker says the covid pandemic in 2020 added another dimension of mental despair.

“Veterans are suffering right now” said Baker. “One with the unemployment rate, veterans get out the military and don’t realize ‘hey, I need to be employed. I got a family I need to take care of’ because they’re waiting on that supply sergeant or that squad leader or that platoon  sergeant to say ‘hey, this is what’s got to happen today. You need to do this, then you need to get home and take care of your family.’ That person is not there anymore”

The Department of Veteran Affairs offers a crisis hotline: 1-800-273-8255