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Tennessee law changes starting July 1 touch on abortion, the death penalty and school safety

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After Tennessee lawmakers spent months debating a slew of new laws during their legislative session, many of those statutes will go into effect Monday — ranging from abortion travel restrictions for minors, allowing the death penalty for child rape convictions and many more.

The new fiscal year begins July 1 in Tennessee, meaning the latest state spending plan approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature and hundreds of statutes will soon be implemented.

Here’s a look at some of the notable laws going into effect:

Abortion — Tennessee will soon become the second state in the nation to make it illegal for adults to help minors get an abortion without parental consent. Republican state lawmakers backed the idea after similarly GOP-controlled Idaho became the first state to enact the so-called “ abortion trafficking ” law. A federal judge has since temporarily blocked the Idaho version after reproductive rights groups sued to challenge it. A lawsuit was filed in Tennessee challenging the statute just last week.

Death Penalty — Starting July 1, the state will be allowed to pursue capital punishment when an adult is convicted of aggravated rape of a child. Those convicted could be sentenced to death, imprisonment for life without possibility of parole, or imprisonment for life. Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis enacted a similar bill nearly a year ago. While the U.S. Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional to use capital punishment in child sexual battery cases in 2008, supporters are hoping the current conservative-majority makeup of the high court will reverse that decision should the law end up before the justices.

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