Bipartisan Effort Would Keep Tennesseans From Losing Their Licenses Over Court Fines | Nashville Public Radio

Bipartisan Effort Would Keep Tennesseans From Losing Their Licenses Over Court Fines

Feb 13, 2019

A federal appeals court is considering whether Tennessee should have the ability to take away the driver's licenses of individuals who can’t pay fines. 

But, state lawmakers are not waiting for that ruling.

Instead, Republicans and Democrats have filed measures in the General Assembly that would put an end to the practice. 

Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, is one of the lawmakers pushing to stop the state from suspending the licenses of people who can't pay their tickets.

He said revoking licenses for non-payment of fines, will not solve anything.

“Guess what? Chances are you are going to get in that car and you gonna go do what you gonna do," Miller told WPLN.

Miller clarified that under his bill, individuals would still need to pay their fines. But they can't do that if they can't go to work.

Meanwhile, Republicans are also pushing for reform.

House Majority Leader William Lamberth proposes giving people a restricted license while they pay off their fines on an installment plan.

According to the Tennessee Department of Safety, the state collects over $2 million every year from reinstatement fees from drivers with revoked or suspended licenses.

Both bills were prompted by a Nashville judge's ruling last year that suspending licenses for non-payment of fines is unfair.

The state has appealed the decision, but a ruling has yet to come.

State lawmakers believe they could settle the issue outside the courts.