Bill Would Revoke Driver’s License of Those Late in Paying Court Fines

A bill that calls for revoking the driver’s licenses of those who fail to pay court costs or fines on time won approval of committees in both the House and Senate over objections of some Democrats on Tuesday.
Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, protested that HB1877 by Rep. Jim Gotto, R-Nashville, would “turn the Department of Safety into a collection agency” for courts. The department issues driver’s licenses.
Armstrong also contended enactment of the bill and loss of a driver’s license would leave some people unable to work and reduce the prospects of them paying off debts. The debtor would also have a new $65 fee to get a driver’s license reinstated, he said.
But Rep. Harry Tindell, D-Knoxville, said Gotto had worked with him to develop an amendment assuring that people can work out a payment plan with court clerks. With that revision, Tindell said he could support the bill.
The bill’s “fiscal note,” prepared by legislative staff, estimates that state government will collect an extra $6 million per year in fines, court costs and litigation taxes with passage of the bill while local governments statewide will collectively also get an extra $6 million annually.
With Tindell’s support, the bill was approved by the House Finance Committee and is now ready for a floor vote in the House. The Senate Judiciary Committee also approved the measure Tuesday, moving it to the Senate Finance Committee.

Leave a Reply