Haslam to Sign Bill Yanking Driver’s License for Not Paying Court Fines

For years, thousands of Tennesseans found guilty of various crimes have gotten away with not paying fines, court costs and litigation taxes, reports Andy Sher, with one estimate pegging the resulting revenue loss to state and local governments at $1 billion or more.
But lawmakers hope the free ride is coming to a screeching halt under legislation (HB1877) passed in May by the General Assembly (but, according to the legislative website, not officially sent to the governor until June 6).
The bill requires the state Safety Department to revoke a person’s driver license if he or she is more than 12 months past due in paying penalties. Judges can extend payment deadlines for six months in hardship cases. If necessary, delinquent drivers can pay in installments if they can’t swing the average $500 in litigation taxes, court costs and fines in one fell swoop.
The bill takes effect July 2. Because it’s not retroactive, it won’t apply to old fines.
Yvette Martinez, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bill Haslam, said the governor will “review this bill as he does all the bills that come to his desk, but we expect that he’ll sign it.”‘ (Note: It’s pretty safe to predict the governor will sign any bill reaching his desk this year.)
House sponsor Rep. Jim Gotto, R-Hermitage, said he brought the bill because “it’s been a long-known fact that there’s a lot of money across the state owed by criminals who have been convicted and don’t pay their court costs.

(Previous post HERE.)

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