Tennessee lawmakers pass legislation to repeal underage DUI law

Sept. 14, 2016: Lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to fix a new underage drinking law that jeopardized $60 million in federal road funding.

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Senate and House passed legislation to effectively repeal a new state law about underage drunken driving that threatens to cost the state $60 million in federal road money.
    
The Senate's upper chamber voted 31-1 to pass the bill Wednesday and the House followed suit by voting 85-2 in favor of the legislation.

Read more about HB/SB 9001


The law that went into effect in July had raised the penalties for driving under the influence by 18- through 20-year-olds. But the measure ran afoul of federal zero-tolerance standards for underage drivers by raising the maximum allowable blood alcohol content from 0.02 percent to 0.08 percent.
    
Gov. Bill Haslam has called lawmakers into a special session this week to return the 0.02 percent rule and the more lenient penalties for all drivers beneath the drinking age.

State Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge sponsored the original bill in the Senate. He voted 'yes' on the change, but isn't happy with how the federal government responded to his bill.

"The bill was drafted and it went through fiscal review and passed the Senate last year," he said. "We never heard a peep out of them. They waited until it was completely passed, after we're out of session and then decide, 'Oh, well we think we can dock Tennessee $60 million.'"


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