Tenn. lawmakers repeal DUI law that threatened loss of federal funding

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee lawmakers repealed a driving under the influence law that threatened to cost the state $60 million in federal highway funding.

The state House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the legislation Wednesday.

Governor Bill Haslam had called a special session to address the issue earlier this month after the U.S. Department of Transportation said Tennessee’s new law violated the federal “zero tolerance” drunk driving statute.

The measure changed the DUI blood alcohol content maximum for 18 to 20 year olds from 0.02 to 0.08 percent. However, federal rules require states to set the blood alcohol content for that age group to 0.02 or lose some federal funding.

After the repeal Wednesday, Haslam applauded the General Assembly for their decision.

“I am grateful to the General Assembly for quickly convening and passing legislation that clarifies our drunk driving law to remove any question of compliance with federal requirements. Although we disagreed with the interpretation that Tennessee was out of compliance, this special session was necessary to avoid any negative impact to the state,” the governor said.

According to the Associated Press, the special session is projected to cost the state up to $100,000.

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