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Bill to prevent license suspensions for unpaid court debt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee lawmakers are throwing support behind legislation that would prevent the state from revoking or suspending driver’s licenses over unpaid court costs.

The House Transportation Committee on Tuesday advanced a proposal allowing people to still have a restricted driver’s license while they pay off their court fines using a payment plan rather than face a possible suspension.

A restricted driver’s license would allow people to drive only to work, school or their religious place of worship.

The measure is being debated in the Tennessee General Assembly after a federal judge issued a landmark ruling last year declaring it unconstitutional to suspend licenses for non-payment of fines.

The state appealed that decision last year, but lawmakers are hoping to address the issue outside of the courts.

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