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Bill Proposes No Alcohol Sales for DUI Offenders

Tennessee lawmakers want to prohibit DUI offenders from buying alcohol.

A bill that would allow judges to prohibit those convicted of driving under the influence from purchasing alcohol advanced in the House on Wednesday. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bud Hulsey, RKingsport, and Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, originally sought a lifetime ban for a third conviction and discretion for judges to prohibit the purchase of alcohol by first- and second- time offenders for one and two years, respectively.

The bill, HB 1698, would also make the purchase or sale of alcohol by or to one of these offenders a Class C misdemeanor.

But before the bill advanced in the House Criminal Justice Committee, it picked up an amendment from committee Vice Chairman Rep. Michael Curcio, RDickson.

That change removed the lifetime ban, as well as the punishment of the sale of alcohol to DUI offenders.

Curcio said he did not want to punish store owners and restaurant workers who did not commit the crime. Hulsey said he viewed Curcio's proposal as a friendly amendment and the committee passed it unanimously. The committee also agreed on a verbal amendment that would make the prohibition of alcohol for DUI offenders effective on July 1, if the measure ultimately passes and is signed into law.

The bill would also require updates on driver's licenses for offenders, indicating their status.

But the sponsor offered an amendment to hold off on the implementation of this requirement until 2020 to avoid the estimated cost of $165,000.

Several committee members praised Hulsey for bringing the measure forward. The bill now advances to the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee.

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