- The Tennessee state senate unanimously passed a law that would require convicted drunk drivers to pay child support to victims’ children in fatal cases.
- The amount owed would depend on the minor’s financial and educational needs as well as their current standard of living.
- The bill is named for three children whose parents or guardians were killed in drunk driving accidents.
Tennessee lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill that would require drunk drivers to pay child support to victims’ children.
The bill passed in the Senate this week and had previously passed in the House of Representatives in February.
The legislation, titled “Ethan, Haile, and Bentley’s Law,” requires those convicted of drunk driving to provide for the children of deceased victims until they are 18 years old.
If the driver is convicted of driving under the influence and, as a result, caused the death of a parent of a minor, “then the sentencing court must order the defendant to pay restitution in the form of child maintenance to each of the victim’s children until each child reaches 18 years of age and has graduated from high school, or the class of which the child is a member when the child reached 18 years of age has graduated,” the bill reads.
The court would then determine the amount to be paid by the defendant based on the needs of the minor, taking into account their current standard of living, the financial situation of the surviving parent or guardian, and the child’s educational needs, according to the bill.
If the defendant is jailed following the case, the bill says they would have one year after release to pay the set amount to the minor.
The bill is named for three children of victims who were killed in drunk driving accidents, NBC News reported.
The bill is now expected to go to the desk of Gov. Bill Lee.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.