Tenn. lawmakers repeal law to avoid $60M penalty

Interstate I-40

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Latest on a special session called by Tennessee lawmakers to repeal a state law that threatens $60 million in federal funding (all times local):

10:10 a.m.

Facing a $60 million penalty from the federal government, Tennessee lawmakers have repealed an underage drunken driving law that ran afoul of zero-tolerance standards.

The Senate passed the measure 31-1 on Wednesday and the House later followed suit on an 85-2 vote.

The state law that went into effect in July had raised the penalties for driving under the influence by 18- through 20-year-olds. But by also raising the maximum allowable blood alcohol content from 0.02 percent to 0.08 percent for those drivers, the state stood to lose 8 percent of its federal road funding money on Oct. 1

Related: Haslam calls for ‘extraordinary’ session on $60M in highway funds

Gov. Bill Haslam called lawmakers into a special session this week to return the 0.02 percent rule along with the more lenient penalties for drivers below the legal drinking age.

9:50 a.m.

The Tennessee Senate has 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 upper chamber voted 31-1 to pass the bill Wednesday and the House is expected to follow suit later in the day.

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.

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