KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP, abc24.com) - Teachers and lobbyists would be penalized for defaulting on student loans under legislation headed to the governor for his consideration.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Charles Sargent of Franklin passed the House 70-24 earlier this week. The companion bill was approved in the Senate 32-1 last year.
Under the proposal, such individuals could lose the right to practice their professions if they default, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Sargent said most other professionals who have state-issued licenses are already subject to losing them for failure to pay student loans and it is appropriate to add teachers, lobbyists and sports agents to the list.
Democratic House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley said the measure sends the wrong message to teachers, in particular, who are already unhappy with a new evaluation system and other education reforms.
"You would be able to take a teacher out of a classroom because he or she, because of tough times, has become delinquent on a student loan," he said.
Opponents of the measure say there are already adequate means of collecting debts, including garnishment of wages. They say those who have lost their jobs and have no wages would be further harmed by losing their state licenses.
Read HB0740 at http://capitol.tn.gov
Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com