Rep. Charles Sargent—a Franklin insurance agent—insisted his bill isn't targeting teachers for punishment. It merely adds them to the long list of professionals whose state-issued licenses are at risk for student loan delinquency, he said. The bill passed with 70 votes despite the pleas of Democrats.
Rep. Mike Turner, D-Nashville: “It’s like we’re piling on teachers again. We already have a system to collect these fees. They can take them to court and get judgments against them right now. If we take somebody’s license away from them, we put them out of work.”
Rep. Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga: “I certainly do know and can appreciate the underlying intent of this particular piece of legislation. But you and I know that what it will do is impose extreme hardship on individuals. We know the kind of economy we’re in. If we deny people the right to work, then they cannot pay loans. It’s just that simple.”
House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley: “It doesn’t send a good message right at this stage of the game, it appears to me.”