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Tennessee legislature passes bill to require drunken drivers to pay child support to victim’s children

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Tennessee’s state Senate passed a bill on April 20th, 2022 that would require drunken drivers to pay child support if they kill the parent of a minor.

The “Ethan, Hailey, and Bentley’s Law” is named after minors that lost their parents to intoxicated drivers. It was passed unanimously in the state House back in February.

Reportedly, the bill requires the child of the victim to receive pay until they are 18 and have graduated high school. 

Representative Mark Hall, who introduced the bill stated “As I promised, I will do what it takes to protect the future of our most valuable resources, our children.”

The amount of child support that would be paid would be determined by considering the child’s standard of living, their financial needs and the child’s guardian – including children that may be in the custody of the department of child’s services.

The bill was introduced as a result of Hall being contacted by Cecilia Williams, a grandmother that worked alongside legislatures in her own state of Missouri to construct Bentley’s Law. Her campaign for the bill attracted Tennessee lawmakers. 

The law is named after Williams’ 5-year-old grandson Bentley that was orphaned due to his parents and younger brother being struck and killed by a drunken driver back in April 2021. Ethan and Hailey are the children of a Chattanooga police officer Nicholas Galinger that was also struck and killed by a drunken woman in 2019.

Tennessee’s governor Bill Lee will review the legislation once it reaches his desk, a source told ABC News.