published Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Tennessee state senators "yelp" at bill banning dogs in drivers’ laps

NASHVILLE — Legislation making it a crime for motorists to drive with a dog in their lap in Tennessee was brought to heel at least temporarily in the Senate Finance Committee today.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, passed Monday night in the House on a 58-30 vote, drew growls from senators.

Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, quipped dog-related bills often arouse strong “passions” and “often come back to bite you.”

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, in the Senate, makes it a Class C misdemeanor carrying a $50 fine and up to 30 days in jail for anyone caught driving with an animal in their lap or “between the driver and driver’s door.”

Yager, who noted he introduced the bill at Cobb’s request, said he received a letter from a woman who complained she had nearly had accidents on two occasions with motorists who dogs sitting in their laps, making it difficult to control their vehicle.

Sensing his dog/driver bill was in trouble, Yager move to “roll over” the bill for two weeks. “Roll” is the term used for delaying action on a bill.

Citing safety concerns, Cobb passed a similar bill last year only to see it die in the Senate.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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