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Tennessee passes bill that would require drunk drivers to pay child support if they kill a parent of a minor

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A Tennessee bill that would require drunk drivers to pay child support if they kill a parent due to intoxication or aggravated vehicular homicide has passed.

House Bill 1834 would require a person who is convicted of vehicular homicide to pay restitution in the form of child maintenance if their victim was the parent of a minor child. Each child of the victim would receive the restitution until they reach 18 years old and graduate high school.

The payments are similar to traditional child support, in which a parent pays the primary caregiver of their child until that child becomes a legal adult at 18.

The amount of the payments will be determined by the financial needs and resources of the child and their surviving parent or guardian, including the state, if the child is in the custody of the Department of Children's Services. Also similar to traditional child support, the standard of living the child is accustomed to will also be a factor in determining the amount of the payments.

If the defendant is incarcerated and unable to pay the required child maintenance, they have one year after their release from incarceration to begin paying.

The bill had already unanimously passed in the state's House before it unanimously passed in the Senate on Wednesday. An amendment to rename the bill "Ethan, Haile, and Bentley's Law" was added before it passed.

Those are the children of Nicholas Galinger, according to local reports. Galinger was a 38-year-old Tennessee police officer when he was killed by Janet Hinds, who was intoxicated when she hit him with her car in 2019, according to the Associated Press. In February, Hinds was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the fatal hit-and-run.

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