Tennessee shuts down parts of government, truckers left to scramble

| 7/2/2002

Offices for the Tennessee International Registration Plan and state license bureau appeared to be closed Monday after the General Assembly failed Sunday night to approve a budget before Monday's start of the fiscal year. About 22,000 state workers who are deemed nonessential did not report to work Monday as part of the partial shutdown of state government.

On Friday, an employee in the state IRP office told Land Line the legislature would vote over the weekend to determine if the office would be kept open. "We don't know if we're going to be here on Monday, you'll just have to call and see." Calls Monday to the office were not answered.

OOIDA's Business Services department said calls to the governor's office also turned up bad news for drivers needing to renew licenses. "We were told that because of the partial shutdown driver's licenses could not be renewed," said OOIDA's Jerry Bartley. "The governor's office told me if a trucker is pulled over while out on the road there would be no leniency. They said it was 'too bad' and guys would have to shut down if their license expires (during the partial state shutdown)."

As lawmakers continue to work overtime on the budget, the state will operate under an emergency services budget that shuts down much of government. The emergency budget, which the Senate sent to the governor Sunday, will expire on Friday.

--Keith Goble, staff writer