English-only driver's test still in the garage
Then-candidate Bill Haslam was asked about making the Tennessee driver"s test available only in English by the Tennessee Newspaper Network as part of a project in which gubernatorial candidates were asked their stands on issues.
Tennessee's tests are available at present in four languages: English, Spanish, Japanese and Korean. Only a handful of states require the test being taken in English only, but in 2010 it became a cause-of-the-month in a handful of states -- Tennessee among them. Georgia and Missouri were other notable states making a push. In fact, the Missouri House recently approved a measure on it.
A bill actually made it through the Tennessee Senate in 2010 but never made it out of subcommittee in the House. The battle lines here are interesting, pitting conservatives against big business which sees such a measure as making the state less desirable for companies because it might limit the work force.
Nonetheless, the bill is actually still alive having been filed in 2011, but it is so far on the backburner that probably few legislators even remember it's out there.
Nor apparently is it much of a focus for the governor, who doesn't seem to have addressed it since answering the question during the campaign. Our question back in January 2012 on whether Haslam had considered this issue was answered by the governor's office with the four-word response: "Not at this time.” We asked again and received the same response on March 23.
Unless some event or action pushes this issue back to the front burner, it seems unlikely that it will even be discussed again anytime soon. Under those circumstances we have to give this one a Stalled.
Tennessee Newspaper Network: "Compare the Candidates”
The Commercial Appeal: "Tennessee House Subcommittee Kills Bill To Require English-only on Driver's Test”
Missouri House of Representatives: "House Approves Bill Requiring English-Only Driving Test”
Tennessee Department of Safety: "Comprehensive Driver"s License Manual” page 21