Reform legislation will end suspension of driver licenses for non-driving related offenses
Senators Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) today filed Senate Bill 302, related to penalties and fees, to reduce the number of driver licenses suspended in Florida each year. The legislation would end suspension of licenses for non-driving related offenses and is expected to significantly reduce the large number of suspensions that take place each year.
“Florida suspends hundreds of thousands of licenses each year, often because a person is saddled with debt for fines that may have nothing to do with driving,” stated Senator Brandes. “With compounding fees and collections costs, the prospect of reinstating a license may seem insurmountable to some of the poorest in our communities. This bill provides people with an opportunity to regain mobility, find employment, and get their lives back on track.”
“This comprehensive bill is a long overdue reform with strong, bipartisan support”, said Senator Rouson, who sponsored similar legislation in the Florida House of Representatives in 2016. “The time has come to address this issue head-on, and I look forward to working with our colleagues in the House and the Senate to advance this common-sense legislation for the hardworking families of our community.”
In 2016, Senator Brandes and then-Representatives Rouson, Steube, and Young sponsored similar legislation to Senate Bill 302. The bill prohibits suspension of a driver license for various offenses that are unrelated to driving. Individuals who would have their licenses suspended for many financial related reasons will instead be issued a hardship license. The reform package modifies current law relating to debt collection for unpaid fees or fines, and clearly establishes the right of a defendant in financial hardship to use community service as an alternative method of payment. Finally, the bill eliminates the felony criminal charge for a third or subsequent offense for driving on a license that was suspended because of a defendant’s financial hardship.
For more information on SB 302 please visit http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/0302.