Kansas

Broad coalition urges Kansas lawmakers to change driver’s license revocation law – The Lawrence Times

 

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The Senate bill creates a pathway to secure a limited license by paying the fines

TOPEKA— Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau says the state law that revokes driving privileges for failure to pay a citation should be changed to give motorists the opportunity to apply for a limited license so they can get to work and earn money to pay any fines.

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Faust-Goudeau, a Democrat from Wichita who has led efforts in the Kansas legislature on previous traffic law changes, told Senate colleagues on Tuesday that the idea was to clear a path for about 3,300 Kansans to obtain a traffic license. limited use. With that in hand, he said, those people could earn income that could go towards paying fines, getting insurance and caring for their families.

The state operates a program that allows more than 180,000 Kansas residents with suspended licenses to get back on the road with approval from the Kansas Division of Motor Vehicles. Kansasers with a revoked license tied to non-payment of fines or taxes do not qualify for the existing state program.

“It will simply allow them to participate under current law within the restricted driver’s license program,” said Faust-Goudeau. “Senate Bill 2 will definitely help those Kansans who want to go to work, want to be law-abiding citizens. It will help them drive legally, pay in court and have insurance.”

The bill carving out the reprieve would not be available to people with DUI or other serious driving infractions. Nor could Senate Bill 2 be used by individuals convicted of driving with a canceled, suspended, or revoked license more than three times. A person granted this limited license by the state Division of Motor Vehicles would lose it if found guilty of another violation related to license suspension, revocation or cancellation.

Sen. Mike Peterson, a Wichita Republican and chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said he expects the committee to work towards passing a bill to address the issue.

“This is an important bill. Obviously we want to have more insured drivers on Kansas roads. Having more drivers insured makes us all safer and is good public policy for Kansas,” said Senator Ethan Corson, D-Prairie Village.

A diverging coalition passed the legislation, including the NAACP, Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas House and a representative from three Kansas law enforcement associations.

Jonathan Lueth, deputy state director of the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, said a 2017 Wisconsin study indicated that a valid driver’s license was often a better indicator of sustained employment than a high school diploma or GED credential. The same study, he said, revealed that people with driver’s licenses were twice as likely to have income above the poverty level.

“We want to make sure we give people the opportunity to break out of what can sometimes become a vicious cycle of non-payment, incurring additional penalties, failing to repay those penalties and then it snows from there,” Lueth said.

Marilyn Harp, former executive director of Kansas legal services, said the non-profit National Safety Council said suspending or revoking licenses for non-moving violations, including failure to pay a fine, was not at best. interest of public safety.

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“Their policy, at this point, is that driver’s license suspensions should be limited to road and traffic safety behavior,” Harp said.

He said the lawmaker has previously allowed motorists charged with drunk driving by statute to allow such individuals to get back on the road through the installation of an ignition interlock. However, the state statute does not address individuals who have had their license revoked for failure to pay a fine.

Glenda Overstreet, representative of the Kansas chapter of the NAACP, said state legislators had an opportunity to “give people a reasonable opportunity to care for their families, to be able to secure and ensure that they are able to keep a job and therefore also be able to go to school and be productive citizens”.

Kansas Reflector is part of the States Newsroom, a network of grant-supported news outlets and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact editor Sherman Smith with questions: [email protected] Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Chirping.

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