Hundreds of Louisa County residents who had their driver’s licenses suspended for failure to pay court fees and costs will have a chance to get behind the wheel again.
A budget amendment passed by the Virginia General Assembly on April 3 eliminates license suspension for more than 600,000 citizens, including 518 in Louisa, even if they have not paid money they owe the courts. Amendment supporters said losing the ability to have a vehicle for work or other essential travel is too high a cost.
The amendment passed 70-29 in the House of Delegates and 30-8 in the Senate. Sen. Bryce Reeves and Del. John McGuire, who represent Louisa, voted against the amendment, while Sen. Mark Peake (eastern Louisa) did not vote.
Reeves said in a statement that he supported ending driver’s license suspension as a punishment for failure to pay court fees, but was concerned about the amendment’s budget implications. Reeves and Peake both voted during the regular General Assembly session in January in favor of a bill to restore residents’ licenses.
McGuire did not vote on the original bill, since it stalled in a House committee after passing the Senate.
“I believe that Virginia should not be revoking people’s licenses because of their inability to pay fines,” Reeves said. “This practice creates a cycle of poverty in which many Virginians lose their license, and in result lose their employment because they don’t have a means of getting to their workplace.”
(Article by David Holtzman)
This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s April 11, 2019 issue.
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