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Bill would halt driver’s license suspensions

There would be no suspensions for failure to pay fines and court costs, not appearing for hearings, certain drug offenses, and some child support cases.
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 7:49 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -A Dothan lawmaker is among those wanting to limit the state’s ability to suspend drivers’ licenses.

“People do not realize how important transportation is,” Rep. Paul Lee told WTVY.

A pending bill would prohibit suspensions for failure to pay fines and court costs, not appearing for hearings, certain drug offenses, and some child support cases.

More serious crimes such as DUI are not included.

The Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice also supports the measure.

“Once you lose your license you lose your job, you can’t open a bank account and you can’t get an apartment,” said Appleseed Research Director Leah Nelson.

She claims studies show that revoking driver privileges cost the economy millions, force those with low incomes to seek high interest loans and persuade some to resort to crime to pay fines and fees.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency charges a $100 reinstatement fee and all fines must be paid before reinstatement is approved.

“It is always the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) priority and goal to provide quality services to the licensed drivers within the state of Alabama as we simultaneously work with state legislators to develop laws that are both effective and efficient yet regulate and address poor driving behavior, “ALEA spokesperson Robyn Bryan said in an email.

The agency promises to provide information next week regarding the number of suspensions.

Lee and Nelson do not object to ALEA receiving alternative revenue not involving license suspension.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile), isin committee.

Nelson believes it will pass the House if it reaches the floor.

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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