The article “No Cuts for Courts Planned in California’s $179B Budget” includes comments of the Office of the Governor that driver’s license suspensions are a punitive revenue collection tool that is ineffective. The governor’s proposed budget states in part: “there does not appear to be a strong connection between suspending someone’s driver’s license and collecting their fine or penalty. Often, the primary consequence of a driver’s license suspension is the inability to legally drive to work or take one’s children to school. Therefore, the budget proposes to eliminate the statutory provisions related to suspending driver’s licenses for failure to pay fines and penalties.”
We wholeheartedly agree. The governor’s proposal aligns with the conclusions of the Back on the Road California Coalition (BOTRC), a statewide group comprised of advocates and organizations advocating for alternatives to license suspensions as a debt collection tool because those suspensions are counter-productive and disproportionately impact low-income communities of color. Unfortunately, the governor’s proposal was met with resistance from the Judicial Council. For the reasons described below, we believe that this resistance is unwarranted.
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