To make it easier for struggling Illinoisans to pay off driving fines and fees, State Representative Brad Stephens (R-Rosemont) has co-sponsored the License to Work Act. The bill addresses the disproportionate response by the Illinois Secretary of State in automatically suspending licenses or revoking vehicle registrations for unpaid minor, non-moving vehicle violations.
“Driving is a privilege and safety on the road is of the utmost importance, but licenses are more often than not suspended for reasons unrelated to reckless driving,” Rep. Stephens said. “People rely on their ability to drive to get to work and take care of their families.”
According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, over 50,000 licenses are suspended each year in Illinois because drivers can’t pay tickets, fines, or fees. This severely hampers a person’s ability to engage in gainful employment and eventually pay back those fines.
Senate Bill 1786, known as the License to Work Act, would eliminate Illinois’s license suspension penalties for most non-driving offenses, such as failing to pay parking, compliance, or tollway tickets, fines, or fees. It also allows an individual whose license was suspended under any of these provisions to have their license reinstated.
“If someone is down on their luck, we shouldn’t make it harder for them to get back on their feet,” Rep. Stephens said. “This is a commonsense proposal, which is why it has so many sponsors on both sides of the aisle.”
SB 1786 passed the Senate 38-10 and is currently being held in the House while negotiations continue with organizations and groups opposed to the legislation. It is expected to be brought for a vote during the fall veto session.