Driver’s Licenses Reinstated for Thousands

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 3, 2019

LEGAL AID JUSTICE CENTER
Contact: Amy Woolard, 434-529-1846, amy@justice4all.org

BUDGET AMENDMENT REINSTATING DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR THOUSANDS OF VIRGINIANS PASSES

Today the General Assembly rose to a tremendous occasion and passed a budget amendment that brings fairness and justice to the lives of hundreds of thousands of Virginians whose driver’s licenses will now be reinstated from suspensions levied for unpaid court fines and fees.  This amendment will also help countless others by preventing future court debt-related suspensions for the remaining duration of the state budget.  All Virginians must have a fair opportunity to fulfill their obligations without losing their jobs, their ability to care for their families, and their dignity.

We are so grateful to Sen. Bill Stanley, the members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, Governor Northam and his administration, and all the policymakers who shepherded this effort to success.  We are also thankful for our many partners in advocacy who fought with us for this common-sense reform.

Without question, we celebrate an important victory today along with many of our clients in the Stinnie v Holcomb litigation, but we also hold the understanding that our efforts are not complete.  The passage of this amendment does not moot the Stinnie case, nor does it end our legislative advocacy: the action taken in this amendment lives only as long as the current budget cycle, “freezing” court debt-related driver’s license suspensions until the existing statute can be fully repealed.  For today, however, we are only filled with gratitude for this positive step, and will wait another day to assess what work is left to be done.