Pennsylvania State Rep Rick Saccone drafted legislation that would eliminate license suspensions for non-driving offenses. This legislation was passed in the State House Monday, April 16th with an overwhelming majority of support.
Rep. Saccone’s message to the legislators voting on this bill.
Currently, when an individual is convicted of a crime related to the possession, sale, delivery, offering for sale, holding for sale or giving away of any controlled substance, there are license suspensions that are part of the conviction. As a result, we have seen an alarming number of individuals who are at a disadvantage after paying their debt to society by not being able to drive and re-enter the work force.
Although it is currently prohibited for a state to not have a license suspension associated with these crimes, a state can pass a resolution notifying the Federal Government of its intention to do away with this overly harsh penalty. If an when such a resolution is passed, it is my hope this legislation will be the final step in allowing individuals who have paid their debt to society to fully make amends for their decisions, and become a productive member of the public.
Thank you for your consideration, and please join me in sponsoring this important piece of legislation.
The announcement of the vote on Monday.
HARRISBURG – Legislation authored by Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny/Washington), which would remove the driver’s license suspension for non-driving related drug convictions and six other crimes, passed the House and will now head to the Senate for a vote.
“In almost every case involving a license suspension for non-driving offences, the inability for an offender to drive takes away their livelihood; the ability to provide for their families; their ability to be a productive, contributing member of society; and often leaves them no choice but to seek assistance through the welfare program,” said Saccone. “My bill would encourage Pennsylvanians to get to work, where they want to be, and allows them an opportunity to get off public assistance, which is costing the taxpayer a tremendous amount.”
House Bill 163 would not remove the mandatory license suspensions for crimes that occur while an individual is operating a vehicle, such as driving while under the influence of a controlled substance. This bill would remove the state-imposed driver’s license suspension for the following crimes:
- Non-driving-related state or federal drug convictions.
- Underage purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor, malt or brewed beverages in a licensed facility.
- Purchase of tobacco by a minor.
- Misrepresentation of age to secure liquor, malt or brewed beverages by any person under 21 years of age.
- Underage purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor, malt or brewed beverages.
- Carrying a false identification card.
- Failure to pay child support.
“I do agree with the fines and structure associated with these crimes, but I don’t believe the added penalty of a license suspension is warranted, nor does it do anything to curb behavior,” said Saccone. “The individual convicted of any non-driving offense would be better served by doing some community service and earning money to pay off fines and restitution.”
Although it is currently prohibited for a state to not have a license suspension associated with these crimes, a state can pass a resolution notifying the federal government of its intention to do away with this overly harsh penalty.
The Commonwealth does allow individuals with a suspended license to obtain an Occupational Limited License (OLL); however, Saccone doesn’t believe this program goes far enough to help them trying to better their lives.
“The problem is that few people are eligible to receive such a license,” said Saccone. “For example, a person with a suspension for a drug charge, like possession with intent to deliver a drug or possession of marijuana, is not eligible to receive an OLL.”
Back in October, Saccone held a press conference with the Pittsburgh Foundation, an organization focused on criminal justice reform, as well as residents of the Commonwealth who have been negatively impacted by this suspension, to urge the state move House Bill 163. To watch the full press conference, click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWnEEjkyfZw&t=123s.
For more information on this legislation, visit www.RepSaccone.com or www.Facebook.com/RepSaccone.
I strongly believe this issue needed to be addressed. Too often do these violations – unrelated to driving – cause a person to fall into the Suspension Snowball and end up in a worse situation even through struggling to recover from their past mistakes. The added burden of a license suspension does not accomplish our goals of ensuring safe motor vehicle operation. I do hope this law is made retroactive to remove anyone suffering through the Suspension Snowball and allow them the chance to recover and rebuild their lives.