SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, is standing up to the unfair practice of suspending motorists’ driver’s licenses for parking tickets and other minor infractions by backing legislation that will ensure people are able to drive to work.
“The practice of suspending licenses over unpaid tickets and fees has created a debt cycle that most drivers cannot break free from, perpetuating unemployment and harming families,” said LaPointe. “Middle-class and struggling families disproportionately impacted by license suspensions, and Illinois needs a better approach to enforcing traffic safety.”
LaPointe is backing Senate Bill 1786, the License to Work Act, which would eliminate existing law that suspends driver’s licenses for unpaid parking tickets. This policy has resulted in job loss for many because they cannot drive to work following the suspension of their license. The LaPointe-backed bill would change the law to punish bad driving on streets and highways instead of an inability to pay for expensive fees and unpaid tickets.
States across the nation have repealed similar laws they once had in an effort to stop unemployment from rising, but Illinois remains one of a few states with a license-suspension law in place.
“The negative economic impact of suspending licenses hurts too many people and Illinois’ economy in the long-run. More than 50,000 licenses are suspended because some people cannot afford to pay these fines and unrelated to bad driving habits,” LaPointe said. “Suspending licenses needs to be fairer and only apply to unsafe driving instead of targeting people for unpaid tickets and fees.”
LaPointe represents the 19th District, which covers portions of Chicago’s Big Oaks, Dunning, Gladstone Park, Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Union Ridge and West Portage Park neighborhoods, and River Grove, Elmwood Park, Norridge and Harwood Heights.