Washington law would end license suspension for unpaid fines

AP News story from Feb. 16, 2021. BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — Lawmakers in Washington state have proposed a measure that would prevent authorities from suspending a driver’s license when a person cannot pay or respond to a traffic ticket. The measure sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Emily Randall would eliminate the practice of suspending licensesContinue reading “Washington law would end license suspension for unpaid fines”

Bill backed by Bremerton state senator looks to end ‘driving while poor’ law

Kitsap Sun article by Austen Macalus Hundreds of thousands of Washington state drivers see their license suspended because they can’t pay a traffic ticket. Critics of the law call it “driving while poor.” State lawmakers are now looking to put an end to the practice with a proposal in the Legislature this session. The measure, SenateContinue reading “Bill backed by Bremerton state senator looks to end ‘driving while poor’ law”

The New Debt Prisons

Opinion piece by Gene B. Sperling from the New York Times. While controversial calls to “defund the police” have grabbed headlines, we urgently need to examine how we fund the police today. The increasing use of excessive fees, fines, and surcharges to fund parts of our criminal justice system is creating punitive debt traps for millions ofContinue reading “The New Debt Prisons”

Attorney Nat Jacob testifies to Senate Law & Justice committee in favor of ending debt-based driver’s license suspensions

On February 5th, 2021, JAC attorney Nat Jacob testified before the Senate Law & Justice committee in Washington State in favor of SB 5226 which would end debt-based driver’s license suspensions for moving violations in Washington state. A driver can receive a moving violation for something as simple as failing to signal while making aContinue reading “Attorney Nat Jacob testifies to Senate Law & Justice committee in favor of ending debt-based driver’s license suspensions”

Health care workers replaced Denver cops in handling hundreds of mental health and substance abuse cases — and officials say it saved lives

Feb. 6, 2021 article from CBS news by Li Cohen. A program that replaces police officers with health care workers on mental health and substance abuse calls in Denver, Colorado, is showing signs of success, according to a six-month progress report. Despite responding to hundreds of calls, the workers made no arrests, the report said —Continue reading “Health care workers replaced Denver cops in handling hundreds of mental health and substance abuse cases — and officials say it saved lives”

How driver’s license suspensions in New Mexico drive people deeper into debt

By Elizabeth Frock, PBS Newshour. In 2010, Fernando Trujillo, a skinny, kind-hearted 18-year-old with a penchant for mischief, got his driver’s license taken away. He was caught smoking pot in the parking lot of a shopping mall and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. The charges came with $150 in fines. Trujillo had justContinue reading “How driver’s license suspensions in New Mexico drive people deeper into debt”

Free to Drive campaign works to end debt-based driver’s license suspensions

Currently, 37 states and  D.C. still suspend, revoke or refuse to renew driver’s licenses for unpaid traffic, toll, misdemeanor and felony fines and fees. The result: millions of people are struggling to survive with debt-related license suspensions.  Learn more at the Free to Drive website. Driver’s license suspensions cost people their livelihoods. 86% of Americans driveContinue reading “Free to Drive campaign works to end debt-based driver’s license suspensions”

Attorney Richard Davies discusses decriminalization of drugs on KPTZ Compass

What with all of the commotion around the Presidential race and the ongoing battle for control of the U.S. Senate, you can’t be blamed if you somehow missed what may turn out to be the most historic ballot measure passed in the 2020 General Election. That would, of course, be Oregon’s Measure 110, which dealtContinue reading “Attorney Richard Davies discusses decriminalization of drugs on KPTZ Compass”

JeffCo public defender says suspended license arrests unfairly target the poor

Originally published in the Port Townsend Leader, by Nick Twietmeyer It’s a law that has been given the nickname “driving while poor” by legal professionals, but at a recent meeting of the Port Townsend City Council’s public safety committee, a local public defender asked for a moratorium on arrests for third-degree driving with a suspendedContinue reading “JeffCo public defender says suspended license arrests unfairly target the poor”

Jefferson Associated Counsel calls for moratorium on filing DWLS3 charges

December 17, 2020 In November, Jefferson Associated Counsel sent letters to Sheriff Joe Nole and Prosecutor James Kennedy, asking that they work together to enact a moratorium on filing DWLS3 charges. DWLS3 stands for “Driving While License Suspended in the 3rd Degree.” The offense is committed when your driver’s license is suspended for failing toContinue reading “Jefferson Associated Counsel calls for moratorium on filing DWLS3 charges”