Illinois Stops Suspending Driving Licenses for Unpaid Parking Tickets
Governor Pritzker Signs Community-Led Bill, 55,000 to See Relief
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 17, 2020
PRESS CONTACTS: Jenna Severson (o) 312-368-0310 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CHICAGO, IL – Today Governor Pritzker signed the License to Work Act (SB 1786) into law. Starting July 1, 2020, the State will end the practice of allowing municipal governments to suspend drivers’ licenses to collect debt from non-driving vehicle tickets and compliance violations. Among other negative effects, driver’s license suspension made many drivers less likely to pay their tickets because it disrupted their ability to work and earn an income. The State will reinstate licenses for over 55,000 Illinoisans in suspension.
“Illinoisans struggling to make ends meet no longer need to worry that parking tickets could cost their right to drive and earn a living. Signing the License to Work Act into law is an important step in dismantling a backwards, unjust system of regressive and racially disproportionate fines and fees,” said Brent Adams, Senior Vice President of Policy and Communication at Woodstock Institute.
Woodstock Institute released a report in 2018, The Debt Spiral-How Chicago’s Vehicle Ticketing Practices Unfairly Burden Low-Income and Minority Communities, which found that racial and economic disparities in ticket issuance made it 40 percent more likely for drivers in non-White and low-income neighborhoods to receive a ticket than drivers from wealthier, Whiter parts of the city. Among the report’s policy recommendations was to pass the License to Work Act.
Community advocates from the Transit Table coalition now enjoy a long-awaited celebration of the new law, after fighting for over three years to pass the bill championed by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) and State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Champaign).