Legislation to end Virginia’s practice of suspending driver’s licenses because of unpaid court fines and costs cruised through the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 1013, proposed by Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, passed the committee on a 15-1 vote. Sen. Bill Carrico, R-Grayson, a former state trooper, cast the lone vote against the bill, which the committee amended to link enactment to the availability of funds to cover the costs of the measure to the state budget.
Gov. Ralph Northam included $8.9 million in his proposed budget revisions to replace funding for trauma centers that had received money from the fees the Department of Motor Vehicles charges for reinstating suspended drivers’ licenses.
In addition to ending the state’s practice of automatically suspending the driver’s licenses of Virginians who haven’t paid all court fines and fees, the bill would require the DMV to reinstate driver’s licenses that had been suspended solely for that reason before July 1, 2019, the expected date of enactment.