URGENT ACTION ALERT: PLEASE CALL, WRITE LETTERS TO AND ARRANGE MEETINGS WITH YOUR LEGISLATORS: Ask them to support the Senate Version of the Bill to Repeal the Driver’s License Suspension Law (Senate 2021)!
Dear Allies of EPOCA and the Jobs Not Jails Coalition,
An important bill that will help people charged with a drug offense obtain jobs passed the Senate last fall and the House on January 6. This bill would end the $500 fine from the RMV, back-door CORI and years of waiting to be able to drive that thousands of people convicted of drug offenses are suffering – even though their offenses had nothing to do with driving nor a vehicle.
However, the bill passed by the House included an amendment that would not apply these changes to those convicted of drug trafficking.
Drug trafficking charges can involve as little as 18 grams or 1.8% of a kilo. This affects people who have purchased drugs only for personal use, not just cartel members or drug king pins. While they constitute 31% of all convicted defendants, people of color represent over 75% of those convicted of “trafficking” offenses.
If people continue to be saddled with these fines, back-door CORIs and waiting times to get driver’s licenses back, they will not be able to find work, obtain most jobs, nor travel to them….this can only lead to recidivism where everybody loses….the individual, their families and the taxpayers.
ACTION IS NEEDED NOW:
Please read this fact sheet and organize calls, letters to and meetings with your state legislators.
For House members, the message is: Please ask Speaker DeLeo and conference committee members Representatives Fernandes, Straus and Hill to go with the Senate passed version of the RMV Sanctions bill for all people convicted of drug offenses. Excluding those charged for trafficking drug offenses will prevent many people from obtaining their driver’s licenses which are necessary for people to get jobs, drive to work and support their families. People will be less likely to recidivate if they are able to get back on their feet and support themselves and their families legally.
For Senate members, the message is: Please ask Senate President Rosenberg and Conference Committee members, Senators McGee, Chandler and Fattman to stand firm on the Senate passed bill that enables all people convicted of drug offenses to regain their driver’s license so they can get jobs, drive to work and support their families.
When people re-build their lives after a drug conviction, they face obstacles such as probation fees, court costs and the stigma of having a CORI. In addition, there is a special penalty just for them.
Under current law, a person convicted of any drug offense loses her or his driving privileges for up to 5 years, and must pay at least $500 to reinstate the license. This applies to any drug offense, even if it has nothing to do with an automobile or driving. This law also generates a “back-door CORI” that can never be sealed, which harms a person’s chances of finding employment and housing, for decades after the offense was committed.
It’s time to change this law. Approximately 7,000 people per year lose their driving privileges due to this law, mostly for offenses that do not involve vehicles in any way.
Download an RMV Collateral Sanctions Fact Sheet Here: http://nationinside.org/images/pdf/FACT_SHEET_III_Collateral_Sanctions_Components_1-5-16.pdf
For more info please contact:
Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement (EPOCA)
4 King Street
Worcester, MA 01610