For Immediate Release
October 13, 2020
Committee also passes important bills to reduce mandatory jail sentencing for certain offenses, improve treatment of pregnant women while incarcerated
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Michigan Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee’s passage today of House Bills 5846–5852 to limit driver’s license suspensions for offenses not related to dangerous driving. The League submitted written testimony and a fact sheet in support of these bills. The League is also supportive of and available for comment on the other good criminal justice reforms that moved out of committee today: House Bills 5844 and 5854–5857 to eliminate mandatory jail sentences for a variety of offenses and Senate Bills 830, 831 and 1152. The statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy External Affairs Director Alex Rossman.
“By strictly penalizing drivers for reasons unrelated to safe driving or stemming from unpaid traffic tickets, Michigan law shuts out Michiganders from financial stability and security, criminalizing poverty instead. Michigan drivers’ experiences—and punishments—are also dramatically different by race. Bias in traffic stops contributes to Black drivers being more likely than White drivers to be ticketed and to serve jail time for driving without a valid license. Driver’s license suspension reform will not address the racial disparities we see in Michigan’s traffic stops, but it will allow hundreds of thousands of drivers to stay on the roads and continue to work by halting a cycle that stems from unpaid tickets and the debt that can quickly accrue.”
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.