Hertzberg Praises Budget Plan to Stop DL Suspensions for Failure to Pay Fines
Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal follows legislation Hertzberg authored that prompted a re-examination of driver’s license suspensions
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, issued the following statement today on Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2017-18 state budget, which calls for eliminating statutory provisions related to suspending driver’s licenses for people who fail to pay fines or fees:
“I am excited Gov. Brown recognizes the importance of driver’s licenses to Californians struggling to make ends meet and how unfair it is to suspend licenses for people who can’t afford to pay court fees or fines. We know that suspending driver’s licenses often sends people’s lives into downward spirals that include losing their jobs, racking up more debt and sometimes even spending time in jail. That is not right, and it is not fair.
“I thank the Governor, Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, the Western Center on Law and Poverty and other stakeholders who have worked hard with me to advance this issue since I introduced SB 881 last year to tackle this problem.”
Hertzberg has fought to restore justice to California’s criminal justice system and roll back unfair and overly harsh penalties that hammer those of modest means.
In December, Bob Hertzberg introduced SB 10, The California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017, which aims to replace a pretrial process that often forces people with limited income to remain in jail until a court can determine their innocence or guilt but allows the wealthy to go free.
Like a driver’s license suspension, a few days in jail can cost many people their jobs and turn their lives upside down before a court has determined whether they are innocent or guilty of charges filed against them.
In 2015, Hertzberg authored SB 405, which, along with Gov. Jerry Brown’s related budget proposal, established a new traffic amnesty program for traffic offenses prior to 2013. The program allows people to talk to a judge if they want to before paying fines, restores driver’s licenses to those with a payment plan and reduces exorbitant fee debts by taking a person’s income into account in setting the fine amount.
In the first nine months of that program, more than 175,000 Californians have received amnesty fine and fee reductions and more than 153,000 Californians have had their suspended driver’s licenses reinstated, according to the California Judicial Council.
Hertzberg went on in 2016 to author SB 881, which requires courts to respond to traffic amnesty claims within 90 days of the claims being filed, and SB 882, which prohibits youths from being charged with a criminal violation for transit fare evasion and instead treats the offense through an administrative process.
Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map at http://sd18.senate.ca.gov/district. After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/hertzberg.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew LaMar
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814