On Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced her administration’s plan to change a District law that automatically revokes or suspends the driver’s licenses of drug offenders.
Since 1992, federal law has required states to have laws to “automatically revoke or suspend the driver’s licenses of residents convicted of a drug offense.”
D.C. adopted the law to avoid losing federal highway funding. However, a majority of U.S. states have opted out of the law without a loss of funding.
The District is now looking to opt out of the law for a variety of reasons: the absence of a driver’s license can leave offenders without a means of transportation to a job, many jobs require their employees to have a driver’s license, and licenses are the means of identification of many people.
“In Washington, D.C., we value and support rehabilitation and promote employment as a critical component of successful reentry,” said Mayor Bowser. “This change will ensure that the DC criminal code is tailored to public safety, not maintaining antiquated and ineffective policies that place unnecessary burdens on District residents.”
To opt out of the federal requirement, the D.C. Council must repeal the law which sets the guidelines on the policy on mandatory suspensions and pass a different mandate, formally stating its opposition to the policy.
Then, Mayor Bowser will affirm that she and the council are opposed to the policy on mandatory suspensions.
Read the mayor’s full press release here.
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