Kansas Action for Children
February 18, 2020
Kansas working families face many barriers making ends meet. Whether it’s finding a way to pay rent, secure child care, or find stable employment, too many families encounter harmful stressors that affect the family unit. Driver’s license suspensions due to unpaid fees and fines can hurt working families and negatively affect both parents and children.
House Bill 2434 would revoke authority to suspend driving privileges for the nonpayment of fines from traffic citations. Kansas Action for Children supports the bill as a way to prioritize our investments in children and families, particularly among those with low incomes.
When parents are without a driver’s license, children suffer. When parents cannot get to their job to maintain employment and pay for shelter, children pay the price. When parents don’t have transportation, they can’t get their children to school, child care, or doctors’ appointments, or buy nutritious food at the grocery store.
The consequences extend beyond parents and their ability to drive. Current policy increases hardship for families that already are struggling financially, given that they are unable to pay off these fees and fines. Current policy disproportionately harms low-income people and their families and creates a vicious cycle in which fees and fines accumulate for those who are not in the position to pay. Suspensions reduce public safety and take up valuable time from police and courts, with little revenue generated to make up these costs.
Policy like this will help increase employment and ensure economic stability for many families. Entire families, not just the individuals who have a driver’s license revoked, are affected by lost jobs and decreased mobility. This bill can help families get back to work and take care of their families.