Massachusetts is one step closer to ending license suspensions for drug offenses

by Bernadette Rabuy, January 15, 2016

Last week, the Massachusetts House unanimously approved H. 3039, which would repeal the state’s practice of automatically suspending driver’s licenses for drug offenses unrelated to driving.

report thumbnailLast year, our report, Suspending Common Sense in Massachusetts: Driver’s license suspensions for drug offenses unrelated to driving, found that the state automatically suspends the driver’s licenses of thousands of residents each year for drug convictions unrelated to driving. These suspensions make roads more dangerous, waste taxpayer and law enforcement resources, and prevent people with previous involvement in the criminal justice system from fulfilling responsibilities that require driving.

The Senate unanimously approved a stronger version of the bill last year. Next, legislators will likely negotiate a compromise, and then it will land on Governor Baker’s desk. The bill has broad support from Attorney General Maura Healey, the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, sheriffs, and editorial boards all over the state. Stay tuned for next steps and for a Prison Policy Initiative report on the other states that have yet to reverse this ineffective relic from the War on Drugs.

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