Stop Punishing Poverty

Suspending a driver’s license for unpaid traffic fines and missed traffic hearings punishes people for their poverty and forces an impossible choice: stop driving and lose access to work, food, childcare and other basic necessities, or keep driving and risk criminal charges, more fines and fees, and even jail time.

At a time when jobs are scarce, New York should not be making the situation worse.

We need your help on this important issue.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Gov. Cuomo to sign the Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act.

Message Recipients: Governor Andrew Cuomo

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Your Message

Every year, New York issues hundreds of thousands of driver’s license suspensions for unpaid traffic fines or answered traffic tickets. These suspensions force New Yorkers to make an impossible choice: stop driving and lose access to work, food, and other basic necessities, or keep driving and risk a criminal charge, more fines and fees, and even jail time.

These suspensions disproportionately impact Black and Latinx New Yorkers in over-policed communities, the same communities most impacted by COVID-19.

I am writing to demand that you sign the Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act (S.5348-b/A.7463-b), which would end the cruel and counterproductive practice of suspending drivers’ licenses for non-payment of traffic fines and non-appearance at traffic hearings.

At a time when jobs are scarce, New York must support its residents rather than create obstacles to employment. Suspensions for unpaid traffic fines and missed traffic hearings trap people in a cycle of debt and punishment. Meanwhile, jurisdictions that have ended this practice have seen benefits to the workforce and businesses, as well as increases in revenue collection.

Sometimes all it takes to go from having a job, paying the bills, and supporting your family to falling behind, having your license suspended, and losing your job is a hundred dollar fine.

We should never penalize people for being poor, but especially now when millions of New Yorkers are struggling just to survive, it is inexcusable for our state to continue this cruel and counterproductive practice.

This legislation is uncontroversial, fights inequality, and promotes fairness to New Yorkers in our most marginalized communities. It deserves your support.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

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