Traffic amnesty program

The Senate Committee on Tax & Fiscal Policy heard HB 1141, sponsored by Sen. Bohacek and Sen. Taylor. The bill passed by the House established a traffic amnesty program for 18 months during the latter half of FY 2020 and all of FY 2021. A person with an outstanding license suspension could file a petition, which would not be an admission of guilt or liability, in court to pay a reduced license reinstatement fee as well as a reduced infraction judgment. The program applied to offenses committed before January 2017. Amnesty filings would not be subject to a court filing fee, but if amnesty was granted and the court established an installment payment plan, the person would be required to pay a $50 installment fee. Revenues from the installment fees would be placed in the county general fund in which the case was filed. The court must transmit a copy of its order to the BMV.

Committee Chairman Travis Holdman offered Amendment #2 that removed the language in the bill that passed the House and replaced it with the following provisions: 1) the BMV will administer an amnesty program to reduce driving license reinstatement fees for a license suspended before January 1, 2019; 2) a petition for reinstatement must be filed after September 30, 2019 and before October 1, 2020; 3) the bureau must determine that the individual has proof of future financial responsibility; and, 4) the amount of the reinstatement fee will be reduced by 50%. This amendment passed by a vote of 9-4.

The bill’s author, Representative Shackleford, explained why the bill was necessary and why the original version was preferred. Testifying in favor of the bill were: Indiana Institute for Working Families; Marion County Prosecutor; Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council; Indiana Minority Health Coalition; and Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. All preferred the original version of the bill that passed the House but were in favor of any positive step forward.  The Marion County Prosecutor reported that in Marion County alone there are 102,086 individuals with suspended driving licenses, and 8,372 pending cases. The amended bill passed 11-0.

Read the bill at:  http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/bills/house/1141