House Bill 96 — Family law temp restricted license

House Bill 96 — Family law temp restricted license

by
Parrish Miller
February 7, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 96 allows for the limited issuance of temporary restricted driver's licenses to individuals whose licenses have been suspended for being behind on child support payments. 

Rating: +1

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

House Bill 96 addresses a problem that is entirely a creation of government and attempts to ameliorate some of the predictable harms caused by this policy. Even without addressing the questionable practice of conditioning human action of any sort on government licensure, the practice of suspending driver's licenses as a method of extracting child support payments is illogical. Having a debt does not make a person an unsafe driver. Moreover, denying someone with an unpaid debt the right to drive only serves to limit his ability to earn the income necessary to pay the debt.

House Bill 96 tacitly acknowledges the failure of using the licensing requirement as a tool to enforce child support obligations. It does this by creating Section 7-1410A, Idaho Code, to allow someone whose license has been suspended for insufficient child support payments to "petition the court for an order stating that a licensing authority issue a temporary restricted driver's license if such person shows good cause as to why such a license should be issued."

The bill requires the licensee to "demonstrate good cause by showing that a temporary restricted driver's license is necessary for the licensee's employment purposes in order to meet child support obligations."

The restricted license will be required to "specify the restrictions as to certain times, days, and areas of use and any further restrictions as the court, in its discretion, may impose."

The "temporary restricted license shall be revoked if a licensee holding such license is found to be in violation of the restrictions imposed upon such temporary restricted license."

This bill represents a small and incremental improvement over the status quo and thus merits a positive rating. But this rating comes with the caveat that the problem would be far better addressed by repealing the law that allows the state to suspend someone’s driver’s license due to certain unpaid debts. The best way to fix this policy is not to change it, but to end it. 

(+1)

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