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Messmer: Bill reinstating certain suspended driver's licenses passes Senate committee 3.17.2021

A bill sponsored by State Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) that would permit the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to reinstate certain suspended licenses unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law this week.

House Bill 1199 addresses driver's license reinstatements for qualified individuals whose licenses have been revoked for financial reasons such as a failure to appear or pay, failure to maintain insurance or failure to pay child support. The bill would provide a pathway for those who are struggling financially and have a suspended license, allowing their driver's license to be reinstated if they provide proof of future financial responsibility and agree to a payment plan.

"Driving on a suspended license is the No. 1 most common misdemeanor in the state of Indiana, and 80% of those suspensions relate to failure to appear, failure to pay or failure to maintain insurance," Messmer said. "HB 1199 would provide an opportunity for those who qualify to have a second chance to legally get back on the road and return to work so that they can pay back their licensure fees."

HB 1199 differentiates between crimes of poverty and crimes of contempt, and would not change the regulations to reinstate licenses for criminal suspensions, or for driving recklessly or under the influence.

HB 1199 will now move to the full Indiana Senate for consideration.