Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday proposed a series of criminal justice reforms he hopes to get passed in the new legislative session, including language that would end the state's practice of suspending the drivers' licenses of people who fail to pay court fees.
"That means that that factory worker from Floyd County whose job is 30 miles away in Christiansburg cannot lawfully drive to work and earn money to pay off those fines," McAuliffe said in announcing the reforms. "It makes no sense."
Virginia's General Assembly — which is Republican controlled — convenes next week, which will make it hard for McAuliffe to pass his proposals. But according to McAuliffe's office, nearly 650,000 Virginians have a suspended driver license because they cannot afford to pay their legal fees and court costs.
"The governor's agenda makes commonsense changes to our system that will maintain public safety while ensuring that individuals who make mistakes have every opportunity to turn their lives around," Virginia's Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran said in a statement.