THE GOVERNOR SIGNS A NEW LAW
We won repeal of the automatic driver’s license suspension levied against any person convicted of drug possession in Massachusetts, and repeal of the minimum $500 fine to get the license back. Many legislators stepped up on this.
EPOCA and allies of the Jobs not Jails Coalition won a 4 year organizing fight; this bill repeals a 27-year old relic from the War on Drugs that has backfired by making it harder for ex-prisoners to work. The suspension lasted up to five years, and even longer as people could not afford the outrageous fees. This has led to unnecessary hardship, and inevitably contributed to recidivism. The law was unfair as these were non-driving offenses, some people affected never had a driver’s license, but their right to obtain one was suspended under this law. At the signing lead sponsor Senator Harriet Chandler recognized the efforts of EPOCA and the Worcester Chapter of Neighbor 2 Neighbor. Lead sponsor in the House Liz Malia mentioned that 80% of people in Massachusetts drive to work, she called the old law a “setback”. This was a collective effort with the whole Jobs not Jails Coalition, allies all across the state to believe that together we could win.