Sen. Omar AquinoSPRINGFIELD – Drivers would no longer lose their licenses over unpaid tickets and other non-moving violations under a bill introduced by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) that was unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation Committee today.

“For years the City of Chicago has preyed on low-income black and Hispanic communities by coercing them with the threat of having their license suspended,” said Aquino. “In 2016, the city made $264 million by taking what little money that our low-income residents have. I cannot stand by while my city balances its budget on the backs of black and brown communities.”

According to data analysis done by ProPublica Illinois, 44 percent of license suspensions issued were to residents in black communities and 54 percent of license suspensions issued were to residents in low-income communities.

Senate Bill 1786 would remove the Secretary of State’s authority to suspend or revoke licenses for failure to pay certain fees including parking tickets and non-moving violations.

“Without reliable public transportation, you can’t realistically expect someone who has accrued fees to pay them if you take away their ability to drive,” said Aquino. “That just threatens the livelihood of those who live in rural areas without public transportation. The current practice is just another way to punish people for being poor.”

Senate Bill 1786 is scheduled for consideration before the full Senate.