Recently in Tennessee, a federal district court ruled that the state’s practice of revoking the driver’s license of any person who failed to pay court debt for one year or more does not survive rational basis scrutiny and is unconstitutional.⁵ The court found suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid debt is powerfully counterproductive, crippling already impoverished individuals’ ability to earn a living and care for their families. In Colorado, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is required to suspend licenses when a debt goes unpaid for 30 days. This practice affects about 60,000 people each year. Do you commit to writing an opinion opposing this practice and acknowledging as illegal within your first year in office?
While I would have to study the matter further before reaching a final conclusion, I am skeptical of a policy that cancels driver’s licenses based on non-payment of traffic tickets. I believe such measures disproportionately punish indigent Coloradans, and given how many Coloradans depend on their cars to keep their jobs, meet child-care obligations and perform other necessary tasks, we should be cautious about such a draconian step.