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Minutes for HB2211 - Committee on Judiciary

Short Title

Allowing judges to waive or reduce driver's license reinstatement fees.

Minutes Content for Wed, Feb 13, 2019

Natalie Scott, Assistant Revisor, provided an overview of HB2211 and answered questions from the membership. (Attachment 3)

Amanda Stanley testified in support of HB2211 stating in 2017, the Kansas Supreme Court established the Ad Hoc Committee on Bonding Practices, Fines, and Fee in Municipal Courts.  This committee was made up of municipal court judges from across the state from communicates of all sizes.  Also serving on the committee, Representative Brad Ralph to represent the city attorney’s perspective and Ms. Stanley representing the League of Municipalities.  Our committee believes making the driver’s license reinstatement process more affordable will help indigent persons get back legally driving on the road. This is often necessary for maintaining gainful employment and meeting daily needs.  It may also serve to encourage payment of fines if the court can offer a reduction or waiver of the reinstatement fee once those fines are paid. Ms. Stanley answered questions from the membership.(Attachment 4)

Ted Smith testified in support of HB2211 stating the Kansas Department of Revenue supports HB2211, and believes the amendment achieves a reasonable middle ground between ensuring that all drivers follow the rule of law and permitting otherwise safe drivers to be reinstated to full license status by waiving some, but not all, of the costs for reinstatement if there are economic limitations on the driver. (Attachment 5)

Sarah Hoskinson testified in support of HB2211 stating the Ad Hoc Committee on Bonding Practices, Fines, and Fees in Municipal Courts was charged with reviewing pretrial bonding practices in Kansas municipal courts, as well as the fines and fees levied against defendants. This included an examination of methods used by courts in other jurisdictions to reduce the likelihood that serious adverse consequences are imposed solely for non-payment of fees and fines. The committee was directed to develop a "best practices" model for Kansas municipal courts. They anticipate this step toward making the driver's license reinstatement process more affordable and may help indigent persons get back on the road, legally, a necessity in many parts of the state for maintaining gainful employment and meeting daily needs. It may also serve to encourage payment of fines if the court can offer a reduction or waiver of the reinstatement fee once those fines are paid. (Attachment 6)

Honorable Brenda Stoss testified in support of HB2211 stated she agreed with the previous testimony and added a municipal judge currently has discretion to take an individual’s circumstances into consideration regarding the fines and court costs assessed.  Extending this discretion to allow the judge to give the same consideration to reinstatement fees further assures that an individual is not dis-proportionally impacted due to their economic circumstances. (Attachment 7)

The proponents stood for questions from the membership.

Honorable Merlin Wheeler, Chief Judge of the First Judicial District, Kansas District Judges Association provided the attached written testimony. (Attachment 8)

Chairperson Patton closed the hearing on HB2211.