Changing driver's license rules could risk federal money

MGN Online

Transportation officials said Tuesday that Mississippi could lose millions of federal dollars because of a bill affecting the suspension of driver's licenses.

Posted: Mar 6, 2019 10:07 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Transportation officials said Tuesday that Mississippi could lose millions of federal dollars because of a bill affecting the suspension of driver's licenses.

Senators said they will try to address those concerns and avoid the problem. House Bill 1352 seeks to ease some penalties for people accused or convicted of nonviolent crimes, and to create a smoother process for wiping some crimes from a person's record.

The bill would prohibit the state from revoking a driver's license simply because a person fails to pay fines. The state also would no longer suspend a driver's license for a drug charge that is not related to operating a vehicle.

Mississippi Department of Transportation director Melinda McGrath and department attorney Judy Martin appeared Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary A Committee. Martin said the federal government has a mandatory six-month driver's license suspension for drug offenses. She said she thinks the bill could put the state out of compliance, risking the loss of $36.5 million a year in federal transportation money.

Martin also said a portion of the bill dealing with commercial driver's licenses could put Mississippi at risk of losing $14 million the first year and $28 million a year after that.

Republican Sen. David Parker of Olive Branch tried unsuccessfully to kill the bill during the committee meeting. He said he has "extreme concerns" that it would allow people to end a driver's license suspension too soon after being charged with drunken driving. He spoke of some girls in north Mississippi who were killed years ago by a man with multiple drunken driving charges.

Democratic Sen. Juan Barnett of Heidelberg said the bill attempts to help people who need "a second chance at life" after being convicted of nonviolent crimes. The bill moves to the full Senate for more debate, and is likely to then head into a final round of negotiations between the House and Senate.

"We are smart enough and we are more than capable to make good legislation out of this," Barnett said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844951

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161002006
Mobile741871379
Madison53279732
Shelby38325368
Baldwin38068589
Tuscaloosa36009641
Montgomery34482781
Lee25550263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22451406
Etowah20013517
Marshall18777316
Houston17727425
St. Clair16875358
Limestone16135218
Cullman16044303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14968306
Talladega14189299
DeKalb12967269
Walker12020380
Blount10714192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10157194
Coffee9414192
Colbert9334208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7254201
Russell707765
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6932195
Franklin6340108
Chambers5783142
Marion5401130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318189
Cherokee317563
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254460
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184947
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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