FROM: State Rep. Jake Wheatley Jr., D-Allegheny
TO: Editorial Page Editor
DATE: Oct. 19, 2009
Fairness for 'bread and butter' Pa. driver's licenses
The House Transportation Committee recently held a hearing on my bill that would give more first-time offenders in Pennsylvania a chance to turn their lives around. Current law allows first-time DUI offenders to obtain an occupational limited driver's license, often called a "bread and butter license," giving them the ability to support their families and begin to rebuild their lives. This opportunity does not extend to first-time drug offenders.
My legislation (H.B. 1323), which has bipartisan support, would equalize this situation and provide first-time drug offenders the same opportunity to get to and from work, school and medical treatments.
Under the bill, a first-time drug offender would have to serve 60 days of his or her license suspension to qualify for the limited license, the same as first-time DUI offenders do now.
Citizens who would like to contact their state legislators in support of H.B. 1323 can visit www.legis.state.pa.us and use the "Find Members" function at the top right of the page.
In addition to seeking prompt passage of this bill, I also intend to work on developing a driver's license program that would work with problem-solving courts such as drug treatment courts, mental health courts and DUI treatment courts that help willing offenders get back on track. Such a licensing program would enable many offenders whose cases go to those courts to become employable again and return to being contributing members of society.
State Rep. Jake Wheatley, Jr.
19th Legislative District