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Hello Senator [Last Name]

[Introduce yourself and where  you live.] I strongly support Senate Bill 37 to restore the right to work for thousands of Ohioans.

Although I appreciate the work that has been done to this point, I’d like to see further improvements made on two key issues: those receiving a suspension for child support should be required to receive limited driving privileges to work; and failure to appear suspensions should be eliminated and replaced with vehicle registration or license renewal blocks as an alternative.

Ohio employers are 25 percent more likely to require a driver’s license than the national average (14 percent in Ohio vs. 10.6 percent in the US in 2022), according to Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland research. Requiring a license has become more common in recent years, with Ohio outpacing the national average (74 percent growth from 2015 to 2022 in Ohio vs 63.4 percent growth in the US during the same time frame). Ohio workers also rely on their driver’s license to get to and from work, according to the Census Bureau, with 82 percent of Ohioans driving alone.

However, more than 1.7 million Ohio drivers have had their licenses suspended due to unpaid debt. That represents more than 60 percent of all driver’s license suspensions.

Reasons for these debt-related license suspensions, or DRS, include failing to pay court fines, not having proof of insurance, or missing child support payments. People with a DRS are not legally allowed to drive anywhere – including work – and could face barriers to getting to work to earn money to pay off their debt. They also cannot get a new job that requires a license. Research has shown that 61 percent of people with these suspensions experienced at least one essential hardship as a result, including housing, food, and employment.

Eliminating driver’s license suspensions for anything not directly related to dangerous driving would restore the right to work for thousands of Ohio residents, allowing them to positively contribute to the economy while paying down their underlying debt.

I support Senate Bill 37 and urge the Ohio General Assembly to pass this legislation as soon as possible.

 

Sincerely,

[Your Name