Driver Responsibility Program DRP Update: quotes and pictures from the legislative committee meeting April 14th

DRP Update: quotes and pictures from the legislative committee meeting April 14th

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DRP Update: quotes and pictures from the legislative committee meeting April 14th

The Texas Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee met on Monday, April 14th to discuss, among other things, the Texas Driver Responsibility Program. At issue is address an interim charge to assess the success of the program and discuss what might be next for the DRP.

After a strong call for public attendance via Facebook groups, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition brought advocates and a group of citizens to bear witness to their own stories of hardship. Some memorable quotes from the day include:

Judge Edna Staudt

“You are making a class of criminals of good citizens on account of money.”
“I have to sign warrants for people who chose to pay their rent instead of some surcharge.”
“I challenge you to get the money from somewhere else instead of this program.”
“The ends don’t justify the means. Don’t let the agencies set their own rates.”
“Taking away someone’s ability to move freely is taking away their liberty.”

Rep. Sheets

“I agree that the program is bad as it stands now.”
“We need to get back to the original intent of this program if we are going to keep it.”

Julia Klein, rep for Texas EMS

“These dollars also go towards disaster response. i understand that it’s expensive but if you break the law then you broke the law and there are consequences.”
Judge David Hodges,

“The surcharges are creating separate standerds per county that are getting harder and harder to enforce.”

“As an alternative maybe one could take money from the actual fines or court fees that judges aren’t assigning because they don’t like the surcharge program.”

Rep. Pickett

“I believe that a bill to abolish will be filed but I would like to see more than just one track with more recommendations.”

Shawn Vick, defense attorney

“There isn’t a public transportation option for most of these people so driver’s license suspensions are disastrous.”
“Half of all misdemeanors in williamson county involve license suspensions now.”

Scott Henson

“The DRP is a train-wreck and has been a train-wreck since the beginning.”
“The program hasn’t done one thing that it was intended to do in a decade.”
“The name itself is downright Orwellian – it forces people to drive irresponsibly.”
“In a decade I haven’t found one person against the program that doesn’t want the hospitals to get funded in some way.”

Maureen Miligan, CEO, Teaching Hospitals of Texas

“We can offer vendors more money to collect outstanding fees, maybe 4% of whatever they collect.”