Legislators are touting changes made to Kansas driver's license laws that they say will help poorer residents with suspended licenses drive in limited situations.
The measure allows residents with suspended licenses due to unpaid traffic fines to apply for a restricted permit to drive to work, school or other limited locations.
The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/12iTt4q ) that the law was on the books four years ago and lawmakers initially didn't notice when a sunset provision took effect in 2012. They took action this session to restore the law.
Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau and former Sen. Phil Journey, both of Wichita, worked to get this year's law passed. Faust-Goudeau said she was made aware the previous one expired by a constituent who was denied the temporary permit when she applied.
The new law allows a person with a suspended license to pay a $25 application fee for the temporary permit. If granted, they also can drive to health care appointments, parole meetings or any other places required by the court system.
Temporary licenses are good for one year but don't apply to persons who lost driving privileges because of drug or alcohol violations, Faust-Goudeau said.
Two interns with Kansas Legal Services said during a ceremonial bill signing Thursday that the lapse in the law made it difficult for the working poor to stay employed so they could pay their traffic ticket fines. That then leads to the person often falling behind on rent and other bills.
"It all just snowballs down," said Kansas Legal Services intern Heather Ramey.