Punishing: Repeal of automatic driver’s license suspensions dies in Virginia subcommittee

Things were looking good for opponents of Virginia’s automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for nonpayment of court costs. A federal judge had opined the state law is likely unconstitutional, a Republican state senator carried a bill that repealed the law, and it passed the Senate 36-4.

Then it got to a House subcommittee, where four Republicans, including Delegate Rob Bell, torpedoed the measure 4-3.

Senator Bill Stanley, a criminal defense attorney who represents a chunk of Southside, was not pleased, particularly with Bell and House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert and their grip on the Courts of Justice subcommittee.

He told the Roanoke Times February 11, “They just want to continue to punish people, they just want to continue to punish the poor, they just want to continue to put their will forth as the will of the commonwealth, two people determining the fate of 600,000 Virginians. This is rule by fiat.”