SB 691

86(R) - 2019
Senate Criminal Justice
Senate Criminal Justice
Transportation & Infrastructure

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive


Nathan Johnson

Bill Caption

Relating to repealing automatic driver’s license suspensions for certain drug offenses.

Fiscal Notes

The fiscal implications of the bill cannot be determined at this time due to the timeframe in which the U.S. Secretary of Transportation would certify that the passage of the bill would not lead to a withholding of federal highway funds is unknown. Additionally, there is no current data regarding the number of offenders that could complete an educational program and pay a fee to avoid license suspension. Therefore, the fiscal implication of the bill cannot be determined.

Bill Analysis

In 1991, the U.S. Congress passed legislation requiring states to suspend the drivers' licenses of all drug offenders or lose federal transportation funds. Under current state law, this mandate is codified and automatically suspends the drivers' license of any drug offender for six months until the individual pays a fee of $100 and takes a 15-hour course on the dangers of drug abuse. Federal law now allows states to affirmatively opt out of the automatic suspension provision.

HB 1013 would grant a 180-day grace period for misdemeanor drug offenders to take the educational course on the dangers of drug abuse, rather than make them wait 180 days after completing these requirements. Upon successful completion of the educational program and the payment of any applicable fees, the person's license would no longer be subject to suspension. This bill is contingent on the passage of SCR 10 or HCR 33. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

Texas Action supports HB 1013 for promoting the principles of individual liberty and limited government. Automatic suspension of a driver's license is not always proportional to the crime, and may jeopardize employment and ability to repay court costs and fines. This bill would help mitigate this harsh and unnecessary punishment.