New Democrat Slogan:
"Fuck anyone with money"
(New York Times) - A bill in the State Legislature would make California the first state to assess traffic fines by income level: The poorer you are, the less you would pay.
The sponsor of the bill, State Senator Robert M. Hertzberg, says California’s traffic fines are “ridiculously high” and unaffordable for low-income families. Many fines don’t get paid.
An amnesty program that allowed violators to pay only a fraction of fees owed expired in March. It sought to chip away at California’s $10 billion in unpaid traffic fines.
Mr. Hertzberg’s bill, one of many being considered in current budget negotiations, would also make it illegal to suspend someone’s license because of nonpayment of a fine.
According to a report published this month by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, an advocacy group, California’s traffic fines are among the highest in the nation.
Running a stop sign has a base fine of $35, but once court fees are added it can cost $238, the group calculated.
The report, Paying More for Being Poor, makes the case that the traffic system is discriminatory because of racial profiling by police officers: Black drivers are more likely to be pulled over for no cause.
Elisa Della-Piana, the legal director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, also makes a case purely on income grounds.
“Many folks see that we have an unfair system,” she said. “You have two people, each of whom rolled through a stop sign. One mails in a check. The other doesn’t have enough money and experiences license suspension, arrest, job loss. Those are disproportionate consequences.”
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