TRENTON – A bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Bernard F. Kenny Jr., to allow convicted drug offenders to keep driving so they can keep their jobs or find new employment was approved today by the Senate.
“This bill will help drug offenders to pursue rehabilitation through employment,” said Senator Kenny, D-Hudson. “Everyone deserves a second chance and this bill is needed to help drug offenders keep working to help straighten out their lives.”
State court records reveal that more than 20,000 suspended driving licenses were ordered for drug offenses last year under existing State law which mandates such suspensions for up to two years.
“A suspended license can sentence someone who made a mistake to virtually no job possibilities,” Senator Kenny said. “That’s not fair and this bill reflects our priorities to stress the importance of rehabilitation.”
The bill passed in the Senate 32-6 and final legislative approval was expected in the Assembly.
The measure was recommended by the New Jersey Sentencing Commission of which Senator Kenny is a member.
Senator Kenny stressed that the bill would permit a court to lift the mandatory license suspension for a convicted drug offender if it is demonstrated that loss of a license would prevent employment, treatment or other conditions of probation or parole.
“Research showed that for many of the jobs available to those with criminal records, a driver’s license was required regardless of the location of the job,” Senator Kenny said.