FFJC's latest summary of the legislation related to fines and fees that was introduced during 2023 state legislative sessions.
When this organization started six years ago we could never have predicted the breadth and pace of fines and fees reform that would unfold across the nation. And still, our work is just beginning. Here our Deputy Executive Director, Priya Sarathy Jones shares insights about FFJC’s first-ever Fines and Fees Advocacy Summit, our robust national reform strategy, and how we are revving up for more 2024 victories.
FFJC’s advisory board model is more than just a means of prioritizing New Mexican voices within reform. It also serves as an incubator for budding advocates who are perfectly positioned to continue the work of fines and fees reform within their community.
FFJC Nevada together with our key partners across the state were able to successfully pass significant fine and fee reform in the 2023 legislative session with bipartisan support from the Democratic controlled legislature and newly elected Republican governor. We also thwarted efforts to impose new fees in the criminal legal system and set the groundwork for future misdemeanor reform.
On June 16, New Mexico officially ended the practice of suspending driver's licenses for “Failure to Appear” (FTA) or “Failure to Pay” (FTP). Here's what you need to know to ensure your license is reinstated.
The new report exposes a stark reality: for millions of working families, money needed for necessities, such as food, housing, healthcare and transportation, is being redirected to pay off court debt. At least 17 million families with children sacrifice on essentials due to court debt.
While courts continue to impose fines and fees, we need to be sure that they aren’t trapping people in a cycle of debt, punishment, and incarceration that is difficult to escape. Effective ability-to-pay policies must include a presumption that some individuals will not be able to pay court-imposed costs. Having a court-appointed attorney, being on government assistance, qualifying for public housing, or being unable to work should be recognized as the markers of poverty that they are, and courts must stop jailing those unable to pay.
Today, the United States Department of Justice issued a revised and updated “Dear Colleague” letter, advising state and local courts that their fines and fees practices are profoundly harmful and may violate the United States Constitution and federal law. FFJC issued a statement in response.
In Washington, DC, my Mayor, Muriel Bowser, just rolled out a plan to install 342 more traffic cameras throughout the city. And while the Mayor said that she hopes “we don’t collect anything from the cameras,” this camera rollout is part of her budget plan, which would use the expected $580 million in revenue to address the city’s budget shortfalls over the next four years. Strange that a Mayor would plan a budget around a revenue stream she hopes doesn’t come through.
Last night, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed HB 139, which eliminates the post-adjudication and bench warrant fees that have recently become the subject of a national movement to end the criminalization of poverty.