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Wisconsin drivers could get back suspended licenses without paying

Posted at 10:00 PM, Mar 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-07 23:16:54-05

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee County board member wants people who have racked up tickets to get their suspended license back. The resolution could mean big things for thousands of drivers who fall behind on paying their tickets.

County Board Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez is behind the move. She is proposing a resolution asking the state to pass the measure.

Voces de la Frontera Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz testified to the county board about the proposal Thursday afternoon.

"The only thing its done is generate this big problem. You aren't bringing in more money you are spending more money and you are putting a lot of people through hardship," Neumann-Ortiz said

Last summer, the I-Team looked at the numbers. In 2017, almost 56 percent of the more than 200,000 license suspensions in Wisconsin were because people did not pay their traffic tickets on time.

We spoke to Da'ron Washington over the summer. The single dad who said he kept driving to take his daughters to daycare and to get to work. He had two tickets for non-moving violations.

"I never had a speeding ticket or no reckless driving ticket," Washington said

When he fell behind paying them they started to add up, leaving him with a suspended license.

"Trying to do the right thing and go to court and trying to pay my tickets," Washington said.

"If you are financially strapped,taking away your drivers license is not going to help that family out," Neumann-Ortiz said.

The Milwaukee Municipal Court said it works with people to keep their licenses from being suspended offering payment plans.

County Board Supervisor Ortiz-Velez wants this resolution to be included in Gov. Tony Evers proposal to give undocumented immigrants licenses.

But this is still a proposal and has not passed the full county board. It would then need to be taken up separately at the state level.