July 26, 2021
Senator Dick Durbin
711 Hart Senate Ofﬁce Building
Senator Chuck Grassley
135 Hart Senate Ofﬁce Building
Dear Leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
CEO Action for Racial Equity is a Fellowship of over 100 companies that mobilizes a community of business leaders with diverse expertise across multiple industries and geographies to advance public policy in four key areas — healthcare, education, economic empowerment and public safety. Its mission is to identify, develop and promote scalable and sustainable public policies and corporate engagement strategies that will address systemic racism, social injustice and improve societal well-being.
One main issue area for the Fellowship is Decriminalizing Poverty: Fines, Fees and Cash Bail Reform. Debt-based driver’s license suspension is a key issue in this space. This license-for-payment disproportionately impacts low income communities and communities of color roughly 50% or more in areas based on studies that have been performed. We are writing to express our support for S. 998, the Driving for Opportunity Act of 2021. We would strongly urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to discharge the bill and have the matter be considered before the full Senate.
As we identify policies that help address the decriminalization of poverty, we are guided by a set of bipartisan principles:
The principles outlined above unite us in supporting the passing of the Driving for Opportunity Act of 2021 and will serve as a meaningful way to generate greater equity across our country.
Debt-based driver’s license suspensions are harmful, counter-productive to collections and negatively impact business, speciﬁcally:
As a coalition of businesses, we have seen how the cycle of poverty impacts our workforce, our customers, and our communities. Many states have already taken action to end suspension of licenses for unpaid ﬁnes and fees, and many others – whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans – are moving in the same direction. However, passing the Driving for Opportunity Act is the momentum our country needs to increase public safety, promote a justice system that is humane, and would save the government and taxpayer money in the long term.
CEO Action for Racial Equity is committed to working with lawmakers across the aisle to enact policies that bring equity, transparency, and accountability to our justice system.
We urge you to build on the consensus for this bill and pass the Driving for Opportunity Act of 2021.
Thank you for your leadership. Sincerely,
CEO Action for Racial Equity
|Hon. Chuck Schumer
Hon. Mitch McConnell
Hon. Cory Booker
Hon. Marsha Blackburn
Hon. Christopher A. Coons
Hon. Tom Cotton
Hon. John Cornyn
Hon. Ted Cruz
Hon. Diane Feinstein
Hon. Lindsey Graham
Hon. Joshua D. Hawley
|Hon. Mazie Hirono
Hon. John Kennedy
Hon. Amy Klobuchar
Hon. Patrick Leahy
Hon. Michael S. Lee
Hon. Jon Ossoff
Hon. Alex Padilla
Hon. Ben Sasse
Hon. Thom Tillis
Hon. Sheldon Whitehouse
Hon. Roger Wicker
 “Discriminatory Driver’s License Suspension Schemes”, American Constitution Society, Danielle Conley, Partner and Co-Chair of the Anti-Discrimination Practice, WilmerHale, Ariel Levinson-Waldman, Founding Director, Tzedek DC, March 19, 2019
 New Jersey MOTOR VEHICLES AFFORDABILITY AND FAIRNESS TASK FORCE report, page xii, 2006
 “Driver's License Suspension and Fees Unjustly Impact the Poor and Are in Need of Reform”, Reason Foundation, Cody Moser, July 6, 2020, “Why the Senate should pass the Driving for Opportunity Act”, Prison Policy Initiative, Jenny London, July 22, 2020
 “What’s the cost to reinstate your Driver’s License”, I Drive Safely, January 4, 2021
 “No Driver’s License, No Job”, The Atlantic, Alana Semuels, June 15, 2016