Today the Senate voted 49-0 to approve Sen. Keith Wagoner’s measure to assist Washingtonians who have difficulty accessing drug- or alcohol-treatment programs because they can’t obtain a complete copy of their driving records.
“When someone is trying to better themselves and get much-needed substance abuse treatment, we should do everything we can to help them take those important steps and not put obstacles in their way,” said Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley.
“The limits on obtaining a full, accurate and comprehensive driver’s record from the Department of Licensing – one that includes all alcohol- and drug-related offenses – can often keep someone from receiving effective treatment or even meeting their court-ordered obligations.
“This bill would remove those unnecessary barriers, as well as guarantee that the ability to pay for production fees does not stand in the way of people receiving the treatment they need to improve their lives, meet treatment orders and better protect the public. It would also provide better and more complete information for the courts, probation officers and treatment agencies so that they can design treatment plans and requirements that are more likely to be effective.”
Senate Bill 5347 would remove the limitation on DOL providing an abstract driving record (ADR) covering five years or less. It would also eliminate the restriction that limits records of alcohol-related offenses to a 10-year period, allowing the agency to instead provide a full copy of an individual’s ADR including all alcohol- related offenses to an alcohol or drug assessment or treatment agency for an individual who has applied for treatment.
Wagoner’s bill would also allow a court to waive the fees for the production and copying of an ADR if the court finds that the individual is indigent.
“While the costs to obtain an ADR may not seem like much to many people, and doesn’t represent a significant cost to the court, it can be an insurmountable amount to a single mother, disabled veteran or someone on a small, fixed income,” Wagoner said. “Let’s not let a copying fee stand in the way of our friends and neighbors, who are trying to do the right thing and seek treatment.”
SB 5347 now goes to the House of Representatives for that chamber’s consideration.