ACLU on Gov.’s Budget Proposal: Off to Good Start to Protect California’s Most Vulnerable

Governor’s Proposed budget would end license suspensions for failure to pay; advocates ask for funding for legal representation for immigrants facing deportation

SACRAMENTO–In response to Governor Jerry Brown’s unveiling of his proposed 2017-18 budget, the American Civil Liberties Union of California’s Center for Advocacy and Policy issued the following statement on behalf of its Center Director, Natasha Minsker

“We commend Governor Brown for his bold move on driver’s license suspensions, and urge him and the legislature to be equally bold in fortifying their commitment to fairness and due process with robust funding for the Due Process for All Act (D-Hueso) and the Stronger Public Defenders Act (D-Bonta).

After years of advocacy on the matter, we are thrilled to see Governor Brown propose the elimination of driver’s license suspensions as punishment for Californians who are unable to pay off traffic fines and fees. For years, the state’s traffic court system has unfairly relied on taking money from California’s poorest residents through excessive traffic fines and fees, and subsequently driving people deeper into poverty through license suspensions. The governor’s plan is a true victory for fairness and equity, and countless Californians struggling to make ends meet.

Additionally, the inclusion of money to provide immigrants facing deportation with effective legal representation is an important next step in upholding the due process rights afforded to all. Although immigration law has been compared to the tax code in its complexity and the government has a prosecutor representing it in every case, it remains one of the only areas in American law where we force individuals, including children, to navigate a grueling legal maze alone.

In earmarking state resources for legal representation, California would reinforce two key cornerstones of our democracy – fairness and due process – at a time when a wrecking ball of bigotry and hate looms over us.

We look forward to reviewing the details of Governor Brown’s funding proposal.”

###