End Debt-Based Driver’s License Holds

SB 1281
The Basics: 

According to DPS, over 472,000 Texas licenses have renewal holds through the Failure to Appear/Pay (FTAP) Program. 

  • This bill will stop penalizing working class Texans who are either unable to appear in court or pay their fine in full. Many fall deeper into debt as they continue to receive traffic violations for driving without a valid driver’s license.
  • There is no significant difference in the amount collected between municipal courts using the FTAP Program and courts that do not.
  • There are more effective methods to reduce failure to appear (FTA) rates, which include providing clear communication from courts using text message reminders, clarifying court forms so they are easier to understand, and tailoring fines to income level. 
Phone/Email Opportunities: 

The Senate State Affairs Committee will vote on whether SB 1281 should move out of the committee and be voted by the full Senate. Contact the committee and ask them to support the bill. To find the State Affair committee members and their contact information, click here.

Here’s a sample script: 

Hello, my name is ______, and I live in ________. I’m calling to express my support for Senate Bill 1281 filed by Sen. Hughes. The bill would repeal debt-based driver’s license renewal holds. I strongly support this bill because:

  • The current Failure to Pay/Appear (FTAP) Program is unjust. It criminalizes poverty through renewal license holds in a state where many need a valid driver’s license to drive to work, hold a job, and apply for a new one.
  • The FTAP Program deepens involvement in the criminal legal system since a second Driving While License Invalid offense is a jailable Class B misdemeanor.

 I urge you to support this bill. Thank you very much for your time. 

Social Media Opportunities: 

Please help us by showing online support. We want the Senate State Affairs Committee to know that SB 1281 is a good bill that will help Texans.

Here are three sample Tweets:

  • Help SB 1281 head to the full Senate for a vote! We must end debt-based license holds. #txlege #RepealFTAP 

@AngelaPaxtonTX @TeamBettencourt @SenatorBirdwell @lamantia4texas @Menendez4Texas @mayes_middleton @TanParkerTX @electcharles @DrSchwertner @JudithZaffirini 

  • We urge @AngelaPaxtonTX @TeamBettencourt @SenatorBirdwell @lamantia4texas @Menendez4Texas @mayes_middleton @TanParkerTX @electcharles @DrSchwertner @JudithZaffirini to support SB 1281 and #RepealFTAP. 
  • Support SB 1281 to #RepealFTAP and stop Texans from falling into an unnecessary cycle of debt. #txlege  
Other Advocacy Needed: 
Please testify in support of the bills at the state capitol in Austin to share your opinion publicly and directly with legislators. Contact us at cmeyer@texasappleseed.org. Please share our posts and our coalition partners' posts to increase visibility and support on this issue. When drafting your own post, use #RepealFTAP to help us generate a media storm.