Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law on May 6th chiefly sponsored by local Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer.
House Bill 4243 amends the Illinois Vehicle Code to allow individuals with a suspended license in the last three years due to failure to pay child support to obtain a school bus driver permit under a new set of circumstances.
Davidsmeyer says that with the school bus driver shortage, the impetus of the bill came from a constituent wanting to get employment as a bus driver to pay back his back child support: “A constituent came to us and said: ‘I’ve got an issue here. I’ve had a commercial driver’s license my whole life, and I got behind on my child support, and they took my license away.’ Actually, if you haven’t had a driver’s license for the 3 years prior to applying to becoming a bus driver, you can’t be a bus driver. We just thought it was fair to say that if it was not a driving offense or the reason for taking away the license, then we should allow people to continue to work so that they could pay back those back bills and help out our school districts by being a bus driver at the same time.”
The bill received bi-partisan support in both chambers of the General Assembly, and was co-sponsored in the Illinois Senate by Steve McClure.
Davidsemeyer says he’s voted for a number of bills over the years that help people pay off their debts and get back in the good graces of society.
He says he wasn’t surprised by Governor J.B. Pritzker signing the bill: “No, I think this is a very common sense issue. We are going to continue to [look for bills like this.] I even had a transportation union out of Chicago contact me out of the blue about the bill. They thought it was a great bill, and they want to work on other infractions outside of child support to make sure that they have more opportunities for bus drivers and things of that profession.”
The new legislation will take effect on January 1st.