CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate on Monday (April 13) passed a measure, authored by Speaker Jeffrey W. Hickman, R-Fairview, which seeks to reduce criminal recidivism by allowing nonviolent offenders to have greater ability to reenter the workforce and become productive citizens.
House Bill 2179 would change current law to allow nonviolent offenders who are on probation to obtain a commercial driver’s license, thus increasing their marketability to employers during that probation time-period. License holders will only be able to utilize their privileges for the purpose of employment.
“A major factor to keep people from returning to crime is the ability to earn a living provide for oneself and one’s family,” said House Speaker Hickman, R-Fairview. “If we are to push back against the culture of crime and substance abuse that has infiltrated Oklahoma, we must begin to make common sense changes to how we handle offenders who can be productive members of society.”
Currently, the Department of Public Safety allows people on probation to obtain a provisional noncommercial driver’s license only. Rehabilitated offenders on average owe hefty fines to DPS when they are released which financially prevents them from obtaining a CDL for employment.
This proposal, if signed by Fallin, allows them to pay $25 a month toward those fines and obtain a CDL. Offenders who are not on probation and have a suspended or revoked CDL license due to DUI will not be eligible.
As part of the annual wave of proposals headed for executive deliberation, at the close of business Tuesday, H.B. 2179 was pending at the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin.