Activists, lawmakers celebrate signing of suspended license bill
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - A celebration took place in Wichita Friday afternoon for a new state law designed to save all Kansans money. It does so by making it easier for those with suspended licenses to get back on the road, legally.
Activists say they've been working on this change since 2008, but until a KAKE News Investigates series, some lawmakers saw it as just a criminal justice program.
"And that's not true. What we found, thanks to the wonderful work of Pilar Pedraza and channel 10, is that there were over 200,000 Kansans that were impacted by this bill. And really the crime that was involved was the crime of poverty." said Peter Ninemire with the Caring Center of Wichita.
Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau has been working on this change for years. After our KAKE News Investigates stories, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1-27 which ends the 90-day wait period to get your license back after you've paid all your fines and fees.
Friday, the governor came to Wichita to celebrate the new law with a ceremonial signing of the bill. She says getting Kansans back behind the wheel legally helps move them from taking state aid to working and paying taxes. She also called it one way to help solve the state's worker shortage. She too said stories like our KAKE News Investigation are key to making changes like this.
"I think it's really important that the media uncover these kinds of concerns and issues and real life problems in our society. And bring that forward so that people who can make a difference, your legislature, your governor, knows it exists and can work hard to rectify it," Governor Laura Kelly said.
Despite the celebration, many, including Sen. Faust-Goudeau, have said the fight over suspended driver's licenses isn't over. They called this new bipartisan law just the first step in the reforms needed.