State Legislation Aims to Hold RMV Licenses for Outstanding Civil Fines

Nov 18, 2019

Unpaid fines may result in suspended driver's licenses, under new legislations being considered on Beacon Hill.

Towns across Massachusetts are losing out on tens of thousands of dollars in revenue from outstanding fines each year.

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would give towns more authority when collecting fines from non-criminal offenses. The bill would prevent residents from renewing driver's licenses and other RMV permits until outstanding municipal fines are paid.

Mashpee town clerk Deborah Dami helped craft the bill.  For Mashpee, she says, the outstanding payments for fines like littering, a noisy party or other infractions have totaled close to $40,000 over the last few years. And Dami says that's a small number compared to some towns.

"I was getting numbers that were just off the charts. A city like Needham or Marlboro, they were out almost $200,000."

Dami says the bill would go a long way in collecting those payments to be used for regular government business.

"This is not some idea I had to punish everybody, but at the same time, you should be held accountable for something you did wrong," she said. "Instead of burdening the court system, you pay your fine."

The bill is H.3171 in House and was filed by state representative David Vieira.