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Councilmember McDuffie Advances Racial Equity with the Passage of Clean Hands Equity Legislation that will Reduce Barriers to Obtaining Driver’s Licenses for District residents

The District will join the majority of the country and end its regime of debt-based license denials, which conditions a person’s ability to obtain a drivers’ license on income rather than conduct.

For Release: Tuesday, July 12, 2022 
Contact: Laisha Dougherty, 202-706-0539, [email protected] 

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously passed B24-237, the Clean Hands Certification Equity Amendment Act authored by Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chair Pro Tempore of the Council and Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development. Under current law, an applicant who owes the District more than $100 in certain types of debt, including traffic fines and fees, cannot obtain Clean Hands Certification, meaning they cannot obtain or renew their drivers’ license. This bill amended the definition for the type of licenses and permits that require Clean Hands certification to exclude drivers’ licenses, beginning in Fiscal Year 2024, so that individuals will still be able to obtain or renew their drivers’ licenses, even if they cannot pay their outstanding fines and fees.

With passing, Councilmember McDuffie stated:

“The Clean Hands Certification Equity Amendment Act is a step towards eliminating the disproportionate burdens that currently prevents many low-income and Black and Brown drivers from getting to work, taking their kids to school, going to the doctor, and going to the grocery store.  According to the Council’s Office of Racial Equity, ‘the District’s fees and fines landscape not only impacts Black residents in terms of enforcement, but also by reinforcing the systems that maintain the racial wealth gap.’”

“I want to thank Tzedek DC and the coalition of more than 32 civil rights, faith based, consumer protection, and justice advocacy groups who assisted with efforts to ensure a more equitable DC. I also want to thank the residents who testified at hearings, sharing very personal stories about how the Clean Hands law disqualified them and tens of thousands of other low-income residents from renewing their drivers’ licenses.”
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