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House Votes To End Jail Time For Being Too Poor To Pay Fines

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Texas legislators just cleared a bill on a vote of 75-70. This new legislation will make it easier for poor people to pay traffic tickets if they could not afford it. Before moving to Governor Greg Abbott for approval, the bill needs to be approved by the Senate first.

If approved by the Senate and then the Governor, this piece of legislation will likely prevent thousands of residents in Texas from being imprisoned over simple fines such as traffic tickets. This, in turn, will also save taxpayers a lot of money.

In the Senate Bill 1913, by State Senator Judith Zaffirini, it is stated that if this bill is passed, it would allow courts to ask defendants if they are too poor to pay for simple fines such as traffic tickets.

If the defendants cannot afford to pay the fines, the courts would be allowed to reduce or disregard the amount due. They will offer community service as a suitable alternative option. This would lift a real burden off the shoulders of people who cannot afford to pay.

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In a statement to the Texas Tribune, the bill’s House sponsor Representative, Senfronia Thompson, stated: “They’re not getting off scot-free. We’re getting something for something.”

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This means that offenders would have to pay back the state in other ways instead of paying a fine and taking money out of their paycheck.

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“We are filling our jails up with people who should not be there,” Thompson went on to say.

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