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September 26, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

New study shows how low-income defendants are punished for being poor

POVERTY | Today, Legal Aid Justice Center, which offers legal assistance to low-income Virginians, released a report analyzing the impact of a policy that allows courts to suspend an individual’s driver’s license because they cannot pay their court debts. The study found that Virginia has suspended 977,000 licenses because of this policy. (WaPo, 9/26)

Among all states, just four require officials to determine whether defendants can afford to pay fines before suspending their licenses, according to the study, which says “virtually all” states that suspend licenses can do so indefinitely. In addition, 19 states require that licenses be suspended for unpaid fines.

“Across the country, millions of people have lost their licenses simply because they are too poor to pay, effectively depriving them of reliable, lawful transportation necessary to get to and from work, take children to school, keep medical appointments, care for ill or disabled family members, or, paradoxically, to meet their financial obligations to the courts,” the report says.

WRAG COMMUNITY | Readers of the Daily WRAG, will you engage with us on the website? (Daily, 9/26)

NONPROFITS | A Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance study found that Loudoun County should increase its funding to the local nonprofit community. (LoudounNow, 9/25)

Related: A few years ago, WRAG helped catalyze a cross-sector dialogue to raise the profile of needs in Loudoun County. Out of that conversation came the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties’ Faces of Need campaign earlier this year. Read more here.

DISASTER RECOVERY Hurricane Maria: Puerto Ricans Plead for More Federal Aid to Devastated Island (NBC News, 9/25)

TRANSPORTATION |  The DC Chamber of Commerce and Georgetown Business Improvement District have come out against the District’s proposed legislation to encourage workers to commute to work without a car. (WAMU, 9/25)

EDUCATION
– This summer, six Gonzaga College High School students researched their school’s ties to slavery and found them. (WaPo, 9/25)

– New business initiative aims at economic growth through higher education (Richmond Times, 9/25)


A few shots of our world being spectacular

– Kendra

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