Jeff Brandes wants answers on “cruel” driver’s license suspension regime

Jeff Brandes

Sen. Jeff Brandes dashed off a flurry of letters to state agency heads on Tuesday asking for more details on Florida’s system of revoking and suspending drivers’ licenses – and the financial strain, even incarceration, that comes with it.

Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, which he says will draft a new law during the upcoming Legislative Session to reform a suspension regime called “cruel” and “relentless” during the panel’s most recent meeting last week in Tallahassee.

Brandes wrote letters to the Executive Director of the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, President of the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers, and Secretary of the Department of Corrections requesting detailed information about how suspensions and revocations are processed, what outcomes those processes produce, and at what cost to the taxpayers.

“I am requesting from the department a count of the current inmates held in any state corrections institution, or private institution contracted with the department, whose sentence reflects a conviction from driving on a suspended or revoked license,” Brandes wrote to Corrections Secretary Julie Jones.

“In addition to this, I request that the department also identify the number of inmates with a conviction of driving on a suspended or revoked license as the only conviction resulting in their sentence. Furthermore I would like details on the cost of the incarceration for these specified inmates.”

Brandes began the letter, “It is the intent of the [Transportation] committee to produce a substantive bill to reform the inequities in the practice of driver license suspension.”

It’s a refrain that appears in all three letters.

The transportation panel helmed by Brandes is next slated to meet during the next committee week in Tallahassee, on October 8.

The panel’s five Republicans and three Democrats are likely to find common ground on the licensure issue.

Ryan Ray

Ryan Ray covers politics and public policy in North Florida and across the state. He has also worked as a legislative researcher and political campaign staffer. He can be reached at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704