Montgomery aims to help those with little means

Rep. Derwin L. Montgomery

Montgomery aims to help those with little means
April 25
01:00 2019

Earlier this week, North Carolina State Rep. Derwin L. Montgomery filed three bills aimed at helping those with little means in N.C. HB 906, HB 907 and HB 909 are directed toward changing policy to help individuals struggling economically in N.C.  Montgomery is the lead sponsor on HB 906, which would create a legislative Study Committee on the Cash Bail System in N.C. He is joined by former judge turned N.C. State Rep. Marcia Morey and N.C. Rep. Chaz Beasley. Today more than ever there have been conversations happening nationally about cash bail and how it systematically leads to individuals with little economic means to remain in jail without a conviction. An estimated $3 billion is spent nationally to hold individuals in jail who have nonviolent charges and are low income. Currently in North Carolina members of the North Carolina Courts Commission are also evaluating N.C.’s Cash Bail System. 

Additionally, HB 907 would add to the N.C.’s Fair Housing Protection “Source of Income.” This would mean that individuals who have housing vouchers would no longer be turned away from seeking our housing opportunities in market-rate developments.  If adopted, North Carolina would join 11 other states across the country that have “Source of Income” discrimination protections for voucher holders.  Rep. Montgomery stated, “On any given day there is a family looking for housing who has a voucher in hand but cannot find suitable housing because their landlord will not accept it. I’m aware that for many landlords, this is an unpopular protection to put in place, but at the very least, we need to figure out how to get voucher holders and landlords together to fix this problem.”

Lastly, HB 909 deals with the revocation of drivers license for failure to pay a fine. This bill would require there be a “finding of fact” that a person is able to pay and there is good cause to suspend the person’s license if the person fails to pay a traffic fine. “Every day individuals who are justly cited for a traffic violation struggle to pay those fines. When they fail to do so, not out of disrespect for the law, but due to their economic situation, they lose their license and thus often their ability to get to and from work. What does a working mother do? She drives with a revoked license in order to keep the lights on and the pay the bills. We must change this antiquated law,” states Montgomery.

According to Rep. Montgomery, “Our laws should support those who are looking to move up the economic ladder,  Today many of them do not. North Carolina has the opportunity to lead the nation in how we shape our laws to ensure there is an equitable and level playing field for every citizen, no matter their economic situation. HB 906, 907, and 909 are just the start of those conversations.”

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