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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO MOTOR VEHICLE LICENSE SUSPENSION

      Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide forthwith for the prohibition of automatic license suspensions for non-vehicle-related drug offenses, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Section 22 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (f).
     SECTION 2.  Said chapter 90 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 22 the following section:-
     Section 22½.  The registrar shall suspend, without a hearing, the license or right to operate of a person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (b), (c) or (c½) of section 32E of chapter 94C or adjudged a delinquent child by reason of having violated said subsection (b), (c) or (c½) of said section 32E of said chapter 94C; provided, however, that the period of such suspension shall not exceed 5 years from the date of conviction; and provided further, that the person may, after the completion of any time served, apply for and shall be granted a hearing before the registrar to request the issuance of a new license for employment or educational purposes or for any other hardship purpose for the balance of the license suspension.  The registrar may issue such license under such terms or conditions as the registrar may prescribe.  If the registrar denies the applicant’s request for a hardship license, the registrar shall issue written findings supporting the denial.
     SECTION 3.  Section 30 of said chapter 90, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
     Upon expiration of the term of suspension of driving privileges suspended under subsection (g), (h) or (i) of section 22 or under section 22½, the registrar shall shield from public access all records of the suspension and the underlying offense, including records of the expiration of the suspension, any hearings or appeals related to the suspension and the reinstatement following the suspension.
     SECTION 4.  Section 33 of said chapter 90, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out in line 231, the words “, (e) and (f)” and inserting in place thereof the following words:-  and (e).
     SECTION 5.  The registrar of motor vehicles shall issue, renew or reinstate the license or right to operate a motor vehicle, without fee, of any person whose license or right to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended under subsection (f) of section 22 of chapter 90 of the General Laws if the person is otherwise entitled to such issuance, renewal or reinstatement. 
     SECTION 6.  The registrar of motor vehicles shall shield from public access all records of the suspension of driving privileges issued under subsection (f) of section 22 of chapter 90 of the General Laws and all records of the underlying offense, including records of the expiration of the suspension, any hearings or appeals related to the suspension and the issuance, renewal or reinstatement.
     SECTION 7.  The registrar of motor vehicles shall issue a report on the implementation of this act.  The report shall include, but not be limited to: (i) the number of license suspensions, hardship licenses applied for and hardship licenses issued under section 22½ of chapter 90 of the General Laws; (ii) the number of licenses reinstated as a result of section 5; (iii) the fiscal impact to the registry of motor vehicles; and (iv) any impediments to the implementation of sections 3, 5 and 6.  The registrar shall file a report with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means and the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on transportation not later than 1 year after implementation.
     SECTION 8.  Sections 3 and 6 shall take effect 6 months after the effective date of this act.

Approved, March 30, 2016.