HCN News & Notes

New Law Reduces Barriers for People Convicted of Drug Offenses

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker signed bipartisan legislation passed unanimously by both branches of the Legislature to ease the transition for those convicted of drug offenses to re-enter society, hold employment, and care for their families by repealing the automatic suspension of drivers licenses and a subsequent $500 reinstatement fee for all drug convictions.

“As the Commonwealth takes important steps to battle substance abuse and re-examine our criminal-justice system, I am pleased to sign legislation providing opportunities for those convicted of drug offenses and who have served their time to re-enter society, find and keep a job, and support their families,” Baker said. “Removing this significant barrier to re-entry reduces the prospects of recidivism as individuals continue treatment or recovery and gives them a better chance at getting back on their feet.”

The legislation provides certain exceptions for drug-trafficking convictions and takes effect immediately.

“We are proud to support this legislation that would ensure those who have paid their debts to society for drug offenses have the means to be productive citizens, capable of supporting themselves and their loved ones,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “I’m proud of our administration’s efforts and collaboration with the Legislature to counter opioid addiction, and ending the automatic license suspension is a reform that will help put people on a path that keeps them out of our criminal-justice system.”