SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Celina Villanueva advanced a measure to allow driver’s license holders more notice for court appearances prior to suspension.

“By eliminating license suspensions for a failure to appear in court, we are able to more effectively use law enforcement resources,” said Villanueva (D-Chicago). “A lot of the time, these initial court notices are not reaching people at their correct addresses. It is simply unfair to revoke driving privileges when people are not even getting proper notice.”

Under House Bill 277, if a person fails to appear in court, the court may text, call or email the person's last known contact information with notice regarding the continued court dates. The notice will include a statement that a future failure to appear could result in a warrant or consequences affecting their driving privileges. The current penalty for failure to appear in court is immediate license suspension by the Secretary of State.

“It is imperative we offer drivers the courtesy of an electronic continued court date notice before we issue warrants or license suspension,” said Villanueva. “Individuals who lose their licenses are likely to continue to drive out of necessity, leading to further legal penalties and creating a cycle of legal non-compliance.”

House Bill 277 passed the Senate on Thursday and heads to the governor for further consideration.