People who work for a living have already become accustomed to paying the way for those who can’t or won’t work. We’re also used to footing the bill for prisoners’ housing, food and medical expenses … and, well, the list goes on, but it becomes depressing during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

The ones who should be singing those festive, seasonal songs loudest are the lawbreakers. They should be celebrating yet another break while people who try to do the right thing will, again, pay the price for their misdeeds.

That will be the effect of an unbelievable announcement that came from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety this week: “DPS will reinstate the driver’s licenses of all Mississippi drivers whose licenses were suspended due to non-payment of fines, fees or assessments, and will no longer suspend licenses simply because a person fails to make such court-ordered payments.”

Not only that, but DPS is also waiving its $100 reinstatement fee and is hiring staff to notify the drivers that their licenses are no longer suspended and sending instructions on how to reinstate them. The policy change will affect an estimated 100,000 licensed drivers. Merry Christmas!

State law already ruled that lawbreakers couldn’t be incarcerated for non-payment of fines and fees. And now they can’t have their driving privilege taken away either. Licenses that are suspended for reasons other than non-payment of fines will continue to be suspended, officials said.

“We certainly take it seriously when people drive with suspended licenses,” DPS Director Marshall Fisher said in a press release announcing the wacky policy. That sounds good … but what does it mean? The offenders will get a stern talking to?

It makes no sense that anyone who believes in law and order would support such a foolish policy change. It takes away the remaining teeth that the law had in it for those who continue to break traffic laws and drive among us.

What’s not surprising is that it was orchestrated by the socialist-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center and the Solange MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Its spokesmen said that the policy unfairly affected the poor. Bullspit!

It affects habitual offenders who refuse to pay, and now the state is helping them thumb their noses at the law. The naive supporters of the change say that poor people with suspended licenses are unfairly punished, not able to “legally drive to job interviews, take loved ones to the hospital, pick up kids from school or even go to church.”

Ha! Cue up the cello. Obviously these people have no qualms about breaking the law. Now the law is telling them that’s OK. And their non-payment isn’t usually due to lack of money, it’s usually due to lack of principles and priorities. They can find money for things they want.

So what will the result of this asinine policy change be?

There are all sorts of possibilities. But one of the most likely results will be higher fines for offenses across the board … you know, for the poor working stiffs who are foolish enough to pay their fines.

In other words, the guy who is speeding to get to work after dropping off the kids at school will have to foot the bill for the guy who got caught speeding on the way to meet his meth dealer, then thumbs his nose at the fine. How will anyone force him to pay? They won’t. The second guy knows that because he’s a seasoned low-life. The first guy, though … well, his conscience forces him to do the right thing. And once again, he gets screwed for it.

Nice job, DPS.

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