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April 9, 2024

Statement: Governor Perpetuates System of Inequality, Keeps People Ensnared in Legal System through Veto of HB857/SB514

Emily King, Senior Policy Analyst at The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (TCI), released the following statement regarding the governor vetoing a bill to reduce the statute of limitations for court debt:

“The current fines and fees system sets people up to fail through inconsistent access to payment plans, alternatives to payment, and the extra fees and burdens that punish Virginians with limited financial resources. Furthermore, Virginia has tethered people to the criminal legal system by allowing court debt to be collected for up to 60 years, essentially a life sentence, while the statute of limitations for enforcing civil judgments is just 10 years. 

“By vetoing HB857/SB514, the governor perpetuates this system of inequality and forces individuals with low financial resources to make impossible choices between paying their court costs, feeding their family, paying for their housing, or keeping the lights on. No individual should be faced with these choices, and the governor’s actions hinder our progress toward a more equitable and fair future.

“Impacted communities and advocates have long been advocating for critical reforms to a system that deepens poverty and keeps people ensnared in the criminal legal system. We will continue to fight for reforms to ensure the legal system is no longer funded off the backs of our most vulnerable so that everyone in Virginia has access to economic opportunity.”

Emily King

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