Child support offenders could get some help to get to work

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - An Ohio state senator wants to allow parents whose licenses have been suspended for not paying child support to be allowed to drive to work or job interviews.

State Senator Peggy Lehner said the idea stems from the fact that too many people in Ohio have their licenses taken away in this state for too many non-traffic related offenses. One out of every eight Ohio drivers has a suspended license. Lehner is looking forward to formally introducing a law in the near future. Ohio is just one of 47 states that takes away licenses for failure to pay child support.

"I think they should get to work so they can pay their child support, otherwise, no," said Annisha Tucker. "They shouldn't be able to drive."

Cincinnati mother Sherry King believes the idea is right on.

"I think that's a good idea because my daughter's father owes a lot of child support money," said King. "I would like for him to get there so I can get my money."

On the other side, others said the idea is wrong-- dead wrong, adding the proposed law would reward deadbeat parents.

"Hey look, I'm walking!" said Eric Mayershak. "They can walk. There are buses.There are other ways to get to work."

Senator Lehner said the issue is just one of many she's trying to solve. Years ago, a Dayton-area Mayor was killed by a young driver who had 17 license suspensions. Lehner asked local judges, clerks, police, and even Ohio public safety leaders to look at the problem. They discovered many suspensions were not related to actual incidents on the road. The group recently issued a report. Lehner said taking on child support offenders is just the first step.

"The thinking was if you could get rid of some of those other suspensions, maybe the police and courts could focus on the really bad drivers," said Sen. Lehner. "There's a huge number of people who lose their licenses because of failure to pay child support, and while I think they should be punished, I'm not sure that letting them sit at home instead of working is the best punishment that we can dole out."

Cincinnati Rep. Alicia Reece actually also has proposed a bill that would allow child support offenders to drive to work. Lehner said she'll definitely contact her to see if they can work together.

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