Two months ago, a state law that grants amnesty to poor individuals who have unpaid traffic tickets went into effect. Since then, 112 Santa Barbara County residents have had their traffic fines reduced by 50 or 80 percent. The 18-month program is intended to reverse the pattern of criminalizing poverty, according to Democratic State Senator Bob Hertzberg, who authored the bill. Parking, reckless driving, and DUI offenses are not eligible. In addition, 146 people in the county who lost their licenses because of unpaid fines had them reinstated. More than 1,000 people in the county have inquired about the program.


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