No driver license for SC dropouts

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COLUMBIA -- A bill that would prevent teens who drop out of school from getting a driver's license heads to the Senate floor, following a Senate panel's approval Tuesday.
The bill, H. 3645, allows students to obtain a hardship waiver or launch an appeal if their license is yanked due to seven unexcused absences. Eighteen-year-olds would not be affected by the bill.
Bill sponsor Rep. Tom Young, R-Aiken, testifying before a special Senate Finance subcommittee, said he spoke with high schoolers in Aiken County and was told the premise of his proposal offered students an incentive to stay in school.
"I have asked kids in the high schools in Aiken County, especially ones in 11th and 12th grade, 'Think about those who were sitting with you in the 9th grade. How many of you can identify somebody who's not here today?'" said Young.
"Every single one of them raised their hands."
The legislation, which has been introduced before by other lawmakers, drew criticism from some House members earlier this month who said the proposal overlooked the root causes of truancy among the state's high school students.
On Tuesday Young noted that a similar law has been in place in Georgia since 2004, in North Carolina since 1998, in West Virginia since 1989, and Florida, which suspended it temporarily, enacted it in 1988.
Young pointed to data that show nearly 80 percent of dropouts occur in 9th and 10th grade, and that his bill aims to "get them over the hump" and into 11th grade, where they are less likely to quit high school.
The Office of Motor Vehicles Hearings would determine hardship waivers, and appeals would be sent to the Administrative Law Court, a quasi-judicial agency within the executive branch.
Jana Shealy, clerk of the ALC, called the new cases estimated to arise from Young's proposal, "a tremendous burden" to the court.
She said the current caseload is about 6,500 a year, and Young's bill would increase it by 300-400 cases. The $150 filing fee per case would amount to $45,000- $60,000 in additional revenue, she said, offsetting some of the added costs to the court. But that would leave about $90,000 in new expenses associated with adding a hearing officer.
Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Hopkins, noted that Young's proposal, would not go into effect until August of 2011. He said that would give lawmakers time to set aside funds in the the next budget.

Reach Sarita Chourey at or (803) 727-4257

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corgimom 05/26/10 - 06:55 am
Poor kids, who are usually

Poor kids, who are usually the ones who drop out, don't have cars.

This bill is meaningless.

johnston.cliff 05/26/10 - 07:06 am
So, from 16 to 18, if you

So, from 16 to 18, if you drop out of government school, you lose your drivers license,if you have one. Does this bill make sense to anyone? Is the S.C. state congress really without problems to solve?

Riverman1 05/26/10 - 07:26 am
Kids from 16 to 18, with no

Kids from 16 to 18, with no hope of graduating, will reluctantly stay in school so they can keep their licenses. They don't want to be there and will probably be disruptive or at the least indifferent. Plus, they take up space and skew statistics in a bad way. The bill makes no sense. Let them have their licenses, leave school and find a job.

lifelongresidient 05/26/10 - 07:28 am
the root cause of high

the root cause of high schooler dropping out...SORRY PARENT(S)

gnumbgnuts 05/26/10 - 08:03 am
Way to go SC. There are

Way to go SC. There are enough uneducated droolers behind the wheel as it is. Now you need to throw in some acedemic requirements to eliminate the disruptive. Let 'em walk.

mommie2 05/26/10 - 09:21 am
If they stay they are a

If they stay they are a discipline problem and ruin it for other students. If they drop out, they school report card shows a high drop out rate and therefore will probably not meet AYP. The schools want to raise standards but the federal government is tying their hands.

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