Bill pulling dropouts' licenses advances to S.C. Senate

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COLUMBIA --- A bill that would prevent teens who drop out of school from getting a driver's license is heading to the Senate floor after a Senate panel approved it Tuesday.

The bill, H. 3645, allows students to obtain a hardship waiver or launch an appeal if their license is yanked after seven unexcused absences. Eighteen-year-olds would not be affected.

Sponsor Rep. Tom Young, R-Aiken, told a special Senate Finance subcommittee that 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?' " Young said. "Every single one of them raised their hands."

The legislation, which other lawmakers have introduced before, drew criticism from some House members earlier this month who said the proposal overlooked the root causes of truancy.

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" into 11th grade.

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, the clerk of the Administrative Law Court, said the expected new cases would be "a tremendous burden."

She said the current caseload is about 6,500 a year, and that 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. But that would leave about $90,000 in new expenses associated with adding a hearing officer.

Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Hopkins, said Young's proposal would not go into effect until August 2011, which would give lawmakers time to set aside money.

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Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 05/26/10 - 03:41 am
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These are "drop-outs" we're

These are "drop-outs" we're talking here, right? How many of them do you think are going to follow the rules and do what's legally necessary to get a driver's license? They're just going to drive without one and worry about the consequences later. And that includes insurance, of course. I understand the rationale, but I just think there will be problems coming with this.

corgimom
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corgimom 05/26/10 - 08:34 am
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What a useless waste of time,

What a useless waste of time, money, and courts.

fish2
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fish2 05/26/10 - 11:53 am
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Start the draft back for

Start the draft back for drop-outs and all the boot camp kids. The military could and has helped a lot young people with no since of direction. There is something to be said about a bad [filtered word] drill sergeant showing you how to keep yourself and others alive in combat. To have pride and respect for yourself and others. Working together as a whole to make things happen, and start back the full GI bill for incentive.

corgimom
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corgimom 05/26/10 - 07:42 pm
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Fish2- would you want your

Fish2- would you want your child's life to be dependent on a high school dropout or a criminal?

And they won't take underage kids except for very unusual circumstances- they have found it's just not a good idea, for the service or for them. They just don't have the maturity that's needed, and they have a very high washout rate- leaving them worse than when they started.

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