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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Bill Prohibits Drivers License Revocation For Student Loan Default

Rep. Moffie Funk (D) - HD82
Montana Legislature

A Montana law that allows the state to revoke peoples’ drivers licenses for defaulting on their student loans appears headed for the scrap heap.

On Friday a bill to take away the state’s revocation authority passed the Senate and is now headed to Governor Steve Bullock’s desk.

The revocation law was passed in 1997, and gives the state the right to revoke professional licenses, too, like ones needed to work as a nurse or engineer.

Helena Democrat Moffie Funk sponsored the new bill taking away that authority. She calls her co-sponsor, Billings Republican Daniel Zolnikov, a “strange bedfellow,” but was happy to have his support.

"When you can see a young, conservative Republican, and a mature, very progressive Democrat both feel that the bill is counterproductive, that says a great deal about the ridiculousness of the law," Funk said.

There are 21 other states where drivers or professional licenses can be revoked for defaulting on student loans. No one testified against repealing the measure in Montana, including the state’s Guaranteed Student Loan Program, which is responsible for collecting on defaulted loans.

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