Lawmaker aims to end loan payment license suspensions

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montanans would no longer lose their driver's licenses for falling behind on student loan payments under a bill before state lawmakers.

Rep. Moffie Funk introduced House Bill 363 on Thursday in the House Business and Labor Committee.

Currently the Montana Department of Justice can indefinitely suspend various licenses of anyone who defaults on a student loan. That includes state-issued driver's, business and recreational licenses

Licenses are returned once the loan office tells the Department of Motor Vehicles that the payments are back on track.

Funk, a Democrat from Helena, called the current program for suspending licenses based on loan payments counter-productive, cumbersome and unwieldy.

She said suspending a person's driver's license likely also restricts that person's ability to repay a loan.

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