BOSTON (AP) _ House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on a bill that would end the state's longstanding policy of automatically suspending for up to five years the driver's licenses of people convicted of drug offenses.

The deal announced Tuesday by a six-member conference committee would also eliminate a $500 driver's license reinstatement fee for convicted drug offenders.

The automatic suspensions were put in place in the 1980s as part of a get-tough approach to drug crimes.

Supporters of the bill to end the practice say it only makes it harder for people who have served their sentences to return to society.

The compromise would keep in place the five-year suspension for people convicted of serious drug trafficking crimes, while allowing them to apply for earlier reinstatement for hardship reasons.