The Michigan House this week took a step toward repealing parts of a law that imposes extra fees on drivers for certain traffic offenses.
A four-bill package to partially repeal the state’s driver responsibility fee program starting in 2012 unanimously passed the Democratic-led House on Wednesday and now advances to the Republican-led Senate.
The bills would repeal parts of a fee program enacted in 2003 in part to help prop up a sagging state budget. Some lawmakers consider the program unfair and say it makes driving and insurance more difficult to afford, particularly for low-income motorists.
Lawmakers have talked about eliminating or scaling back the program for years, but have never agreed upon a final package to do so. It’s not clear if this latest attempt will result in a new state law before the current legislative session ends in December.
The bills passed Wednesday would eliminate some of the responsibility fees for relative minor offenses, including an annual $200 fine for not having proof of insurance. Extra fees tacked onto bills for drivers with multiple speeding tickets or other offenses such as driving without a license or insurance also would be dropped.
Fees tacked on to more serious offenses such as drunken driving, reckless driving and manslaughter would remain in place.
Michigan’s driver responsibility fee program raises more than $100 million per year. Much of that revenue would be lost if the bills become law, although delaying fee elimination until 2012 means the proposal would not affect current budget plans.
The motorist fee bills are House Bills 4098, 4101, 4604 and 5603.