Legislator calls fees a huge government overreach
State Rep. Steven Johnson today voted for a bipartisan legislative package to end driver responsibility fees and forgive outstanding debt, ending what he called a huge government overreach that needed to be eliminated.
Johnson, of Wayland, said a past administration conjured up the fee system to cover up a budget shortfall in 2003. Because of driver responsibility fees, hundreds of thousands of people have incurred debt, lost driving privileges and, in many cases, been forced to depend on public assistance to provide for their families.
“This is a case of a cash-short government sticking its hand in the pocketbooks of Michigan residents and making it nearly impossible to make ends meet,” Johnson said. “Local governments were already getting court costs and other fines, and the state added these fees on top of that to get a piece of the action.”
Johnson said the legislation advanced today, ending the fees in October 2018, gives people who lost their driving privileges a chance to legally get behind the wheel of a car again.
“Under existing law, many of the people paying driver responsibility fees had their driver’s licenses revoked, leaving them without a reliable way to go to and from a job,” Johnson said. “This legislation gives them an opportunity to regain driving privileges and return to the workforce.”
The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
The bills are House Bills 5040-5046, 5079 and 5080.