The Virginia General Assembly has cleared legislation to advance to Gov. Tim Kaine’s desk that would rid the state of so-called bad driver fees.
House and Senate lawmakers approved the compromise versions of two bills – SB1 and HB1243 – to repeal the high fees applied solely to Virginia drivers and refund all fees collected. Payments still due also would be waived.
The driver’s licenses of the 100 or so motorists who lost their driving privileges for failure to pay the fees also would be reinstated.
The Senate version would repeal the fees. The House version is classified as “emergency legislation” that would take effect as soon as it is signed into law.
Virginia lawmakers have spent a lot of time this year revisiting one of the most contentious issues in their state in recent years. The problem stems from fees and fines included in the massive $3 billion transportation bill approved a year ago.
The transportation package was several years in the making when Gov. Tim Kaine signed it into law. Since the law took effect July 1, public opposition about the fines for certain driving violations has led many lawmakers – including the governor – to call for change.
The fees for violations made by “bad drivers” are payable in three annual payments ranging from $250 to $1,000. They were expected to generate $65 million a year for transportation. However, about $6.5 million had been collected since last summer.
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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor