Michigan lawmakers approve stiffer penalties for unpaid parking tickets

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 2/8/2012

Facing drastic revenue shortfalls and budget cutbacks while trying to pay for services expected by the public, Michigan lawmakers approved a bill to provide a boost for local governments.

The Senate voted 27-11 to advance a bill to Gov. Rick Snyder that would tap unpaid parking tickets to generate revenue. The state would be allowed to block driver’s license renewals for people who accumulate three or more unpaid parking tickets in the same community.

House lawmakers already approved the bill – SB130 – with changes on a 58-48 vote.

Michigan law requires six or more unpaid parking tickets from the same community before a hold can be put on a motorist’s driver’s license renewal. People found in violation can get their licenses renewed only after paying the overdue fines and a $45 clearance fee. Local governments receive one-third of the fee.

Supporters say that communities stand to receive a shot in the arm for transportation funding if the bill goes through. A legislative analysis states the city of Detroit has $30 million in outstanding parking tickets.

Others say the change is good for motorists, too, because it would force them to pay sooner rather than later when larger parking fines and late fees add up.

Critics are concerned about the likelihood of more motorists driving without valid driver’s licenses and without insurance.

A change made to the bill in the House would sunset the stricter rule in 2018 and revert to six unpaid tickets needed for sanctions.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Michigan, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.

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