LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos on Thursday voted to eliminate Michigan’s punitive driver responsibility fees (DRFs).
“Michigan’s driver responsibility fees are an unfair double penalty that makes it difficult for many residents who have made a mistake to regain their license and get back to work,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I was proud to support legislation to finally get rid of these over-the-top fees and give relief to thousands of Michigan residents struggling to provide for their families.
“Let’s turn the page on this chapter of the Granholm era and help affected workers get back to helping build our economy.”
Senate Bills 609-615 and 624-625 would eliminate assessment of new DRFs as of Oct. 1, 2018 and forgive any outstanding DRFs older than six years on a rolling basis. The bills would also enable drivers who cannot pay their fees to get their license back immediately and pay the DRFs through community service or a workforce training program.
“Driver responsibility fees unfairly punish Michigan drivers for violations that have already been penalized,” Proos said. “The result has been an enormous negative impact on working families and our economy. Many Southwest Michigan residents lost their driver’s license and often their job because they could not afford to pay the fees. Now, growing Michigan businesses are being impacted because the fees are artificially limiting the availability of skilled workers.”
Proos previously supported a reform to phase out the fees. Under the reformed law, no new DRFs will be issued after Oct. 1, 2019, but already assessed fees would still be collected.
“It is time to end this counterproductive program and provide relief and options to drivers with outstanding fees,” Proos said. “In addition to hurting workers and employers, the vast majority of the fees owed in Michigan will never be collected because low-income drivers will never be able to pay them.”
Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.