Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's all about money. Good grief...

House Bill 401 will raise $24.5M for the state all in the name of public safety. Yippee. And, it's from a Republican (Don Trahan), for cryin' out loud.

Here's the digest:

Abstract: Creates the Driver Responsibility Program under which points are assigned for convictions for motor vehicle violations and penalties are imposed on drivers who accumulate a certain number of points within three years. Also provides additional penalties for DWI convictions. Provides for implementation of the program by the OMV. Dedicates revenues to highway construction.

Proposed law creates the Driver Responsibility Program to be implemented by the office of motor vehicles (OMV). The program consists of a uniform system of assigning points to the driver's license of a person who is convicted of a violation while operating a motor vehicle and the assessment of surcharges on drivers who accumulate points.

Proposed law assigns points, ranging from three to six, to numerous specific violations. Provides for the annual assessment of surcharges against any driver who accumulates six or more points in a three-year period. The amount of the surcharge is $100 for the first six points and $25 for each additional point.

Proposed law further provides for an additional annual surcharge for any offense relating to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated within the previous three years: $1,000 for a first offense, $1,500 for a second or subsequent offense within three years, and $2,000 for any offense if the driver's blood alcohol concentration was .16 or more.

Proposed law provides for notifying drivers who have surcharges assessed against them. Provides that the driver must pay the surcharge or enter an installment plan within 45 days after the notice is sent or his license will be suspended. Provides for the suspension of the license if a required installment payment is not made. Authorizes payment of surcharges by credit card.

Proposed law authorizes OMV to enter a contract for the collection of surcharges. Not more than 30% of revenues collected may be used to compensate the contractor, and the contract is subject to prior approval of the House and Senate transportation committees. Requires that proceeds of the surcharges be submitted to the treasurer and, except for the cost of implementing and administering the program, credited to the Transportation Mobility Fund. The Transportation Mobility Fund is created by present law to dedicate money to certain very large road construction projects. Authorizes OMV to adopt necessary rules and regulations. Requires OMV to implement the program by 1/1/08 and to impose surcharges for offenses in 2008 and thereafter.

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