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Governor signs repeal of abusive driver fees

It’s official. The civil remedial fees for motorists convicted of driving crimes ended today with the signature of Gov. Tim Kaine on Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1243.

The emergency legislation provides for refunds for those who have already paid a portion of the fees and excuses them from further payment. It even provides that a license can’t be suspended for failure to pay the fee. Motorists are still liable, however, for the fines and costs associated with the underlying criminal offense.

The law required motorists convicted of traffic felonies and misdemeanors to pay $750 to $3,000 over 26 months in three installments. The fees drew little notice when they were enacted as a relatively small part of a package to fund state transportation projects but was attacked after publicity when it took effect in July. They generated a firestorm of opposition over their high cost and their application to Virginians but not to out-of-state drivers.

It also became obvious that they would generate only a fraction of the $65 million annually they were originally expected to produce.
“In the earnestness of trying to solve the transportation issue, a mistake was made,” said Senator Edd Houck, the sponsor of SB 1. “This was simply the wrong way to go about funding transportation. And today is the day we correct all that.”

The governor issued a press release and another statement explaining it all.

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