Secretary of State Ruth Johnson on Wednesday testified in front of the House and Senate Michigan Competitiveness Committees in support of a bipartisan package of legislation that would eliminate Driver Responsibility Fees.
Calling much of the fees owed to the state “uncollectible” and an impediment to job creation, Johnson encouraged lawmakers to provide Michigan residents who still owe the fees ways to resolve the debt.
“The far-reaching impact has been simply devastating to the people we serve,” Johnson told committee members. “Too many Michigan residents lost their licenses because of these automatic, excessive fees which meant they couldn’t take their kids to school or get to work. And that, in turn, hurt families and local businesses who couldn’t find enough qualified employees.”
As a state representative in 2003, Johnson voted against Driver Responsibility Fees. As secretary of state, she has pushed for repealing the Driver Responsibility Fee law, successfully pushing lawmakers to eliminate the most common fees in 2011, create a community service option for certain fees in 2015 and begin phasing out all fees.
Driver Responsibility Fees were for various traffic violations, including non-moving violations, on top of regular traffic citation fines and court costs. Unlike traditional court fines and fees, the automatically assessed Driver Responsibility Fees cannot be waived or reduced by a judge.