Here is an interesting article with Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and State Representative Pete Lucido (R-Shelby Township) giving their perspectives on state road funding and the current road conditions in Macomb County.
In January, the Michigan House overwhelmingly made steps toward accelerating the elimination of a law that trapped drivers into a never ending cycle of poverty (House Bills 5040-5046, 5079, 5080) from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2018 and allow for current drivers who would like to regain their driver’s license lost to the inability to pay the driver’s responsibility fee an option for community service to pay off their debt.
The driver’s responsibility fees were originally implemented as a revenue generator to balance the budget in the mid-2000s and have impacted many drivers who can not afford to pay the fees and in turn have their driver’s license suspended. People are then either driving illegally or are unable to keep their jobs, further failing into debt. Michigan is one of five states that employ mandatory indefinite suspension without regard to ability to pay.
The bills, as passed by the Michigan House, would reinstate the community service option or a workforce training program for individuals who would like to regain their Michigan driver’s license before forgiveness of driver responsibility fees takes effect on Oct. 1, 2018.
The Governor had concerns about the budgetary impact of the elimination and the inequality of those that have started to pay back or paid off their fees being treated unfairly than those who have not paid and would be given full amnesty. The House and Senate started with identical legislation but the Senate changed their bills to forgive about half of the remaining outstanding fees, those older than six years, while collecting the rest as fees are phased out. The House wanted to remove the fees altogether.
However, as the House and Senate Bills moved through the legislative process, some changes to the legislation were made and signed into law by the governor. The bills included in this package, which can be viewed at www.legislature.mi.gov are House Bills 5040, 5041, 5043, 5044, 5046, 5079 and Senate Bills 613 and 625. Those changes which were signed into law are:
Driver’s Responsibility fees will no longer be issued and any outstanding debt will be forgiven beginning Oct. 1, 2018;
Drivers who have entered into an installment agreement with the Department of Treasury and have continuously made payments will have any remaining debt forgiven and can apply to have their license reinstated;
Drivers who did not arrange payment plans will be able to apply to have their license reinstated beginning Oct. 1, 2018 in which the $125 reinstatement fee will be waived if those drivers apply before Dec. 31, 2018;
For those who are enrolled in Workforce Development Programs will be able to have their fees waived and licenses will be reinstated upon completion of the program
The Secretary of State has set up a help line 888-767-6424 and information is also available on the Secretary of State website at www.michigan.gov/sos to assist those who have had their drivers’ license suspended due to unpaid fees.
Additionally, the Michigan Department of Treasury has a help line 517-636-5240 for those drivers who have been affected by these fees and information is also available by visiting their website at www.michigan.gov/driverresponsibility.