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Relating to the repeal of the driver responsibility program and the amount and allocation of state traffic fine funds; eliminating program surcharges; authorizing and increasing criminal fines; increasing a fee.
Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB2048, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a positive impact of $9,928,928 through the biennium ending August 31, 2021. The General Revenue-Dedicated Designated Trauma Facility and Emergency Medical Services Account No. 5111 would experience a revenue gain of $6,826,000 through the biennium.
The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.
HB 2048 would repeal the driver responsibility program. Existing DRP related fee obligations would be forgiven and people whose licenses are suspended solely for failure to pay DRP fees would have their licenses reinstated.
Trauma facilities and emergency medical services, which fees for the driver responsibility program had funded, would receive funds from gifts, grants, donations, other fees, and any legislative appropriations. This bill would also increase the fees and penalties for being convicted of driving while intoxicated. The bill would also increase the state traffic fine from $30 to $50 and reduce the amount a municipality may keep as a service fee for collecting the fine from five percent to four percent.
Texas Action recommends supporting HB 2048 because it promotes our principles of limited government and individual liberty. The Driver Responsibility Program as it currently stands is a well-intentioned program which, like many well-intentioned government programs, turned out in actual practice to be very burdensome, costly, and deeply frustrating for citizens. This system creates a cycle where people are unable to pay heavy fines that pile up over time. With this in mind, we support the repeal of the DRP.
We would support an amendment to strike the provision increasing the state traffic fine to $50. People are already subject to numerous overly-burdensome fines and fees. Increasing this fee by 66% simply gouges motorists all the more.