Presentation, discussion and possible action regarding the Drivers License Division-Driver Responsibility Program, to include discussion of the Vendor Management HQ-08-37 contract extension; Legislative intent for DRP implementation; possible action to develop an incentive, indigence, and amnesty program for drivers charged with DRP fees; and vendor results for collection under the contract.Having not seen the alternative proposal I can't say much about it, but it's my hope that Commissioners will go ahead and approve the citizen petitioners' request for a public hearing on the proposed rules, at a minimum putting both proposals in the Texas Register for public comment instead of just the General Counsel's. They can always amend them however they like down the line.
My fear is that DPS will propose only an Indigency program - and a more chincy one than will be mandated by law in 2011 - and ignore their statutory authority to also create real Amnesty and Incentive Programs, which help a lot more people and resolve some of the administrative problems created by a large backlog.
I also fear the staff proposal won't include the suggested rule change to allow drivers to get their license reinstated by getting back on to a surcharge payment plan. Right now if someone defaults and their license is suspended, they must pay the surcharge back in full before reinstatement. We're talking about hundreds of thousands of drivers who find themselves in this financial predicament. Those who can afford to pay, do so. Those who can't often choose just to drive without a license or insurance.
That's why I've often called the name of this surcharge - the "Driver Responsibility Program" - "Orwellian," because it actually promotes driver IR-responsibility on a massive scale and worsens public safety.
That said, I just haven't seen their proposal yet. I'll know more later today.
I'm going to get off the blog and get ready for the meeting, and will report on the results when I get back. In the meantime, see these prior Grits posts on the proposed citizen petition and the Driver (Ir)Responsibility Program:
- Suspeding drivers licenses for economic crimes problematic here and abroad
- Petition for new Driver Responsibility rules filed today
- Proposed DPS rule would create new Indigency Program for 'Driver Responsibility' surcharge
- PSC plans to cancel contract with Driver Responsibility fee collection vendor
- DPS wrong to delay indigency program for 'driver responsibility' surcharge
- Department of "Public Safety" or "Collections"?
- Indigency program mandated for 'driver responsibility' fees?
- Senate would let judges reduce misnamed 'driver responsibility' fee
- On the limits of the justice system as tax collector
- 70% of 'Driver Responsibility' fees go unpaid
- Bad TX law fills road with unlicensed drivers, jails with non-crooks
- More than 10% of Texans currently wanted by police
- Driver Responsibility fee had unintended consequences, say prosecutors