I called Rep. Berman's office to ask about the bill and he answered the phone himself. He said he filed HB 299 because he considers it "Double jeopardy, triple jeopardy, even quadruple jeopardy" to require payment of surcharges for three years after the traffic ticket has been paid.
At least half a dozen constitutents from Smith County have approached him about the surcharges, said Berman, some of whom couldn't pay both the surcharge and the cost of insurance. He said he'd rather them pay their insurance bill and drive with liability coverage than pay the state and drive without it.
Berman said he's "not satisfied with the effort made" regarding new DPS rules governing the surcharges - particularly the fact that drivers currently paying them won't receive a break - and said it's time to abolish the program entirely.
See related Grits posts:
- Does DRP amnesty punish those who play by the rules?
- Finally! Indigence, Amnesty rules approved for Driver Responsibility Program
- DPS Director: No public safety benefit from Driver Responsibility Surcharge
- Amnesty, Indigency rules for Driver Responsibility Program finally published
- Prosecutors altering charging decisions to avoid Driver Responsibility surcharge
- Driver surcharge boosting Texas joblessness
- Unexplored costs from DPS surcharge harm safety, the economy
- Driver Responsibility surcharge 'devastating' for court system
- Bill author says 'overly punitive' Driver Responsibility surcharge a 'mistake'