Monday, February 21, 2011

What's the one thing Leo Berman and John Whitimre agree on? Abolish the Driver Responsibility surcharge

Okay, there may be more than one (if you include stuff like compass directions), but the headline refers to the fact that both state Sen. John Whitmire and state Rep. Leo Berman have filed bills this session to abolish Texas' Driver Responsibility Surcharge. Whitmire's bill is SB 624, while Grits discussed Berman's HB 299 here. Chairman Whitmire, a conservative Democrat (to the extent such rare beasts still exist) runs the Criminal Justice Committee and is the "Dean of the Senate," its longest serving member. Berman is a Tea Party darling (and my hometown, rep, fwiw) perhaps best known for legislation clamping down Arizona-style on illegal immigration. It'd be hard to find a better example of the adage, "politics makes strange bedfellows," but what this tells me is that, as a government program, the Driver Responsibility surcharge is an equal-opportunity public-policy catastrophe, with observers from every ideological stripe agreeing it should be abolished or radically scaled back. The main source of hesitation will be discontinuing the revenue stream (which has never lived up to expectations) but the program seems to gain new critics with every new election cycle.


Craig Sykos said...

I have a friend that is trying to send some information to Scott Henson for his blog. I can not find your email anywhere on your blog. Can you please send me an email so that I may reply to it.

Constance Filley Johnson said...

Kudos to both Legislators! I fully support the bills and stand ready to provide numerous examples of the hardships and frustrations the surcharges and DRB have imposed on Texas drivers. Grits readers, please join me in contacting the bills' authors to voice your support. As always, many thanks to Scott Henson for keeping us in the loop.

Constance Filley Johnson,
George Filley Law Firm
Victoria, Texas

I'veGotNoUseForTheLonghornCow said...

Hell Yeah. Looks like this might actually happen now, with support from both sides, sorta. Does anybody know if the amnesty program might be expanded past its current asinine cut off date of 2008? Also, does the legislation allow people penalized by the old program REAL amnesty? Will they now be able to go get there licenses renewed, or will they still have to pay the old fines, I mean surcharges, of a (hopefully) now defunct program? There are people still serving life sentences for Marijuana seeds or one joint back in the 60's. They all made parole after the law changed, but they are all still ON parole till they die or secure a pardon. This seems to be the status quo in texas. While other states continue to retroactively apply such statutory changes, Texas does not. I cannot see them changing their way of legislating now. If you fall under an old lege, your just fucked. No retroactive application in this "Great" (puke) "State".

Anonymous said...

I support killing DRP. A clerical error (on a dismissed no insurance ticket) on the part of City of Converse Texas landed me in DRP, my license was suspended, and i lost a Job opportunity requiring a CDL, which i discovered my license was suspended when i went to DPS to get a CDL permit. Cost me the job i quit, and the one i was supposed to start, and took over a month to straighten out, cost me thousands (no income, as well as the storage of personal property and some other preparatory expenses). So this doesn't just harm bad drivers, it harms everyone. This little incident was a mere 8 months ago and i am still financially recovering from it. and My license was reinstated no fees. The intent of this is simple, with the implementation of this program,the Texas Legislature urinated on the constitution and asked the citizens to hold their D*** while they did it. failure to abolish it is no less brazen.

Rodney Dunbar
San Antonio Texas