Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today released the following statement regarding the introduction of legislation that would address long-term Driver Responsibility Fee debt:
“I look forward to working with lawmakers to close this painful chapter from Michigan’s lost decade. Driver Responsibility Fees are over and above traffic tickets and fines imposed by a court. The fees are a costly, double penalty on working families added automatically, without the opportunity for a court to review the circumstances as with normal tickets. Too many Michigan residents now can’t drive because of these automatic fees, limiting their ability to find work, and it’s starting to hurt local businesses who can’t find enough qualified employees. We have to acknowledge that much of the money owed to the state is simply uncollectible, and we must find a solution that allows hard-working, law-abiding Michigan residents living paycheck to paycheck get their driver’s license back.”
Johnson voted against Driver Responsibility Fees in 2003 as a state representative. As secretary of state, she has advocated for repealing the Driver Responsibility Fee law, successfully pushing lawmakers to eliminate the most common fees in 2011, create a community service option for certain fees in 2015 and begin phasing out all fees.