Democratic Majority In The Senate Successfully Leads The Charge To Repeal Abusive Driver Fees
(Richmond, Va.) – The controversial House Bill 3202, passed during last year’s General Assembly session, took another hit today when the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates overwhelmingly voted to repeal a cornerstone of the House Republican’s transportation plan – the reviled abusive driver fees.
Last year, House Republicans touted their efforts to reform transportation by passing abusive driver fees and regional authorities – an idea the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional last week.
In July, House Speaker Bill Howell was flanked by then-majority leader Walter Stosch declaring their desire to fix the abusive driver fees.
In the meantime, Democratic Senators were mounting their efforts to repeal the legislation.
Senator Edward Houck (D-Spotsylvania) began working on the repeal in July, composing an official letter stating his plan to repeal the abusive driver fees and later contacting the Senate Clerk’s office to begin drafting Senate Bill 1, which repeals the abusive driver fees.
“Today completes our efforts to repeal one of the biggest mistakes I have seen this General Assembly make,” Senator Houck said. “The abusive driver fees were the product of legislators looking to sneak fees and taxes onto citizens without them noticing. Well they noticed and they clearly said, ‘These fees are not the right way to go.’ The repeal is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.”
It was reported out of conference committee today and passed overwhelmingly through the Senate and the House.
In addition to repealing the fees, the bill also includes a mechanism to refund those already assessed an abusive driver fee.
Senator Roscoe Reynolds (D-Henry) deputy floor leader and member of the conference committee which reported Senate Bill 1, noted that repealing the abusive driver fees was a legislative priority for the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus.
“We came into this session with clear goals and priorities which included repealing the abusive driver fees. These fees originally passed because legislators where looking for a quick fix on transportation. They wanted to try and hide fees and assess them on people who wouldn’t notice. This was a bad piece of legislation and I’m glad we were able to correct this problem and repeal the abusive driver fees,” Reynolds said.
Newly elected Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) was involved in the committee conference.
“This is a clean repeal and sets up a streamlined process to refund these fees,” Petersen said. “As a caucus, we worked together as a team to get this thing done, and now we look forward to working on a real plan to fix our transportation problems.”
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