Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Michigan judge said he warned General Assembly about the failure of civil remedial fees

This article in the Washington Post, which was referenced in a comment to one of our earlier posts, includes additional details supporting much of what we wrote: much of the money is not collected, leading to additional license suspensions "creating a permanent underclass;" in New Jersey (and Michigan as we noted) studies showed that "there is no way to determine whether the fees 'conclusively impact highway safety;'" Michigan "has issued 750,000 suspension notices for failure to pay the fees;" and a Michigan judge said that prior to passage of the bill he "e-mailed all 140 legislators [in the General Assembly], explaining why he thought the program was a failure in Michigan." A study commissioned in New Jersey in response to complaints about the program found the fees disproportionately effected lower income residents, but the recommendation was not to abandon the program because "it's an integral part of New Jersey's finance system." Henry County Commonwealth's Attorney Bob Bushnell said "The way this thing works out, it is going to have an absolutely ruinous effect on financially challenged Virginians. . . To my knowledge, no one from the police was consulted. [Commonwealth's Attorneys] weren't consulted. The court clerks weren't consulted. Had it come up, I think the General Assembly would have been aware of all kinds of concerns from Virginians about the unanticipated downside to this program."
In another article, Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, now says he opposes increased fees on bad drivers."