repeal driver fees now how?

Brent Finnegan -- January 29th, 2008

It’s pretty much unanimous: the “abusive driver fees” General Assembly passed last year were a bad idea. So, the Assembly made it a priority this year to undo what they had done last year. Only one problem: a 130-year-old state Supreme Court ruling prohibiting lawmakers “from ordering local courts to stop collection of fees or fines that have already been assessed.”

From today’s Washington Post:

Senate Democrats had hoped to find a way to order the courts to stop collection of the second and third installments of the fees, which range from $750 to $3,050. But after consulting with the attorney general’s office, Sen. R. Edward Houck (D-Spotsylvania) uncovered a Supreme Court opinion from 1878 that suggests such a move would be illegal.

In Ratcliffe v. Anderson, the Supreme Court stated that the General Assembly “oversteps its authority when it passes legislation to invalidate or otherwise reopen a court judgment or decrees.” Subsequent rulings have been upheld, according to a memo distributed to lawmakers.

Senator Mark Obenshain, who voted against the fees last year, has a pithy quote in today’s Post: “We need to provide the immediate relief that citizens deserve.”

4 Responses to “repeal driver fees now how?”

  1. Bubby says:

    Under (Ken) Stolle’s (R- Virginia Beach) proposal, a person convicted of a crime that triggers a fee would have been able to go back to court to ask a judge to revoke it so the violator wouldn’t have to make the second and third year of the payments. The court could also issue refunds for first-year payments. But the judge could grant the request only if the defendant was found guilty of an offense that didn’t “endanger life, limb or property.”

    …so you return to court and petition for relief, hoping that the judge doesn’t have a bad attitude.

    “This is just another lawyers relief act,” Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) said.

    Got that right.

  2. reagandem says:

    Jeez, can’t a lawyer get a break here? I here Del. Albo’s firm already had the reimbursement pleadings drafted!

    But seriously, Sen. Deeds is right. No one should have to hire counsel to get relief from this stupid idea.

  3. Lowell Fulk says:

    Please grant me the honor of a phonecall?

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