Efforts by the Virginia General Assembly to repeal the abusive driver fees have run up against a very old case from the Virginia Supreme Court:
RICHMOND, Jan. 28 — Efforts to repeal Virginia’s controversial abusive-driving fees hit a snag Monday after lawmakers discovered a 130-year-old state Supreme Court ruling that prohibits lawmakers from ordering local courts to stop collection of fees or fines that have already been assessed.
Since the fees went into effect July 1 to help finance a transportation bill, more than 1,000 motorists convicted of felony and misdemeanor offenses have been ordered to pay the fees, which are assessed over three consecutive years. One option under review is to ask motorists to finish paying the installments and then issue a refund.
Several legislators say the complication, which comes as the House and Senate have been racing to make the repeal their first legislative achievement this year, is another sign that they made a mistake in establishing the fees last year.
“Had we asked these questions, had all of this been asked and answered in 2007, this bill would have never been approved by the legislature,” said Sen. R. Edward Houck (D-Spotsylvania). “This is an example of bad legislation.”
Gee, do you think ?