Once again, Texas lawmakers target fees for driving offenses (HB1145)

In what has become a rite of spring in the Texas Capitol, work began Wednesday on legislation to dismantle the Driver Responsibility Program, one of the most despised yet persistent policies to bedevil lawmakers in recent sessions.

By adding three years of extra fees for certain driving offenses, then taking away the driver’s license of anyone who doesn’t pay, the program has placed a significant number of low-income Texans into a cycle of debt that has solidified opposition from liberal Democrats, tea party Republicans and many lawmakers in between.

But the fees have also funneled significant sums toward trauma hospitals — about $55 million annually in recent years — supporting a crucial safety net across Texas.