Texas Opinion: Time to move NOW on Driver Responsibility surcharge abolition (HB2048)

The Texas Legislature has its best-ever chance to abolish the Driver Responsibility surcharge before it in HB 2048 (Zerwas). All the major interests have signed off. Early in the session, leadership appeared prepared to (finally) move on the issue, and the bill was voted out of committee in early April.

But the legislation remains stuck in the House Calendars Committee and has yet to be considered, much less set for a vote, on the House floor. Although officially, the last House calendar is May 7, bills must be placed on a calendar several days before – probably by the 1st or the 2nd – to be heard before the deadline for the House to consider House bills.

Every legislator knows about problems with the Driver Responsibility surcharge because they all get constituent calls from people whose lives have been ruined by this ill-conceived government boondoggle. Nobody likes the program who’s not receiving money from it. But those special interests were so powerful, the money had to be found for the program to go away.

HB 2048 solves that problem through several sources. It increases fees on traffic offenses by $20 and adds a $2 fee to auto insurance policies.