For years Ohio law stipulated that vehicle registrations expire on the owners’ birthday.
The stickers on a license plate, however, only indicate the month the plates are to be renewed and some motorists have considered the month as if it is a grace period even if their registrations were actually expired.
That ended last year, when, as part of the state’s transportation budget bill, the legislature approved a $20 penalty fee for the late renewal of drivers’ licenses and license plates.
In October, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles began collecting the fee from every vehicle owner who renewed plates and licenses more than a week after the birthday deadline.
Citing figures from the BMV, State Representative Randy Gardner says more than 320,000 Ohioans have been hit by the fine since it went into effect.
Last week he signed on as a co-sponsor of a bill that would repeal the fine.
“Many people view this penalty as excessive and not the appropriate way for government to raise revenue,” he said. “This penalty should have never been passed in the first place. Just because it’s the law today doesn’t mean we shouldn’t end it. That’s what our bill will do.”
Gardner voted no on the transportation bill and said Representative Ron Amstutz, a Republican from Orrville, O., and Representative Sandra Harwood, a Democrat from Niles, O., have signed onto the bill.
Gardner said he expected the bill to be formally introduced this week in the House of Representatives.
The BMV did attempt to notify vehicle owners of the change in policy, issuing a press release and posting a warning on its Web site. It also notes the change on registration notices.
Driver licenses are renewed every four years and vehicle registrations are renewed annually or bi-annually.