Oklahoma lawmakers passed numerous bills raising fines, fees (The Oklahoman)

By Rick Green

The Oklahoma Legislature passed a number of measures this year that may raise fines or fees.

A one-time, $5 fee to pay for new license plates will generate an estimated $18.5 million, plus an additional $4 million through increased compliance with registration laws.

Another measure increased court fees for divorce and related matters, which will raise $11.2 million for the state. A third doubled court costs for drunken driving and misdemeanor cases, which will generate $2.2 million in new revenue.

“When you see these fee increases, that’s in part because of shortfalls caused in part by the Legislature having cut taxes,” said Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt.

“It’s fair to ask the question whether we are better off raising money for state government through income taxes or raising fees imposed on traffic violations or court processes.

“From our perspective, the fee increases on folks involved in the justice system are especially problematic. We already know Oklahoma has high fees. They are increased time and again. This is trying to fund the system on the backs of mostly low-income people and indigent, struggling people, often driving people deeper into debt. Some people end up spending time in jail or prison simply because they are unable to pay fines.”

Most of the bills affecting fees and fines did not include fiscal analysis statements. Some merely granted authority to agencies to change their fee schedules.

Legislation changes:

House Bill 3208: Estimated to generate $18.5 million from a new license plate fee, and an additional $4 million from enhanced compliance.

House Bill 3220: Estimated to generate an additional $11.2 million. Increases certain court fees.

Senate Bill 1610: Estimated to generate an additional $2.2 million. Increases the amount a court clerk shall assess on certain cases.

Senate Bill 1198: No fiscal estimate provided. Authorizes the labor commission to develop a new schedule of penalties and fines for violations of the Oklahoma Occupational Health and Safety Standards Act.

Senate Bill 1199: No estimate provided. Authorizes the labor commission to establish a schedule of administrative fees for the registration and inspection of amusement and other rides.

Senate Bill 200: No estimate provided. Authorizes the labor commission to make rules establishing a schedule of administrative fees for the registration, inspection and operation of boilers, pressure vessels and steam lines.

House Bill 2482: No estimate provided. Concerns application and renewal fees for multistate licenses.

Senate Bill 1388: No estimate provided. Allows the Grand River Dam Authority to create fees for camping and use of off-road vehicles to offset the cost of policing and maintenance.

Senate Bill 359: No estimate provided. Modifies the distribution of the fees assessed when a person who was not carrying compulsory insurance retrieves their license plate from the sheriff.


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