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DC DMV Testimony Before Committee on Transportation and the Environment

Monday, September 19, 2016

Public Hearing on

Bill 21-708 “End Taxation Without Representation Amendment Act of 2016”

Bill 21-759 “Bicycle Awareness Motor Vehicle License Plate Amendment Act of 2016”

Bill 21-784 “Women Veteran License Plates Establishment Amendment Act of 2016”

Bill 21-0814 “Department of Motor Vehicles Extension of Deadlines Amendment Act of 2016”

Testimony of Lucinda Babers, Director Department of Motor Vehicles

 

Monday, September 19, 2016
Room 500
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
 

Good morning Chairperson Cheh, members and staff of the Committee.  I am Lucinda Babers, the Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles.  I am pleased to testify before you today on three bills introduced by the Council and one bill submitted by the Mayor. 

Bill 21-708 is the “End Taxation Without Representation Amendment Act of 2016.”  This Bill requires DMV to add the phrase “End Taxation Without Representation” to the standard motor vehicle identification tag, and to require the Mayor to design and issue a new motor vehicle identification tag that includes the phrase “We Demand Statehood.”  The Statehood tag would require a $51 application fee and annual $26 display fee.  Although the Administration supports this Bill, we believe the Bill should clarify that organizational tags, which currently must include the name of the organization at the bottom, would be exempt from the requirement to include the “End Taxation Without Representation” phrase.  Additionally, due to tag space limitations, motorcycle and autocycle tags would also need to be exempt from including the phrase. 

Currently, DC DMV has “www” website tags which can be issued to residents who do not want the current tag displaying the “Taxation Without Representation” phrase.  The alternate tag was made available due to concerns related to whether a jurisdiction could require a resident to display tags which may be political in nature.  Therefore, the Council should take this into consideration since the District has a law which makes it illegal for residents to use tag coverings as a means to cover the phrase.

Bill 21-759 is the “Bicycle Awareness Motor Vehicle License Plate Amendment Act of 2016.”  This Bill requires the Mayor to issue a motor vehicle identification tag with a bicycle awareness design that includes an image and wording to educate motorists on the 3-foot overtaking and passing a bicycle rule.  The tag would require a $25 application fee and annual $20 display fee.  The Administration supports this Bill.

Bill 21-784 is the “Women Veteran License Plates Establishment Amendment Act of 2016.”  This Bill authorizes a women veterans’ license plate, establishes display fees and requires the majority of the fees to be used by the Office of Veterans Affairs for outreach and to improve women veterans’ awareness of eligibility for veterans’ services and benefits.  The tag would require a $25 application fee and biennial $10 renewal fee.  The Administration supports this Bill.  However, there is a concern as to how the tag will be designed to display the mandatory “Woman Veteran” phrase, in addition to the taxation without representation message.  Additionally, we recommend the fee structure be consistent with the Bicycle Awareness tag, which would be a $25 application fee and annual $20 display fee.

Bill 21-814 is the “Department of Motor Vehicles Extension of Deadlines Amendment Act of 2016.”  This Bill allows the Director of DMV to extend due dates for matters under the jurisdiction of the Department.  This includes due dates for the time period to adjudicate or pay a ticket, renew a vehicle registration, pass a vehicle inspection or renew a license or ID during periods of District government or DMV closures due to emergencies, administrative closures or similar events.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today, and I look forward to answering any questions the Committee may have.