Tue May 27, 2014
Drivers’ Licenses: Costing More, but Lasting Longer
It looks like the cost of a driver’s license is going up—but so is the length of time between renewals.
“The fee will be more, but it’s a six year fee, so over time it’ll be the same,” explains Franklin Foil.
The Baton Rouge representative authored the measure increasing both the cost and expiration dates for all Louisiana drivers’ licenses. A basic license, which now costs $21.50 and is good for four years, will be going up to $32.50, and will be valid for six years.
“Per year, it’s the same fee,” Foil testified to committees hearing his bill. “We just spread it out over six years.”
State budget cutbacks have created longer waits at the Office of Motor Vehicles, and a recent efficiency report is suggesting closing at least 18 OMVs as a way for the state to save even more money. State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson suggested the longer license period as a convenience for Louisiana drivers.
“Thirty-six states do this,” Col. Edmonson told lawmakers. “Texas does it. Mississippi is an eight year driver’s license.”
“There’s no magic about the 4-year number?”, Norco Senator Gary Smith queried Edmonson. “I mean, it could have been any number that they chose back when we created the statute, so there’s nothing magic about 4 years?”
“No,” Edmonson confirmed.
“And it doesn’t automatically give another two years to current license holders?” Smith pressed.
“No, it’s upon renewal of your driver’s license,” Col. Edmonson replied.
A similar bill, by Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor, is scheduled for House final passage Wednesday. Rep. Foil’s House version, if approved by the full Senate, would put the changes into effect for all renewals beginning July 1, 2015.