- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2016

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - In a story June 24 about the state’s windfall in license plate renewal late fees, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the full Senate did not act on a House bill giving motorists a 30-day grace period. The Senate voted 59-0 on May 31 to pass the bill with an amendment and send it back to the House, which has until Thursday to take final action.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Illinois windfall from license plate late fees exceeds $5M

The state of Illinois now has collected an extra $5 million in license plate renewal late-fees after lawmakers did not take final action to get tardy motorists some relief during their spring session

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The state of Illinois now has collected an extra $5 million in license plate renewal late fees after lawmakers did not take final action to get tardy motorists some relief during the spring session.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s decision not to mail reminders about renewals - a cost-saving measure during the political standoff over the state budget - is earning the state more than twice the amount in $20 late fees this year compared with the same time last year.

The full Senate voted 59-0 in May to pass a House bill giving motorists a 30-day grace period during which police couldn’t issue tickets for having expired stickers. The Senate action included an amendment that sent the bill back to the House, which has until Thursday to take final action under an extended deadline. Both chambers of the Legislature are scheduled to convene on Wednesday.

Illinois has collected $9.5 million on about 476,550 late fees so far in 2016 compared with $4.3 million on about 214,500 late fees during the same time in 2015, Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker told the Belleville News-Democrat (https://bit.ly/28Q9LuW ).

The state stopped sending renewal notices in the mail in October, saying it couldn’t afford the $450,000 in monthly postage costs due to the lack of a state budget. Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders in the state Legislature haven’t agreed on a 2016 budget and are poised to start fiscal year 2017 on July 1 without a budget for a second year in a row.

Drivers who go longer than 30 days without renewing their $101 license plate stickers face an additional $20 late fee.

Republican state Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon, a co-sponsor of the House legislation, said the late fee is an “unjust penalty.”

“People are pretty concerned that the state didn’t remind them when they were used to getting notices,” Kay said.

About 2.3 million drivers are signed up to receive email renewal reminders at www.cyberdriveillinois.com, Druker said.

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