House Votes Unanimously in Favor of Bill to Suspend Delinquent Motor Vehicle Sticker Late Fees

The supplemental fee for renewing a motor vehicle sticker is automatically charged whenever the owner of the motor vehicle delays filing a renewal slip and paying the vehicle license renewal fee. If the fee is paid on time, the driver will get a decal from the office of the Illinois Secretary of State to attach to the steel license plate on the relicensed motor vehicle. If the fee is not paid on time, the driver is required to pay an extra supplementary fee to re-license the motor vehicle, and the vehicle may also face the possibility of a police stop as a result of driving with an expired tag.

Until FY16, Illinois drivers received letters from the Office of the Secretary of State shortly prior to the expirations of their existing stickers. The letters contained friendly reminder notices intended to nudge the driver/vehicle owner to file the renewal application, pay the fee, and get the sticker. Unfortunately, the Secretary of State’s office no longer sends out these reminder notices. They point out that their agency has not gotten appropriated funds for its needs from the State of Illinois since the start of FY16 in July 2015. This explanation confuses Illinois drivers, who are well aware that the motor vehicle license renewal fees that they are required to pay every year contain more than enough to cover the costs of a robot mail piece.

A bill passed by the Illinois House on Tuesday, April 12 could help Illinois vehicle owners. HB 4334 carves out a fee holiday during periods when the license sticker warning notices are not being sent out. The fee holiday shall last as long as the period of time the warning letters are not being mailed. A second partial holiday, to last 30 days from the expiration of each’s vehicle sticker, is provided in this bill for motor vehicle drivers to use as an affirmative defense in court if they face a police citation for expiration of their motor vehicle license sticker. The House vote on HB 4334 was 114-0-0, and the bill was sent to the Illinois Senate for further discussion and debate.