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Houston City Council will kick around an idea to force scofflaws to pay overdue traffic fines today, or no car registration until you pay up.

NEWS 92 FM’s Martha Martinez explains:

The idea comes from Municipal Court Presiding Judge Barbara Hartle who suggests an agreement with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles where the state refuse to issue vehicle registrations to people who have outstanding traffic fines.

As proposed by Hartle, an investment of $20,000 a year into compiling lists of scofflaws and coordinating with the state would yield more than $400,000 a year. The proposal would also need the cooperation of the Harris County Tax Assessor’s Office ,which issues the vehicle registrations.

Well, it just so happens that the newly-elected tax assessor Mike Sullivan, who takes office in January, is currently a city council member. It would seem that everything is falling into place.

But, not so fast. Sullivan, the guy leaving council to become tax assessor, thinks its a bad idea. He tells the Houston Chronicle that, “it’s nothing more than an attempt to have the county collect fees and fines that the city should collect on its own.”

When a similar proposal was made two years ago to collect red light camera ticket fines, tax assessor Leo Vasquez refused, and a Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman said that only a county tax office can refuse vehicle registrations due to non-payment of  fines. If that’s still the opinion of the DMV, it appears the City of Houston proposal is DOA, dead on arrival.

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Houston Considers Preventing Car Registration For Delinquent Fines  was originally published on