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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Clerk did not collect fee at Erie County DMV’s while advocating legislation

Erie County, NY – Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs today commended the New York State Senate for unanimously passing legislation (Senate Bill S5955A) eliminating the fee for a veteran’s distinction on driver’s licenses and non-driver identification cards prior to their renewal date. Last month, the State Assembly unanimously passed the companion legislation (Bill A8321A) 129-0.

In 2013, a law was enacted to allow honorably discharged service men and women the option of having their veteran status on driver’s licenses and non-driver identification cards. However, the State DMV interpreted this law to require a Veteran to pay a $12.50 amendment fee to add the veteran status when requested prior to the renewal date.

According to Jacobs, several years ago New York State extended the license renewal period from 5 years to 8 years, which forced veterans to have to wait the entire 8 year renewal period or pay the amendment fee to obtain a veteran’s distinction.

“For our honorable veterans to be forced to wait 8 years or pay an additional $12.50 fee to obtain a distinction on their license is simply wrong and why I advocated so strongly for legislation to eliminate this unnecessary burden on our veterans,” stated Jacobs.

A strong advocate for veterans, Jacobs had urged New York State DMV Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala to reevaluate charging the additional fee of $12.50 that veterans would be required to pay. Jacobs also wrote to his colleagues in the Western New York Delegation encouraging them to adopt legislation prohibiting the additional fee for a veteran’s distinguishing mark on a driver’s license or non-driver identification.

“I am pleased that both the Senate and Assembly unanimously adopted this legislation that honors our veteran community for their service;” Jacobs said. “I strongly believe this designation on New York licenses and non-driver identification cards should be a benefit conferred to the New York State veteran community free of charge and not a revenue generator for Albany. I respectfully urge the Governor to sign this legislation into law as soon as possible.”