Illinois EPA has stopped mailing vehicle emissions test notices
Budget gridlock in Springfield has caused the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to stop mailing notices of vehicle-emissions-test requirements to vehicle owners.
Budget gridlock in Springfield has caused the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to stop mailing notices of vehicle-emissions-test requirements to vehicle owners. The agency stopped mailing notices in December 2015.
Vehicle owners must pass a vehicle emissions test in order to renew their license plates. The Illinois EPA has traditionally sent notices to vehicle owners four months ahead of the owners’ emissions test deadlines.
This is just the latest state-budget-induced hassle for vehicle owners, and comes on the heels of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office’s announcement in September 2015 that it would stop mailing vehicle-registration renewal reminders to vehicle owners in an effort to save $450,000 per month.
Without the mailed renewal-reminder notices, the secretary of state’s office reported that 19 percent fewer Illinois vehicle owners renewed their registration in November 2015 compared with November 2014, and renewals through Dec. 28, 2015, stood at approximately 302,000 compared with December 2014’s 475,000 renewals, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Illinoisans can expect more late vehicle-registration renewals amid the additional delays that will come with the stoppage of mailed vehicle-emissions-test reminder notices.
Illinoisans who are late to renew their vehicle registrations are subject to a fee of $20 in addition to the $101 renewal fee, and anyone driving with expired registration risks traffic tickets as well.
Illinois state Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, has sponsored legislation to alleviate the inconvenience and expense the lack of mailed registration-renewal reminders has caused vehicle owners. House Bill 4334 would give vehicle owners a 30-day grace period to renew their vehicle registrations if they are ticketed for expired license plates due to the lack of a reminder notice from the secretary of state’s office, the Chicago Tribune reports. Lawmakers have also drafted an amendment to the bill, which would include a grace period for vehicle emissions testing.
Illinois vehicle owners can sign up online for email reminders for both registration-renewal deadlines and vehicle-emissions-test requirements. Drivers who do not sign up for email notifications will need to renew their registrations in person, as they will not have the necessary personal identification numbers for online renewal.
Illinois is in its eighth month without a budget, and its unpaid bills total more than $6.9 billion.
Although switching to electronic reminders to save money is not a bad idea, the abrupt stoppage of mailed vehicle-emissions-test reminders and vehicle-registration reminders necessitated by the budget stalemate has subjected thousands of Illinoisans to unnecessary fines and fees. Legislative grace periods may be necessary under the circumstances, but the real, long-term solution lies in the General Assembly’s passing a budget the state can afford.