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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Measure sent to Governor could increase driver's license costs

  • Oklahoma drivers could end up shelling out $12 more to renew their licenses every four years if Gov. Mary Fallin signs SB 652.
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    Oklahoma drivers could end up shelling out $12 more to renew their licenses every four years if Gov. Mary Fallin signs SB 652.
     
    The bill was sent to the Governor’s desk this week. If signed, the new rates would become effective on Nov. 1.
     
    Kelly Biggs of Shawnee wasn’t really surprised to hear about the potential increase.
    .
    “Everything around us is going up and it has been for while,” she said.
     
    The cost of issuing or renewing a standard driver’s license is currently $21.50 and would increase to $33.50 under the proposal. The cost of various commercial licenses also would go up by $10.
     
    Wellston resident Connie Payne, who said no one ever wants prices to go up on anything, said the move could be beneficial.
     
    “I hate to pay more,” Payne said, but added if it will help the state and provide benefits, then she’s all for it.
     
    The fee hikes are expected to generate about $8.7 million and allow the Department of Public Safety to hire 22 driver's license examiners across the state. In many areas, long lines and wait times have been reported for those taking driver’s license tests because of staffing shortages. The funding from the increased license fees also would help with revenue needs for public safety.
     
    “This was huge for us to better serve the public," said Major Rusty Rhoades, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety. "I think everyone agrees the biggest issue is in our driver's license division. That’s where we have our biggest need."
     
    Rhoades said the agency, which had 138 driver’s license examiners in 2006, now has fewer than 100 statewide.
     
    Rhoades said the additional revenue generated through the fees will provide the revenue necessary to pay for nearly all of the items outlined in the agency's budget request, including upgrades to its communication system, increased costs of its digital driver's license contract, technology upgrades and facility improvements for driver's license testing.
     
    Before it was sent to the Governor for her decision, the measure was approved 30-15 by the Senate after first passing the House.
     
    Watch for updates.
     
    --
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
     
     
     
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