DOVER — A bill to raise Division of Motor Vehicles’ fees, the product of more than six months of negotiations, is set to be voted on in the Senate today — the final hurdle before it can go to the governor.
But passage is far from guaranteed for what has become a divisive piece of legislation.
House Bill 140, which would hike a variety of DMV fees, has been fiercely opposed by Republican leadership in the General Assembly, even as Democratic leaders try to argue that it shouldn’t be a partisan issue.
The higher fees would enable state government to take in about $24 million more per year.
The bill needs Republican minority support to pass the Senate. It had received only the votes of Democrats in the House in May. Since then, legislators have continued meeting behind closed doors to discuss the fee hikes.
Neither side has given much in recent months.
Republicans want major changes to the state’s prevailing wage law and said Democrats have been unwilling to grant concessions. Democrats replied that Republican members are demanding too much and are “playing politics.”
Minority Whip Sen. Greg Lavelle, R-Sharpley, said Wednesday evening he thinks there is a good chance the bill will not pass before the legislative session ends Tuesday. Should the proposal fail to garner the necessary votes the state would be unable to fund some road and bridge projects, officials claim.
Top legislators, as well as other state officials, have held a number of meetings since December. Meetings could continue until a solution is found, Sen. Lavelle said.
While he said the bill may not find success in the chamber today, Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark, is more optimistic.
He is presenting House Bill 140 to the floor.
“It’s important for the state,” he said. “If we’re going to be a good place to live, work, raise a family and start a business, we have to have infrastructure that supports all this. We don’t want to be holding things together with duct tape and string.”