April 11, 2019
Among the more urgent tasks of the 86th Texas Legislature is the continuation of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, and state Sen. Dawn Buckingham‘s (and Sen. Brian Birdwell‘s) SB 604, renewing and amending some duties of the agency passed the Texas Senate on Thursday.
The department is due to expire under Sunset rules on September 1st.
A Sunset review of the TxDMV was generally positive but there were recommendations that are taken into consideration in the bill.
As Sen. Buckingham told the Senate, the bill “eliminates unnecessary licenses, streamlines administrative processes to allow department staff to focus on more critical agency functions.
“It also makes several statutory changes that provide the department with mechanisms necessary to better protect the integrity of vehicle titles and registrations while combating illegal and fraudulent activities, especially within the salvage industry.
“It requires the agency to strengthen its partnership with local tax assessor-collectors and better identify instances of title registration fraud, when and where it occurs, and includes several recommendations designed to increase transparency, rule making processes, ensure contested cases are handled appropriately and clearly define the role of the board and agency operations.”
Board members would be required to have training under an amendment to the bill, which would also make specifications regarding salvage yards.
A second amendment from Sen. Robert Nichols requires training for some dealers.
A third amendment from Transportation committee Chair, Sen. Charles Schwertner incorporates a plan to make sure owners of renewable-power vehicles are paying their share of road taxes, calling for a study of possible new taxes on the registration of such vehicles.
A fourth amendment from Sen. Jose Menendez failed, which called for online registration, applications, approvals, receipts and stickers to revert from third-party vendors (who gained access to the system in 2016 to simplify the registration processes) back to local tax assessor-collectors.