Archive for Monday, March 27, 2006

Driver’s license pilot program at center of legislative debate

March 27, 2006


— The AAA office in Lawrence is at the center of a gathering fight in the Legislature.

Since May, the office at 3514 Clinton Parkway has contracted with the state to handle driver's license renewals.

Kansas Department of Revenue officials say the office has processed about 2,000 licenses, and saved the state $235,000 from not having to open a new motor vehicle office.

But insurance industry lobbyists have asked lawmakers to end the pilot project because they say the deal gives AAA an unfair advantage in marketing and selling insurance.

The House has passed a bill that would end the arrangement. Sen. Ruth Teichman, R-Stafford, who's chairwoman of the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, pushed for approval of the legislation last week in the Senate.

"This is very real to the insurers of the state," Teichman said. "This is not creating a level playing field," she said of AAA's arrangement.

But several senators defended the pilot project.

"We have before us a public-private partnership that saves us money and helps consumers," said Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina.

The Senate amended HB 2553 so that an independent study would have to be done on the project.

Both Lawrence senators - Marci Francisco, a Democrat, and Roger Pine, a Republican - voted for the amendment, which passed 19-15. The battle now goes to a House-Senate conference committee.


Richard Heckler 12 years ago

I say let AAA continue to administrate drivers lincenses. Before buying AAA insurance shopping around will get the best deal. I would assume all who are applying for license renewal do have insurance before entering the AAA doors.

ouroboros 12 years ago

Not only is the AAA drivern licensing office a good thing, it can be expanded to be even better. Currently, only existing licenses can be renewed; it could be expanded to allow for out-of-state transfers, and even new licenses. Instead of whining about AAA, other insurance companies should look into what "value-added" services they could offer too. Give them all a chance to bid on having the licensing concession every five or ten years. The current State Licensing Office is not conveniently located, and is only open four days a week.

Godot 12 years ago

If renewing a drivers license is so routine that an insurance agency clerk is authorized to do it, then why require people to show up in person to renew? What authority or accountability does an insurance agency employee have to issue government ID? Do it by mail, or on line. Save even more money.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

Those insurance agency employees have special training to screen against terrorists. Didn't you know?

Godot 12 years ago

"Kansas Department of Revenue officials say the office has processed about 2,000 licenses, and saved the state $235,000 "

What did the state actually pay for the program? Or does AAA do it at no charge to the state?

Confrontation 12 years ago

I think it's important that people have to physically go in and renew their licenses. This will insure that they have at least halfway decent vision and an updated photo. Plus, waiting in line teaches us the benefits of having an alternative to the DMV site. I wouldn't mind having DL renewal at grocery stores or other similar locations.

jcsmom 12 years ago

Godot - From what I understand by having the program at AAA the state isn't having to pay for anything. They just supplied the needed materials.

jhanni 12 years ago

To respond to Godot above, the state used existing equipment it had for the pilot program in Lawrence. The only out-of-pocket expense to the state was for a dedicated phone line that cost $300 a month, $3,600 a year. AAA provided all labor and overhead costs at the Lawrence AAA office. AAA collected a $2 transaction fee which is the same fee charged by most county treasurers who also provide this service in other parts of the state, to defray a portion of AAA's costs.

Godot 12 years ago

I would assume, then, that the business expected to receive the benefit of name recognition and the exposure to advertising (signs in the business for insurance products) for providing this free service to the state.

kansas_prairieland 12 years ago

Figures that "big insurance" would be against this idea!

And it looks like the state is gonna cave in and bend to "big insurance's" wishes and stop this sort of thing from continuing.

Ah, the power of powerful lobbyists!!


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