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Daily Legislative Brief from February 25, 2020

Legal & Judicial

HB 903 – Relating to Fines and Fees

On Tuesday, February 25, HB 903 by Representative Byron Donalds (R-Naples) was heard by the House Appropriations Committee and was reported favorable with 27 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.

Each of the 67 Florida counties has a clerk of court, an elected constitutional officer who oversees judiciary functions as the clerk of the county and circuit courts. The clerks are authorized to charge fees for performing various functions and collect court costs and fines related to a court disposition.

An indigent person may ask the clerk of court to allow them to enter into a payment plan for outstanding financial obligations owed to the clerk. If a fee, service charge, fine, or court cost remains unpaid for 90 days, and the clerk has attempted to collect the unpaid amount through an internal process, the clerk may forward the unpaid accounts to an attorney or collection agent. 

Under current law, a person's driver license can be suspended for various reasons, including:

  • Failure to a pay a court fee or fine.
  • Failure to comply with or appear at a traffic summons.
  • Having unpaid citations in another state.

The bill requires clerks of court to actively attempt to collect fines, service charges, fees, or costs owed before revoking the driver license of the person who owes the funds. Specifically, a clerk of court must notify a person owing funds of the potential to enroll in a payment plan to defer the payment of the amounts owed before revoking the person’s driver license. Once a payment plan is established, the clerk may provide a person who does not make a required payment with a delinquency notice and a grace period before revoking the person’s license. Additionally, the bill gives courts authority to waive, modify, or convert the outstanding amounts to community service, if the individual is indigent or due to compelling circumstances is unable to comply with a payment plan.

 HB 903 will now move to the House Judiciary Committee.

AIF supports legislation that clarifies regulations and keeps Florida businesses operating on our roadways.