State Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) has announced she will introduce legislation to waive the fee for the state’s new “veteran” driver’s licenses.
Under a new state law, men and women who have served in the armed forces are eligible for a special drivers license that indicates their veteran status. There is no additional fee for those who want to receive the special designation when their license is up for its usual renewal. But one who wants to obtain the new special license before the old license expires will be charged $12.50 by the DMV.
“Our brave troops have already paid for that status—whether it be through combat overseas, long deployments away from their loved ones or going above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis—and to charge them a fee to show they have served is disappointing,” said Sen. Ritchie.
“It’s great that this was created as a way for our veterans to proudly show that they have served our country but I strongly feel that a fee for this special designation is unnecessary.”
The issue of veterans having to pay for the designation was brought to the senator’s attention by country clerks.
Ritchie herself is former St. Lawrence County clerk whose first senate campaign emphasized two issues related to the state DMV, first an effort to bank some DMV fees for the county by having her office solicit and process out-of-county vehicle registrations, and a successful effort she led to prevent the state from forcing people, for a fee, to replace vehicle license plates, even if the plates were in good enough condition not to require replacement.
Ritchie’s new bill would waive the special plate fee for the roughly one million eligible men and women in New York State.
Ritchie represents the state’s 48th Senate District, which includes St. Lawrence County from Waddington south to Edwards and Fowler and west to the St. Lawrence River, plus Jefferson and Oswego counties.