Tag Archives: Hope Network

State continues move to phaseout driver responsibility fees

Former 90th District State House Rep. Bill Haveman and Kentwood District Court Judge William Kelly mark the second phase of the elimination of the driver responsibility fees.
Former 90th District State House Rep. Joe Haveman and Kentwood District Court Judge William Kelly mark the second phase of the elimination of the driver responsibility fees.

You are pulled over by the police for a headlight being out on your vehicle. You receive a defective equipment ticket and you forget to pay the ticket, so your driver’s license gets suspended. You get pulled over again and this time you are cited for a suspended driver’s license and not only end up paying fines for the suspended driver’s license, but also, a few weeks later, receive a $500 driver’s responsibility fee. Then a year later, you receive another notice from the State of Michigan for a second $500 driver responsibility fee.

 

Now those fees are only one year as the second wave of phasing out the driver responsibility fees took effect on Oct. 1, 2016.

 

“A lot of people were calling the state and asking what the second bill was for,” said Kentwood District Court Judge William Kelly, who with former 90th District House Representative Joe Haveman, lead the charge to abolish the state’s driver responsibility fee.

 

kell2“People would say “Didn’t I already pay this?’ and “Why I am getting hit again with this fee?’ It really became a punishment on a group of people who really could not afford it.”

 

On Monday, Kelly hosted a small celebration marking the second phase of the gradual elimination of these fees.

 

“When we brought this before the state government, there was some hesitation because it is such a revenue generator for the state,” Kelly said. Enacted in 2003 when the state was in an economic recession, the fines generate about $100 million for the state treasury. However, about $600 million in fees have gone delinquent or unpaid since the fees were put in place.

 

Kentwood District Court Judge William Kelly cuts the cake as former State House Rep. Bill Haveman watches.
Kentwood District Court Judge William Kelly cuts the cake as former State House Rep. Joe Haveman watches.

“I have a woman who has come into this court and because of the vicious cycle the fees create, now has 56 driver responsibility fees,” Kelly said. This is because if a person does not pay the fee, his/her license can be suspended. If the person gets caught driving with a suspended license, they will get another driver responsibility fee and so the cycle goes.

 

“They can’t pay the fines unless they work, yet they can’t work because they have no way to get there since their license has been suspended,” Kelly said. “In the end, for many, the only way to get out from under these fines is to declare bankruptcy.”

 

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the driver responsibility fee reduction in 2014. Both Judge Kelly and Haveman were on hand for the event.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed the driver responsibility fee reduction in 2014. Both Judge Kelly and Haveman were on hand for the event. (Supplied photo.)

In 2013, Kelly meet Haveman and the two decided to tackle the driver responsibility fees. The following winter, Haveman presented a bill to eliminate the fees and through a compromise, it was agreed that the fees would be gradually eliminated. The first phase took place last year, with fees being 100 percent the first year and 50 percent the second. On Oct. 1, that was reduced to just a one-year fee assessment. On Oct. 1, 2018, the fees will be reduced by 50 percent and on Oct. 1, 2019, the fees will be completely eliminated. Haveman noted that when he introduced the bill, he had the support of the entire house.

 

“There was some hesitation due to the revenue it generated but most were pretty much saying ‘Heck yes, this is the dumbest thing,’” said Haveman who is now the director of government relations at Hope Network. Haveman was forced out of the State House because of term limits but before leaving, Haveman said he made it clear that this was the one item at the top of his bucket list that he wanted to complete before leaving.

 

“We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Kelly said. “We are very, very happy. Obviously, we wish we could have done it sooner, but we realize that a compromise was going to have to be made in order to get it done.”

 

So pleased is Kelly that he plans to celebrate each phase of the elimination. “So make sure to come back in October 2019. We should have a pretty big celebration then,” he said.

Legacy Trust Award Collection artists showcase their work at DeVos Place during ArtPrize

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The 2016 winners of the Legacy Trust Award Collection will showcase their artwork at DeVos Place during ArtPrize 2016.

 

Installation has begun for Josh Andrus, Paula Clark, Debra Dieppe and Hope Network Neuro Rehabilitation, who received top honors in the seventh annual LTAC competition for adult artists with disabilities. Sponsored each year by Legacy Trust, LTAC is a mini-art competition that supports four adult artists with disabilities by providing a cash prize, along with venue and marketing support to display their art in ArtPrize.

 

This year, 101 artists from Ada to Zeeland and the Upper Peninsula submitted artwork to the LTAC competition. In addition to two days of public voting at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, LTAC held online voting, which drew votes from throughout Michigan, across the U.S. and from other countries. Prizes and sponsorships were awarded to the two top vote-getters as well as one winner chosen by a panel of celebrity judges and one winner selected to receive the Lillian Perry Walker award.

 

This year’s Legacy Trust Award Collection will feature:

  • Andrus’s piece, “Cattails and Irises,” is an impressionistic acrylic painting inspired by nature walks and the flora found in his backyard. Andrus often turns to nature to unleash his creative spirit, which is apparent in many of his works. Andrus won one of the public votes.
  • Clark’s “Autumn Hues” is an abstract piece that utilizes acrylic paints in a sculptural and expressionistic way to form a fall landscape. Inspired by the rich hues found in the fall season, Clark expressed her love of nature through the piece. Clark received the celebrity judge award.
  • Dieppe’s “She Was Made of Magic That Only I Could See” is a mixed-media piece that expresses the importance of love in finding self-peace. Dieppe drew on personal traumas that have shaped her life to develop the hidden, but significant, imagery found throughout the piece. Dieppe won the Lillian Perry Walker Award, which is chosen by the LTAC steering committee.
  • is a 3-D exhibition of 28 paper masks, each created by a unique artist, that expresses how brain injury affected each artist or how they triumphed over brain injury. The piece is part of a national project to spread the word on the prevalence of brain injury. Hope Network also won the public vote.

 

“We continue to be inspired by the creativity each artist in the LTAC competition brings,” said Mary Ann Sabo, board chair of LTAC Arts, the nonprofit that supports the Legacy Trust Awards Collection. “The four winners truly encompass the spirit of LTAC and are wonderful representatives for the larger disabled community.”

 

This year’s celebrity judges included Richard App, owner of Richard App Gallery, Rosalynn Bliss, Grand Rapids mayor, Meegan Holland, special projects manager for Gov. Rick Snyder, Chris Smit, executive director of DisArt and David Thinger, artist and LTAC 2015 winner.

 

Legacy Trust will work with each of the four artists to market their entries, secure media coverage prior to and during ArtPrize 2016 and support their entries into the world’s largest art competition.  ArtPrize is slated for Sept. 21 through Oct. 19.