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Anyone renewed their Washington Registration since July 15th, 2015?

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AutoPilot Nostradamus
Aug 28, 2014
North Bend, WA
Curious if anyone has renewed their Washington registration for an electric vehicle since July 15th and if so what if any Electric Vehicle Fee you've been charged.

The governor signed the transportation bill on July 15th:
SB 5987 - 2015-16

It modified the current law to add a new $50 license fee on top of the existing $100. But it also removed the clause that made the $100 license fee start in February 1, 2013. Then it adds a new clause that makes both fees take effect in July 1, 2016.

So I believe this means that the Electric Vehicle fee was repeated on July 15th, 2015 until July 1, 2016. I'm curious what the Department of Licensing has been charging people.
I renewed two EVs earlier this month. I am pretty sure they both included the $100 fee; but I am not positive, and don't see it listed on the paperwork or at MyLicenseExpress.

If you go HERE you can theoretically calculate your fees; presumably it will show a breakdown so you can see. I can't do it because my tabs aren't due now.
I renewed two EVs earlier this month. I am pretty sure they both included the $100 fee; but I am not positive, and don't see it listed on the paperwork or at MyLicenseExpress.

If you go HERE you can theoretically calculate your fees; presumably it will show a breakdown so you can see. I can't do it because my tabs aren't due now.

Yeah mine aren't due until February, so the website won't calculate the fees for me. I'm asking because I wouldn't be surprised if the Department of Licensing is charging it even though the law changed.
I'm traveling for business this week. But I plan to try and follow up with my Legislators and the Governor's Office regarding this issue. I would advise anyone with a pending renewal to pay the fee as charged. I would expect if they should not be charging it they will issue refunds.
This is the message I sent to my representatives and the Governor. I didn't get to it till this morning.

It has come to my attention that the DOL is charging the Electric Vehicle Fee after July 15, 2015:

SB 5987 (Transportation Bill) was signed and took effect July 15, 2015. As I read the bill the Electric Vehicle Fee was repealed until July 1, 2016 when it returns at $150. Section 203 of that bill removes the starting date of February 1, 2013 for the $100 fee and adds a new $50 fee. Section 204 says "Section 203 of this act applies to vehicle registrations that are due or become due on or after July 1, 2016."

Which I believe means that the Electric Vehicle Fee has been repealed (intentionally or not) until July 1, 2016. What do you believe is the correct interpretation of the law?

DOL just directs people here, which has not been fully updated:
RCW 46.17.323: Electric vehicle registration renewal fee. (Contingent expiration date.)

SB 5987:
SB 5987 - 2015-16
I've received the first response from one of my representatives on Friday and didn't post it immediately since it seemed they misunderstood what I was saying. But after further communication it is clear that they just aren't interested in the issue.

From a Legislative Aide to Representative Chad Magendanz, 5th Legislative District (I'm not posing their actual name and contact info, but I feel it's appopriate to post the office they are representing.):
Thank you for asking about how the electronic vehicle fee provision of SB 5987. I apologize for the late response, but I had to check with staff about the language of the bill to make sure I was giving a proper response.

The underlying law is not effected by a bill unless the words for the collection of the fee are lined out like this “((require the applicant to pay a one hundred dollar fee))” or a specific section is stated to be repealed. Neither of these things have been done in the law. The $100 fee remains in place in the statute and can be collected.

The removal of the February 1, 2013 date does not affect the ability to collect the fee. Legislation is usually drafted with implementation dates when the legislators want to postpone an activity beyond the 90-day date when a bill becomes effective. Once that day is passed, and the collection is started, the date no longer is a barrier, so staff routinely go in and remove those dates in subsequent legislation.

I apologize if this is confusing to you, but I hope I have answered your question.

Again, thank you for reaching out to our office. I hope you have a good weekend!

I responded trying to clarify the problem:
What you say is correct but you've focused on the wrong aspect of what was
changed in SB 5987 that in effect stops collection of the $100 fee until July
1, 2016.

The removal of the February 1, 2013 start date is indeed not important here.
If that was the only change then you'd be correct that removing the start date
is unimportant. Rather what is important is the old and the new fee are in
Section 203 of SB 5987 and a newly added Section 204 says:

Section 203 of this act applies to vehicle registrations that are due or become
due on or after July 1, 2016.

You don't mention it as one of the ways existing law can be modified, but I'm
pretty sure an entirely new section placing limitations on the existing text
can cause this sort of modification.

I suspect this may have been a drafting error. Someone probably intended for
Section 204 to be drafted to say that "Section 203 (4) of this act applies to
vehicle registrations that are due or become due on or after July 1, 2016."

But that is unfortunately not what the laws says and unless I'm missing
something I believe the effect of Section 204 of SB 5987 is to repeal the
Electric Vehicle Fee until July 1, 2016.

I'm sorry if my original email about this was less than clear on this front but
I had limited space to explain.

The response I received was as follows:
There is no drafting error. I have spoken to staff about this bill, and I don't have further analysis for you unfortunately. It will not change any time soon. I'm sorry, but if you would like to see the law changed, write about it when the legislators are here for session.

Which in opinion makes me feel like they just want me to go away. I have no interest in changing the law. But as I read the law the legislature has repealed the Electric Vehicle Fee until July 1, 2016.

I've done further research and the Revised Code of Washington is usually updated in the fall and towards the end of the year. But given the multiple special sessions it will probably be delayed. By coincidence Jay Rodne, one of my representatives, is on the Statute Law Committee that is responsible for overseeing the Code Reviser that produces the RCW. So far no response for that office or my Senator or the Governor's office.
In the last week I've received some further responses.

On September 30th, The Executive Assistant to the Policy & Legislative Director of the Department of Licensing sent me the following email (apparently in reaction to my correspondence with the Governor's Office):

[FONT=&quot]I just wanted to let you know that we are meeting our attorney general tomorrow to discuss this interpretation on this and will get back to you soon afterwards.

I also received the following response from the Senior Legislative Assistant to Senator Mark Mullet on October 2nd:

That is not a correct interpretation of the law. In July 2016 the fee will be increased to $150. It is better to read the "Final Bill Report" on legislation to understand the meaning.

The bill report says this:
"Beginning July 1, 2016, the existing $100 electric vehicle fee is expanded
to include plug-in electric hybrids vehicles and an additional $50 fee is added. Proceeds
from the fees are first used to reimburse the Multimodal Transportation Account $1 million
and the remainder is deposited to the Motor Vehicle Fund. An electric vehicle infrastructure
bank is created. The purpose of the bank is to provide financial assistance for the installation
of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations in Washington.”

The fee was increased to account for the new gas tax that has already gone in to place this year. However, there is a silver lining to the additional fee. The fee will now partially go into an infrastructure bank that will be used exclusively for building new charging stations. This is a big policy win for electric vehicle owners and something Senator Mullet fought hard for.

Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

I haven't heard anything further. But I just sent this response to Mark Mullet's legislative assistant.

I really appreciate the response and Senator Mullet's support of incentives to encourage the adoption of Electric Vehicles in the State of Washington.

I understand why the fee was increased and about how the proceeds from this fee are going to be used, which I understand to be perhaps the best compromise that could be achieved given the political environment.

However, the Final Bill Report has no force of law. It seems to be in conflict with what the actual law says. In fact the Final Bill Report includes the following at the bottom of the first page

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Which seems to clearly imply to me that if the law says something different that the law controls.

As I see it this all depends on how you view the effective date of the law. Which the Certificate of Enrollment covers as follows:

EFFECTIVE DATE: 7/15/2015 - Except for Sections 103, 105, and 110,
which become effective 7/1/2016; Section 108, which is contingent;
and Sections 323 and 325, which become effective 1/1/2018.

Which means that Section 203 and 204 are effective July 15, 2015 and that means that there is no Electric Vehicle Fee due except for "vehicle registrations that are due or become due on or after July 1, 2016."

Can you explain how this analysis is incorrect?