Kaye Beach

Crackdown on uninsured drivers weighed to help fill state budget gap

In Issues on February 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm

The 2009 Legislature considered signing a contract with InsureNet.

A bill that would have required the Department of Motor Vehicles to sign a contract with the company died after the state agency complained it would duplicate an in-house insurance verification system. DMV officials also criticized the bill because it was written so that only InsureNet would qualify, giving it significant leverage in negotiating financial terms.

But InsureNet’s overtures might be more appealing now, as the governor and legislative leaders are working to close the budget hole without raising taxes.

Hettrick said InsureNet would be asked to put up a bond for as much as $100 million. The company said the state could earn $160 million the first year from penalties assessed against drivers, he added.

Some legislators, though, raised privacy concerns.

“The idea of using cameras is anathema for many Nevadans,” Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said. “It screams Big Brother … It hasn’t been done successfully in any other state that I know of.”

Read more;


Nevada lawmakers skeptical of camera system to catch insurance scofflaws

By Anjeanette Damon
February 11, 2010 17:44 PM

In an all-out search for new revenue to help plug a growing budget hole, Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons is reconsidering a measure to allow a private company to set up a network of roadway cameras to catch insurance scofflaws in the state.

The bill was rejected by the Nevada Legislature last year, after a high-profile lobbyist attempted a last-minute maneuver to get it passed.

Since then, the state’s fiscal crisis has worsened, prompting some to say the idea should be revisited if the Michigan-based company can prove it would generate enough revenue in the next year.

“It would be a significant revenue source if they can do anything near what they say it would do,” said Lynn Hettrick, Gibbons’ deputy chief of staff. “But we would have to be able to book revenue or it would be a waste of our time.”

Under the proposal, the company, InsureNet, would build a network of license-plate scanning cameras on Nevada roadways. The system would compare the license plate to insurance information in the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications system.

Uninsured motorists would be sent a citation. The company would keep a portion of the fine, and the rest would go to the state.

The system could net Nevada more than $100 million a year, InsureNet spokesman Wayne Pettigrew said.


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