Becomes first lawmaker from Western New York to co-sponsor the measure
New York State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-I- Buffalo, today announced he will co-sponsor legislation to waive the fee for the state's new "veteran" driver's licenses, becoming the first Western New York legislator to support an effort to drop the fee.
Under a new state law, men and women who have served in the armed forces are eligible for a special drivers license, permit or non-driver identification card 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. For those who want to obtain the new special license before their old license expires, it was announced it would cost each individual $12.50 for the new license. The legislation is bill number S5953.
"The brave men and women who served in the military have already paid for that status by going above and beyond the call of duty," Grisanti said. "To charge them a fee in order for them to display they have served is disappointing. While it is great that this was created as a way for our veterans to proudly show that they served our country, I feel charging a fee for this special designation is completely unnecessary."
Grisanti, who serves on the Senate's Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, interacts with veterans throughout the 60th District on a regular basis.
"Imposing this DMV 'transaction fee' on our veterans is unnecessary, especially considering the sacrifices they have made," Grisanti said. "I am proud to join my colleague, Sen. Patty Ritchie, in calling for its immediate suspension. In the meantime, I do hope that all veterans who live in Western New York will take advantage of this service."
Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs also recently sent out a letter to lawmakers urging them to support the legislation.
"I am in full support of Sen. Grisanti's legislation to waive this fee. This license designation should be a benefit conferred on the New York state veteran community free of charge for their service and sacrifice for our country," Jacobs said.
Additionally, various veterans groups and organizations across the state have joined Grisanti and Ritchie to ask the fee be waived.
"The VFW is in full support of this bill," said VFW State Commander Michael Pascal. "It is our belief that if a veteran served his country, a $12.50 fee should not imposed on the veteran to prove his veteran status. The state should be willing to waive his fee due to the price paid by the veteran for serving his country. There is no need for a veteran to pay $12.50 for a license update that is going to make it safer for the veteran by them not having to carry around their DD214s."
The proposed bill would waive the fee for roughly 1 million men and women living throughout New York who have served in the military.
Grisanti currently represents the 60th Senate District, which includes parts of the City of Buffalo, the northtowns and the southtowns. Grisanti is chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee and currently sits on the finance, cities, cultural affairs, tourism, parks and recreation, higher education, infrastructure and capital investment, insurance, labor and veterans, homeland security and military affairs committees in the Senate as well as the MS Legislative Alliance for the Senate.