|Eric R. Dinallo
The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on April 26, 2007, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Motor Vehicle Law Enforcement Fee
1. Will the annual motor vehicle law enforcement fee decrease from five dollars to one dollar effective July 1, 2007?
2. If so, will the issues addressed in Supplement 1 to Circular Letter No. 10 (2003) - which provides guidance to insurers regarding the implementation of the 2003 amendment to Insurance Law § 9110 - still apply?
Pursuant to Senate Bill S. 2106-C, 2007 Leg., 230th Sess. (N.Y. 2007) (Assembly Bill A. 4306-C, 2007 Leg., 230th Sess. (N.Y. 2007)), which was signed by Governor Spitzer on April 9, 2007, the annual motor vehicle law enforcement fee will not decrease from five dollars to one dollar effective July 1, 2007. Therefore, Supplement 1 to Circular Letter No. 10 (2003), and the specific issues it addresses, applies as is.
The inquiry is of a general nature, without reference to particular facts.
Insurance Law § 9110 pertains to the inquiry. It states in relevant part:
(a) Every insurance company authorized to do business in this state shall annually collect, in addition to the applicable premium charge, a motor vehicle law enforcement fee charged to each holder of a policy issued in the state or for delivery in the state for motor vehicle liability insurance coverage.
(b) The annual fee is hereby imposed at the rate of five dollars per insured motor vehicle registered pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (b) of subdivision one of section four hundred one of the vehicle and traffic law. Such fee will be paid monthly by insurance companies to the superintendent on or before the fifteenth of the month next succeeding the month in which such collections are received.
As originally enacted, Chapter 62, pt. Q, § 7 of the Laws of 2003, which amended Insurance Law § 9110, increased the annual motor vehicle law enforcement fee from one dollar to five dollars through July 1, 2007. On that date, the amendment was to sunset, at which point the annual motor vehicle law enforcement fee would revert to one dollar. However, on April 9, 2007, Governor Spitzer signed Senate Bill S. 2106-C (Assembly Bill A. 4306-C) which delays the expiration date to July 1, 2008 for the 2003 amendment made to Insurance Law § 9110(b). The relevant section of S. 2106-C (A. 4306-C) states:
§ 22. Section 7 of part Q of chapter 62 of the laws of 2003, amending the insurance law and other laws relating to motor vehicle law enforcement fees, as amended by section 1 of part G of chapter 56 of the laws of 2006, is amended to read as follows:
§ 7. This act shall take effect immediately, provided that sections one, two and three of this act shall take effect June 1, 2003; and provided further that the amendments made to subsection (b) of section 9110 of the insurance law made by section one of this act shall expire and be deemed repealed on July 1,  2008 and the provisions of such subsection shall be read as such provisions existed on the date immediately preceding the effective date of this act…
Therefore, the annual motor vehicle law enforcement fee remains at five dollars until July 1, 2008, at which point the fee will decrease to one dollar, unless the Legislature again delays the expiration date. As a result, Supplement 1 to Circular Letter No. 10 (2003), and the specific issues it addresses, applies as is.
For further information you may contact Associate Attorney Pascale Jean-Baptiste at the New York City Office.