BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Without objection, a House panel killed a bill Monday eliminating vehicle inspection stickers across much of Louisiana.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, would have replaced the inspection process with a mail-in form. Rather than taking the car to a garage to be inspected, car owners would instead sign a form saying their car was road-worthy.
"We're continuing to hold on to something that's antiquated and not any use," said Bagley.
Pointing to the fact that many parishes currently allow people to get inspections every other year, Bagley argued the inspection process is no longer about safety and is, instead, a money grab by the state. Part of the inspection fee goes to state police and the Office of Motor Vehicles, totaling a combined $7 million each year. The remainder of the money goes to the service station that performed the inspection.
Under the proposal, individuals would still have to pay $10.50 when submitting the form. They would, however, no longer be required to go to the service station.
"My issue was make it easier for me, and for you, and the citizens, and give them something," Bagley said. "We're always asking them to give us something. We want to give them something back."
Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia, joined many on the House panel in slamming the bill. The former head of state police, Landry argued at a time when budgets are stretched thin, police alone cannot monitor every car across the state to ensure they are safe.
"There's more to an inspection than just what meets the eye. It's the exhaust system, it's the height of the vehicle," he said.
Others worried getting rid of most inspection requirements could hurt family-owned garages and shops across the state that rely on inspections to bring in new customers.
"There is an impact on small businesses anytime we're taking money out of the revenue stream," said Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley.
Even if the bill had become law, several vehicles across the state would still be required to get an inspection, including school buses and commercial vehicles such as taxis and Uber vehicles. The rule change would also not apply in five parishes – Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, and West Baton Rouge – where special emission inspections are required under federal law.