If Gov. John Bel Edwards signs bill, aid coming for Louisiana motorists with lapsed auto insurance _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Rep. Patricia Smith, left, D- Baton Rouge, listens as Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge, talks to her at Smith's seat Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at the State Capitol, shortly before House members voted to approve Senate amendments to House Bill 245 by Marcelle that would allow motorists with lapsed auto insurance to pay their debt and keep their driverÕs license. The bill won final legislative approval, and now goes to the desk of Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Without debate, a bill that would allow motorists with lapsed auto insurance to pay their debt and keep their driver’s license won final legislative approval Tuesday.

The House approved the measure 94-0, endorsing changes approved earlier by the Senate.

The measure, House Bill 245, now goes to Gov. John Bel Edwards.

The legislation stems from an uproar last year when motorists were notified of fines for failing to carry current auto insurance.

State officials said at one point that $444 million was owed to the state.

Motorists can already make arrangements for payments but face the loss of driving privileges until the debt is paid.

Under the legislation, they could pay their debt and keep their driver’s license.

HB245 would allow payment plans of 60 months or more for debts of $5,000 or more.

Payments would have to be made electronically using a bank draft, credit or debit card.