The Louisiana House on Monday rejected a bill that would require law enforcement to attempt to verify whether motor vehicle insurance of drivers is current.
The House voted 47-43 for the measure - six votes short of the 53 majority need for passage. The bill can be brought up for a revote.
State Rep. Henry Burns, R-Haughton, sponsor of House Bill 71, said he has been getting constituent complaints when it turns out that a motorist involved in a wreck doesn’t have the insurance they claim.
“We all know there are people who get a six-month policy and pay the first month and don’t renew,” said Burns.
State Rep. Terry Landry, D-Lafayette, said he had concern about the check being “required” and wondered about the penalties for noncompliance.
“One of the most important tools a police officer has in his tool box is discretion no matter what their stop is,” Landry said.
Today, law enforcement officers must determine if the owner or lessee of a motor vehicle stopped at an administrative violations checkpoint, motor vehicle accidents or in connection with any other violation of law has evidence of insurance in the vehicle.
HB71 would further require law enforcement officers to verify “within their capability” that such documents are current.
Opponents said the problem is the lag time in insurance companies reporting lack of insurance to the state Office of Motor Vehicles.