For the second time in two years, the Michigan Legislature is trying to crack down on parking ticket scofflaws. The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would put a hold on driver’s license renewals if the motorist had three unpaid parking tickets. Currently, it takes six unpaid parking tickets to have an operator license put on hold. It costs $45 to have the hold removed.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 130 on a mostly party-line vote of 26-12, with most Republicans voting to impose the new three unpaid ticket standard and most Democrats voting against.

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Senators Roger Kahn of Saginaw, Mike Nofs of Battle Creek and Tory Rocca of Sterling Heights were the only Republicans voting against changing the standard to three unpaid tickets.

The only Democrats to vote in favor of dropping the standard from six to three tickets were John Gleason of Flushing, Hoon-Yung Hopgood of Taylor, and Virgil Smith of Detroit.

"This is part of a pattern in which political elites inexorably tighten the screws on families and private businesses, but cut breaks for other arms of the government establishment and for government employees,” said Jack McHugh, the legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, in an e-mail.

Senator Dave Hildebrand, R-Lowell, sponsored the bill and didn’t respond to an e-mail or phone message seeking comment.

The bill analysis states that the city of Grand Rapids is owed more than $3 million in past-due parking fines and the city of Detroit has about $30 million in unpaid parking fines. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives. Driver’s licenses are renewed every four years in Michigan.

According to the Michigan Secretary of State, there were 5,803 holds put on driver licenses from March 2009 to March 2010.

Last year, the House passed House Bill 4726 which would have also reduced from six to three the number of unpaid parking tickets required to have a hold put on renewals. However, the Senate rejected it by a 23-14 vote.