AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas legislature will take up the state’s paper license plate problem before the next session, a spokesperson for House Speaker Dade Phelan’s office confirmed to KXAN.
“Among the other interim charges that will be announced,” a spokesperson for Phelan said, “this issue is going to be a priority for Texas House members to take up.”
The issue will be studied during interim hearings and is expected to be announced with the full list of interim charges in the coming weeks.
“The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles looks forward to working with the legislature on any interim charges related to the agency,” said Adam Shaivitz, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. “We are excited to share the progress already made on temporary tag process improvements and to have a robust discussion about additional actions the state can take to further prevent criminals from abusing the system.”
David Kohler, a central Texas deputy who has been vocal about the need for change, said he is “very optimistic.”
“I’m very happy that the attention from the legislature has gotten to the point it has and now they’re taking it serious,” said Kohler. “I hope this goes in a positive direction.”
This isn’t the first time lawmakers have worked to address the growing problem, which law enforcement said, has ballooned from a state problem into a national security concern. In 2021, the legislature passed HB 3927, which gave the TxDMV authority to immediately cut off access to its password-protected dealer portal for suspected fraudsters.
Using fake photos and stolen IDs, criminals are tricking the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles into giving them car dealership licenses. Only, a series of KXAN investigations found, they are not selling cars. Instead, crooks are selling real temporary license plates, which are being used across the country to allow dangerous cars on our roads or to cover up crimes.
Last month, TxDMV executive director Whitney Brewster and general counsel Tracey Beaver both resigned amid turmoil over the agency’s handling of the paper tag problem.
“I challenge anyone in the legislature to listen to law enforcement,” said Kohler, “and not continue to listen to TxDMV … with regards to what this problem really is about.”