TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- One of the most unpopular acts by state lawmakers in recent years was the decision to increase vehicle registration fees in 2009.

Now Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, is leading an effort to roll back about half of those fee hikes.

The Legislature raised annual driver-related fees about $500 million because of the bad economy four years ago. Sen. Negron has filed legislation to lower those increases about $230 million a year.

Negron said he doesn't want government to raise fees and taxes during tough times and then never undo those increases when the economy improves.

"This is an opportunity to return almost a quarter-of-a-billion dollars to hard-working Floridians who get up and go to work every day and it's a way to show that now that our revenue picture is brighter that we can return some of the money that people had to pay for several years. We can return that money to them and their families."

Sen. Negron's plan to roll back car registration fees would lower a driver's annual fee about $12.

He filed a similar bill earlier this year but it failed to pass because it would have eliminated a tax break for the insurance industry.

His new version of the legislation drops that idea. Now he thinks the bill's prospects are much better. It passed its first committee vote this week.

"People really felt that increase back in 2009. It was almost a doubling of those registration tag fees every year. So this will roll it back significantly and I think it'll give people the opportunity to keep some of their money that they're now sending to state government."