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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

TX Tow Truck Bill Lands On Governor's Desk

Here's the KGBT-TV story:

A bill to curb predatory towing practices has landed on desk of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Texas State Rep. Veronica Gonzales (D-McAllen) filed House Bill 2571 earlier this year.

Gonzales told Action 4 News on Monday morning that the bill has passed both the Texas House and Senate and is now waiting on Perry’s desk where it can be vetoed or signed into law.

If signed by the governor, the bill would raise fees and increase penalties for towing companies operating outside the law.

Tow-truck operators could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a possible fine up to $2,000 and six months in jail.

A towing company's license would also be suspended for failing to adhere to court orders requiring towing companies to reimburse vehicle owners for expenses associated with unlawful tows.

Action 4 News investigated predatory towing practices in McAllen in an exclusive report last year.

The bill was prompted by the situation in McAllen but Rep. Gonzales said Texas lawmakers heard testimony about predatory practices across the state.

"This bill strengthens the state's regulating power and ensures that towing companies cannot hold vehicles hostage for profit,” Gonzales said in a written statement. “We have worked hard to make sure this bill protects Texas drivers without punishing tow truck operators who abide by the law."

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