SB 979 (Marsden) and HB 1649 (Wyatt), as introduced, would prohibit localities from setting limits on towing fees and other associated fees for trespassing passenger vehicles that are in localities without a local ordinance setting these fees. VACo opposed the initial legislation as we believe this pre-empts local authority and restricts the ability of local governments to respond to constituent concerns.
These bills have taken different paths since their introduction. SB 979 was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee and was passed by indefinitely, contingent with a Chairman’s letter to direct the Secretary of Transportation and the Office of the Attorney General to convene a stakeholder workgroup where the intended contents and outcomes of SB 979 could be more thoroughly thought through with input from stakeholders.
HB 1649 was amended to now only allow towers and recovery operators to levy a $30 fuel surcharge fee for each vehicle towed and prohibits localities from limiting or eliminating this fee. While the bill was amended in the right direction, VACo opposes HB 1649 as currently constructed and spoke in opposition during its hearing in subcommittee and full committee. HB 1649, as amended, reported out of the House Transportation’s Subcommittee on Transportation Infrastructure and Funding by a vote of 6-0 and reported out of the full House Transportation Committee by a vote of 17-5. It was heard by the full House of Delegates on February 7 and passed by a vote of 53-46. VACo will continue to follow this bill as it moves through the Senate.
VACo Contact: James Hutzler