CS/CS/HB 133 (McClain) and CS/CS/SB 1332 (Hooper) require local governments to establish maximum rates for the towing and immobilization of vessels and prohibit a county or municipality from enacting a rule or ordinance that imposes a fee or charge on authorized wrecker operators. The bills provide that an authorized wrecker operator may impose and collect an administrative fee and is required to remit the fee to the county or municipality only after it has been collected. The bills prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or rules that impose fees on the registered owner or lien holder of a vehicle or vessel removed and impounded by an authorized wrecker operator. The bills provide that a wrecker operator that recovers, removes or stores a vehicle or vessel must have a lien on the vehicle or vessel that includes the value of the reasonable administrative fee or charge imposed by a county or municipality. The bills exempt certain counties with towing or immobilization licensing, regulatory or enforcement programs as of January 1, 2020, from the prohibition on imposing a fee or charge on an authorized wrecker operator or on a towing business. The bill prohibits a municipality or county from enacting an ordinance or rule requiring an authorized wrecker operator or towing business to accept credit cards as a form of payment.
CS/CS/SB 1332 was amended to remove the lien holder of a vehicle or vessel as an entity that may be assessed a charge or fee by a county or city when the vehicle or vessel is towed from public property by a towing business or by an authorized wrecker operator. CS/CS/HB 133 passed the House (76-41) and is on the way to the Senate. (Cook)