Bill to reduce booting cars passes key Senate Committee vote

A new bill to curb the booting of cars passed a key Senate Committee this week.

Last year, State Senator Josh McLaurin introduced a bill to outright ban booting. It never made it to the floor for a vote so this year he is back with a bill that is more limited in scope.

“This is saying we’re not going to ban the industry, but we’re going to stop you from doing the very worst abuses that you hear people complain about all the time,” McLaurin told Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

The proposed law would ban the monitoring of lots by booters and the kickbacks booters pay to landlords.

“The big change is that a property owner would now have to make the phone call to bring the booter out to put it on a car,” McLaurin said.

Ali McGary’s car was booted last week in the garage of the Westmar apartments in West Midtown even though she signed in at the leasing office, got a parking sticker and thought she was following the written rules.

TRENDING STORIES:

“It was a lot of money that I had to pay, and I believe that I had followed the rules,” McGary told Channel 2 Action News.

In an email from a landlord to a booting company, McLaurin presented in the hearing the landlord complained about the drop in booting revenue he had seen at his lot over several weeks writing, “I have just come to count on this booting income to pay our lot leases.”

The proposed bill that passed out of the public safety committee this week would limit booting to the same rules that tow truck companies already are required to follow.

“Basically, what it does is it bans the very worst abuses of the industry,” McLaurin said.

But landlords counter that those booters patrolling lots are the only reasonable way to protect against illegal parkers.

“If we have to go down the other path we are just going to tow and that’s going to be a lot worse to the consumer than a boot,” warned Jack Hanning from InterPark.

The bill now heads to the Senate Rules Committee. Since it has been added to a bill that already passed the House, it has the potential to become law later this year.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

IN OTHER NEWS: