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Haine pushes bill to bring fairness to vehicle-impound fees


From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, is working legislation through the Senate that he says would bring fairness and efficiency to the process of redeeming vehicles impounded by municipalities.

Haine filed legislation in response to reports indicating that some local governments were charging as much as $500 for a tow release fee. Senate Bills 2261 and 2265 aim to clarify previous laws that allow municipalities to set administrative fees related to the processing and cost of impounded vehicles.

“This legislation is aimed at protecting citizens in our communities from outrageous impound fees,” Haine said. “Having a car break down on the side of the road or having to abandon a vehicle because of unforeseeable circumstances is already a heavy enough burden to bear. Excessive impound fees on top of that is simply unreasonable. This legislation protects people from being victim to large fees due to unfortunate circumstances.”

The two pieces of legislation contain the following protections:

Senate Bill 2261:

• Limits the administrative fee by a local government for impounded vehicles from exceeding the actual cost of services provided
• Prevents a vehicle from being impounded for illegal parking unless it has been there for more than 48 hours or the owner was unable to move the vehicle due to an emergency circumstance
• Attorney fees will be awarded by the county or municipality if a vehicle is wrongfully seized

Senate Bill 2265:

• Daily storage fees for impounded vehicles shall not accrue until five days after the vehicle is towed
• Requires a notice of seizure be sent by mail at the time the vehicles is towed
• Allows a lease holder to take possession of an impounded vehicle

Haine said he plans to bring the bills before the full Senate later this month.

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