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New booting bill passes the House

Politics

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EastIdahoNews.com file photo

BOISE — Lawmakers are attempting to fix a loophole that allows the predatory booting of vehicles with expired registration stickers.

An amendment to Idaho’s booting law just passed the House of Representatives with a 61-to-8 vote. HB 345 is sponsored by Rep. Doug Ricks, R-Rexburg.

“One issue that has been creeping up — and we’ve heard quite a few instances of this — is where the booting is taking place on cars that have expired license plate stickers,” Ricks said.

He said he had seen examples of apartments adding stipulations in their lease agreements that tenants’ cars may not have expired license plates.

“We feel it’s a little bit of an overreach. That should be more of a law enforcement issue to police that and not an apartment manager or a booting company,” Ricks said.

He said the debate on the House floor from those who opposed the bill was that an apartment requiring up-to-date vehicle registration is a contract between two private parties.

Ricks said he agreed and doesn’t have a problem with the stipulation, but that booting or towing shouldn’t be the recourse apartments use when a tenant has expired plates.

“It’s just not a fair scenario. And it really was not the intent of the original law,” Ricks said.

Idaho’s booting law was passed in 2018. The law added language to Idaho’s existing law regarding towing that made it legal for vehicles to be booted or towed. Before the law, it was unclear if booting was actually legal in Idaho.

Ricks said that when the bill was passed in 2018, the question about booting vehicles for the sole reason of expired license plates came up. The bill’s sponsor at the time said that would not be allowed.

“So we’re actually fixing that because that turned out to be happening,” he said.

He said booting and towing are still legal.

“If they’re parked across the lines, or they’re parked in the wrong slot, or they’re blocking the way and they have an expired license plate, then, by all means, it can be booted or towed,” Ricks said.

After being passed on Feb. 11, the bill now goes to the Idaho Senate for debate.

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