Missouri guv vetoes bill with towing protections
A bill that would have, in part, allowed lawmakers in Missouri to regulate the commercial vehicle towing industry in the state was vetoed earlier this month by Missouri Gov. Michael Parson. The bill, which was passed by the state legislature in May and included a number of other transportation-related provisions, would have required the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight to establish rules regarding the towing of commercial vehicles to “ensure towing companies charge fair, equitable and reasonable rates for services rendered in connection with the towing of commercial motor vehicles.” In his veto letter, Parson said towing-related sections of the bill are “legally problematic” because it “over-regulates rates and practices in an open market,” that are already addressed by Missouri law; it would create “separation of power and attainder problems beyond the constitutional authority” of the legislature; and that it doesn’t “establish sufficient due process protections for towing companies.”
Specifically, the bill would have:
- Established a process for complaints against towing companies
- Established factors used in determining whether a rate charged for towing a truck is fair, equitable and reasonable
- Established a process for suspending or removing a towing company from a tow list
- Established information required to be included on invoices or notices associated with commercial vehicle towing
At the Truckload Carriers Association's Safety & Security Division annual meeting in June in St. Louis, Mo., Missouri Trucking Association President Tom Crawford was at least somewhat confident the bill had the backing of the governor and would be signed into law; rather than directly regulating towing rates, he noted, the bill would have established a committee charged with determining adjudicating disputes over rates to prevent abuses specifically in "nonconsensual towing," as he characterized it.
Additionally, if a towing company was found to have committed a violation of the new rules, the company would have been removed from the Missouri Highway Patrol’s tow list for six months for the first violation, a year for the second violation and permanently for a third violation.